Webinars

Our very popular series of webinars is back for the Autumn – see below and don’t forget to book your tickets!
The webinars are free, but donations are gratefully received. 
Or you may like to support us by joining Caring for God’s Acre and receive a free introductory pack.

Reptiles and amphibians are difficult to see in the wild.

During this webinar Barry explains how to tell them apart, their basic biology and habitat requirements and explains how, when and where to see them and the positive steps you take to encourage these fascinating but often misunderstood animals into your garden or churchyard.

About our speaker: Barry has worked for over 20 years in the conservation of the UKs native reptiles and amphibians, and provides advice on the preservation, creation and management of wildlife habitats.

Cemeteries are great places to look for fungi. From neatly mown lawns to gnarled ancient trees, and from overgrown scrub to gravestones, fungi of all shapes, sizes and colours can pop up. Many of these have become rare or endangered across the British countryside and cemeteries can provide a vital refuge for their survival. This webinar will outline why this is, what you could do to help them and it will introduce you to some of the wonderful fungi that you might come across in a cemetery.

Caring for God's Acre is holding its AGM on Tuesday 9th November at 7pm. The AGM business will be brief and will be followed by a talk.

'The Original Garden Cemetery'

Pere Lachaise, in Paris, is often considered the finest cemetery on earth. And with good reason. Jim Morrison, Sarah Bernhardt, Ellen Gray and more rest in this beautiful City of the Dead.

So join Sheldon as he takes you around what's often considered the template for the likes of Highgate, Mount Auburn and La Recoleta cemeteries to explore some wonderful social history, tombs and monuments.

The Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI) is a citizen science project that asks everyone to help us map the locations of the UK's most special trees.

The Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI) is a citizen science project that asks everyone to help us map the locations of the UK's most special trees. So far we have recorded over 180,000 trees to the ATI, but there are many more waiting to be recorded. Join us for this 1 hour webinar, led by Tom Reed (Woodland Trust) who will give an introduction to identifying ancient and veteran trees, as well as how to record them to the project's website. For more information about the project prior to the talk (or to browse the interactive map of trees) then please visit the ATI website via this link https://ati.woodlandtrust.org.uk/

About the speaker: Tom Reed works for the Woodland Trust as the citizen science officer for the Ancient Tree Inventory. This includes supporting recorders and volunteers that regularly record trees for the project.

In fifteenth-century Norfolk, a rector and Master of Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, bequeathed camping-land to his local parish for playing games, such as running and shooting. And this was far from an isolated event.

Dances, dogs, football, bartering, trading, courting and gossiping: not how one would typically describe the everyday happenings of the medieval church—but this is no incorrect picture. Throughout the past, our ecclesiastical buildings and lands have been used for a multitude of what we may term “secular” activities or, at least, non-specifically devotional purposes. While the church was of course the holiest of places, ecclesiastical property was not often considered an entirely separate and sacred world—but rather a domain where the secular and sacred crossed paths. In this talk, we will consider an array of these fascinating and sometimes frankly shocking examples. It hopes to be a captivating adventure into the intersecting world of the cultural and religious history of medieval Christendom—one you may not have been privy to before.

About our speaker: Dr. Emma J. Wells, is lecturer in Ecclesiastical and Architectural History at the University of York. Her first book Pilgrim Routes of the British Isles was published in 2016, and her next, Heaven on Earth: The Lives & Legacies of the World’s Greatest Cathedrals, is out in May 2021 and published by Head of Zeus.

The anchoress was a medieval phenomenon - a woman who volunteered to be enclosed in a small space, usually attached to a church, and vowed to stay there for the remainder of her life. It was a life of hardship and nowadays no-one would do it. In this webinar we will explain what was behind their choices and how their lives were actually far from the lonely existence that is often portrayed.

About the speaker: Anna Wilde holds a Master's degree in Death, Religion and Culture and is studying for a PhD at University of Birmingham, part time. She also works part time for Caring for God's Acre where she is a project support officer.

With the loss of traditional roost sites, such as ancient trees and old farm buildings, historic churches are often the only suitable places left for bats to roost in. Although many churches live happily with their bats, in some cases the mess caused by the bats leads to conflict with those who use and care for the church.  This webinar looks at what the Bats in Churches Project is doing to resolve this conflict, and how it is involving citizen science volunteers to survey churches for bats to get a better picture of how bats use churches throughout England.

 About the speakers:

 Claire Boothby is the BiC’s Training and Survey Officer. She works for Bat Conservation Trust and is a member of Kent Bat Group. She previously worked for British Trust for Ornithology on the Garden Birdwatch survey, and for the National Trust where she developed her interest in bats.  

Rose Riddell works for the Church of England and is the BiC’s Engagement Officer for the North, West and Midlands. She has an abiding interest in both historic churches and bats, and is a member of Derbyshire Bat Group. She previously worked as an editor and as an environmental educator for the Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.





Book Tickets on Eventbrite

This webinar offers a window into the secret lives of burial grounds in their role as hubs for both social and antisocial recreation. You will hear stories from dog-walkers, thrill-seekers and sun-bathers alike as we unravel the meanings and (mis)uses of cemeteries and churchyards. Alongside the tales, you will also learn how to read the tracks and signs people leave behind and better understand how deathscapes can enchant and engage their living visitors.

About the speaker

Bel Deering has spent many years hanging around churchyards and cemeteries. As a child she expended most of her energy on climbing gravestones and hunting for ghosts. In her twenties she led churchyard botanical surveys and had a brief spell as a gravedigger. In her thirties she gained a PhD looking at graveyard recreation and visited burial grounds in the USA, Russia, Bermuda, Gambia, Canada and beyond. She's still looking for those ghosts. Without any luck so far.





Everyone will be aware of the iconic white Portland stone headstones in military cemeteries around Europe, including the UK, commemorating the Allied dead from two World Wars. But how did they come to be there, in their immaculate rows and beautiful surroundings? Who pays for it? Why are there just one or two Portland stone headstones in your local churchyard and who looks after them? Why are some headstones different shapes? This 45 minute presentation will introduce you to the fascinating work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC); its origins, its global commitment and its ongoing work. There's much more to it than you might imagine.

About the Speakers

The speakers are Royal Air Force veterans William and Barbara Cooper, who have recently become enthusiastic volunteers for the CWGC.