Who & Why?
NOMAD Community Projects was borne from the idea that we (Kurt, Rebecca) have always tried to do good, both at home and in our work lives. Having been brought up with a deep love of nature and the environment we are fortunate to work full time in the outdoors. Rebecca grew up on a small Suffolk farm & Kurt in the bush of Southern Africa, we have a unique appreciation of the world & nature around us. We are both full time professional sea kayakers, in addition, off the water Kurt is an entomologist and Rebecca a budding beekeeper.
NOMAD Sea Kayaking has been running sea kayaking trips and courses for the past 16 years. Every event includes beach cleans and litter picks (long before it was trendy!). Global warming is now beginning to affect us all in our day to day lives including NOMAD Sea Kayaking, it seems obvious that we all need to start doing something, anything, but something! This coupled with the UK target for ‘net zero emissions’ by 2050, the overriding need to offset CO2 in our environment has focused our attention on OUR CO2 emissions as a commercial business and offsetting this by planting and rewilding to the benefit of our local communities in the first instance, nationally in the second. So in 2019 we set up the community interest company NOMAD Community Projects and this is the vehicle for our charitable work. Through this not-for-profit we are able to chase our ambitious targets to the benefit of both our local communities and the country as a whole.
** Below are the steps taken by NOMAD Sea Kayaking and NOMAD Community Projects, the creation of our online Carbon Meter and its importance **
Through NOMAD Community Projects we get our local communities involved in the outdoors helping people, both physically and mentally. This is achieved through exercise and exposure to the outdoors with altruistic objectives to improve mental health. For example, beach clean events by kayak; groups are guided by kayak along tidal estuaries and land on beaches where organised beach cleans take place. The refuse collected is recorded for the Marine Conservation Society and recycled. The event is subsidised through local AONB funding and NOMAD Sea Kayaking who provides all of the equipment and guides at no charge.
By sharing our enthusiasm and hard work we encourage others to do their part, participating in activities they wouldn’t normally do. There is the altruistic bonus of doing a good deed, not for yourself, but for others; by doing so, feeling good yourself! By showing what can be achieved on a small scale, reinstating habitat and helping nature to thrive again, we enrich all of our lives in countless ways; outdoor activities and exercise, fighting obesity, improving mental health, creating social groups and altruistically, supporting our fellow citizens, our country and our planet. After all, we only have one planet and this life is not a rehearsal.
In addition to our regular charity beach cleans, we offset the carbon footprint for every event run by NOMAD Sea Kayaking. In 2020 we started planting trees and hedges locally with the customers of NOMAD Sea Kayaking volunteering their time to help. The website www.nomadseakayaking.co.uk may be the first in the UK to use an active online CO2 meter that calculates the CO2 footprint for each guest by specific event. This is accumulated for all of the events and published on the website. This figure is then ‘chased’ by offsetting through planting saplings, hedges and rewilding through the not-for-profit CIC, NOMAD Community Projects.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust, The Woodland Trust & Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have supported us with either advice, funding or both already. Now, with your generous help, we have an amazing opportunity to do so much more with the chance to manage and help build nature on a small area of land in deep Suffolk.
WE NEED LAND to plant our trees and rewild. This land needs to be secured from future development and commercial agriculture in the interest of the local community and nature as a whole.
We have identified a small area of 15 acres on which we can achieve our initial goal. This is made up of a mix of abandoned land, a small area of rough scrub and two small fields currently under commercial agriculture which we aspire to transform into a protected nature area. Our plan is to make the most of the haven for nature; the birds the bugs & the bees. The local habitat; plants and wildlife as well as the wider environment will improve immeasurably and of course our local community will benefit directly too. Not only will crops and creatures increase in abundance; just imagine wandering along paths flanked with wildflowers, sunflowers in the distance, fruit trees, the only noises the call of songbirds and the buzz of insects. Our plan is that this will be open to the local community to enjoy ‘up close’ too. A haven for nature and people, a place to relax, to wonder, to appreciate.
How Will It Look?
We will plant a variety of deciduous trees; including fruit and nuts, sow & grow wild flower and tall grass areas with winding pathways linking the small orchard areas with bee hives dotted amongst the trees. We will create stumperies for small mammals and insects.These will thrive undercover of the tall undergrowth. We will build and site bee ‘hotels’ and areas for many of the solitary bees we have in the UK, which are just as important as honey bees to us. There will be bird feeding areas and owl boxes sited in mature deciduous trees. Habitat creation and available food will insects, small mammals, song birds and birds of prey to enter the area and then settle and thrive as the land settles and our planting grows and develops. We will have areas where bee keepers can bring their own hives. We will have enough hives to offer on loan to local farmers to benefit their crops. We will sell honey, beeswax products, jams made from foraged fruit, and produce from the land, sold from the nature reserve, to help cover some costs of maintaining the bee hives. Any additional funds will be invested back into the nature reserve for equipment and ongoing work.
Within 18 months we will invite schools to come and explore and learn about nature up close; giving them a place to learn and appreciate nature, learning what they can do in their own gardens with their families. We will offer entomology events focusing on our local insect diversity through surveys alongside beekeeping courses which will offer an additional income stream for the charity. We will improve the immediate environment to such an extent that the abundance of insects will draw entomology students, ornithologists, school groups and nature lovers to come and survey and study with us, in turn funding a small education area which we will grow and develop with time.
How Will It Sound?
In the morning, owls will hoot as they turn in, dawn chorus will wake the meadow and orchards, the early bees will start their day buzzing. As the day warms, the bird song will increase, with soaring pairs of buzzards and kestrel calling as they course along hedgerows, the frantic beat of dragonfly wings hunting beneath them, the scurry of shrews and mice through stalks of grass and wild flowers alongside ground beetles returning from their nights foraging. The rustling of rabbit in the undergrowth later in the day with the call of an owl once again dominating the dusk. Might we get the call of the Nightingale back in this landscape? We hope to hear her beautiful, recognisable song eventually too.
How Will We Do This?
This is where you come in! Only with your help will we be able to achieve our goal. We have a small amount of support from our sister company, NOMAD Sea Kayaking, who has offered a small interest free loan to help towards our goal, but it is not nearly enough. We need to raise the capital to cover 15 years of the lease, so we know that the land is going to be safeguarded for that time. This will also give us ‘breathing space’ to put in the initial hard work until we can get it established and producing habitat, flowers, fruit & honey amongst other things! Our plan is that the nature reserve will eventually be able to fund itself and at least one person (a Ranger) full time. We already offer carbon offsetting on all of NOMAD Sea Kayaking’s trips and courses and our customers donate or buy saplings and hedging, with some planting already completed. We already have our next batch of saplings and volunteers ready to help and get their hands dirty, with our next planting scheduled for October & November 2021. However we need to secure the future of the land so that we know all of the hard work we do won’t be in vain, securing the land from future development and commercial agriculture. We need the backing from people with vision, willing to help us reach our goal financially. (And of course you can volunteer your time too!)
Long term we hope to be able to buy the land to secure it for future generations, ensuring that all the trees we plant don’t get cut down and get to live long, healthy lives; pumping out tonnes of fresh oxygen and absorbing Carbon for decades to come. We hope to be able to make and save enough funds over the 15 years to buy the land for the CIC NOMAD Community Projects. We need to start somewhere and securing the land for 15 years allows us to begin our work developing the area for nature whilst producing revenue to purchase the land which will be secured in the charity, so can never be sold. When we have finished our work and need to retire, our legacy will be secured and passed on for future generations to continue our combined contribution to help address the challenges faced by us as a country and a species.
Our target is made up of a few parts! Firstly, the proposed ‘Nature Haven‘ is currently broken into 4 areas, a small abandoned area of 3 acres, a scrubby, weak wooded area 2 1/2 acres and two areas under arable farming, one of 2 acres and one of 9 acres. We are keeping our plan realistic and not letting ourselves get carried away. We hope to start work on the three smaller areas this season, and take over the additional 9 acres next season. We have people who are keen to volunteer their time and can help us achieve our goals quickly, but we would rather do jobs properly in stages, learning from small mistakes, rather than big ones!
What’s In It For You?
By helping us, with money, time or both, you will be a part of creating this wonderful area. The Rewards we are offering will give you the opportunity to see your pledges at work. You will be helping nature, helping the environment and helping people in real time. We want people to engage with nature; to really appreciate it and to understand the myriad of benefits nature gives back to us. Have you heard of woodland bathing (clothing required!) for wellbeing? Join us for a little nature bath. Reset, breathe, engage & enjoy.
We invite everyone to visit; just don’t be surprised in the first couple of years if we ask you to wear wellies, bring gloves and we’ll hand you a spade/fork/basket when you get here!
Many people would love to do what we hope to do, but they either don’t have the time or the opportunity to do it. We have started the hard work to build this Haven for Nature. We just need your help to get there.
Thank you for taking the time to read about us and our plan. We are grateful for all the support we can get, whether you can pledge your support with money, your time or just sharing our story, we THANK YOU.
Stay safe, take care & take the time to look at what is around you; can you make it better? Do it!
** NOMAD Sea Kayaking has created a Carbon Meter on our website to show the CO2 that is created from every aspect of running an event, from the water employed to clean all of our kit after every event, the vehicles we drive to the manufacture of the equipment we use. We know that we all contribute to the many challenges of our environment. We want to show our ‘carbon footprint’; the amount of CO2 attributed to us and created from every event that we run. By doing this WE are held accountable for our CO2 footprint and ensures we do all we can to reduce our impact, and wherever possible remove it completely. There are two ways to make the essential and time critical changes to the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. They are to stop adding/creating so much CO2 AND to help nature use up the CO2 that we have already created; this is carbon offsetting. There is so much that we can do. Working in conjunction with NOMAD Sea Kayaking, so far we have offset both guests and staff ‘footprints’ by planting trees and hedging and in the future through rewilding and resurrecting meadow areas. This is why we want & need to do so much more. Thank you.
Photography Credits: Becky MacInnes-Clark, Andrea Zampatti & Olivier Colle