The Conservation Foundation, a secular environmental organization in the United Kingdom (UK), began working with the Church of England in 1998, when it created the Yews for the Millennium project. The Foundation has been campaigning since 1987 to protect ancient yew trees, many of which are found in Britain’s churchyards. Since some of these trees are estimated to be more than 2,000 years old, and therefore living at the time of Christ, the Foundation decided to propagate some of them and offer the cuttings to parishes. As a result, more than 12,000 Millennium Yews were distributed at special services throughout England and Wales in 1999 and 2000. Most of these trees have since been planted in churchyards. While a major percentage of requests for trees were from Church of England parishes, trees were also requested by Roman Catholics, Quakers, and Buddhists. Assuming that many of the people requesting a Millennium Yew had some interest in the environment, the Foundation invited them to serve as links with the Conservation Foundation by becoming “Parish Pumps.” The name, “Parish Pump,” was chosen because of its historical associations around the world as a gathering place where information is exchanged within a community. The Foundation’s Parish Pumps receive environmental news and information about initiatives, award and grant schemes, and publications to pass on to their congregations and local communities. As a result of this program, the Foundation now has a national network of Parish Pumps in both rural and urban parishes. With financial help from other trusts and foundations, the Conservation Foundation also provides Parish Pump Priming Awards. Although involving relatively small amounts of money, these awards are intended to turn ideas for local environmental projects into action by providing some initial funding. The awards are often presented by Bishops or clergy to highlight the Church’s increasing level of environmental awareness and concern.
In another church-related initiative, the Foundation is helping to regenerate an eleven-acre site beside Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral. Previously a cemetery, the site had fallen into disrepair and was avoided by local people and tourists alike. As a result of meetings held in the Cathedral, local people have gathered to form The Friends of St. James’ Garden. Along with the local council, they are working to restore the site in time for the Cathedral’s centenary in 2004.
|Religion||The Conservation Foundation is a secular organization working with the Church of England.|
|Geographic Location||United Kingdom|
|Duration of Project||1998–Present|
|History||David Bellamy and David Shreeve founded the Conservation Foundation in 1982 to help people in public, private, and nonprofit sectors work together on environmental issues. Since its founding, the Conservation Foundation has organized many environmental initiatives (e.g., educational programs and public events, consulting services, field studies, media work, and award schemes) and has forged alliances all over the world with various environmental experts. To promote the protection of Britain’s ancient Yew trees, the Foundation initiated its Yew Tree Campaign in 1987. It began working with the Church of England in 1998, when it launched its Yews for the Millennium Campaign. The St. James’ Cemetery Regeneration Project was initiated in Liverpool in 2001, and the Scottish Yew Tree Campaign was launched in 2002.|
|Mission Statement||The Conservation Foundation is a nonprofit organization with charitable status that creates and manages initiatives to promote positive environmental news, awareness, and action.|
|Partner Organizations||Church of England|
|Long-Term Goals||None Listed|
|Additional Research Resources||None Listed|
|Contact Information||David Shreeve
The Conservation Foundation
1 Kensington Gore
London SW7 2AR