Giving Oxfordshire Nature A Voice -The Peoples Countryside
Via our TV/Web Series, Radio Show and Photography work, improving the state of nature in Oxford, connecting interviewees with viewers.
Giving Oxfordshire Nature A Voice -The Peoples Countryside
Via our TV/Web Series, Radio Show and Photography work, improving the state of nature in Oxford, connecting interviewees with viewers.
It is indefensible the negative environmental impact we are having all over the world, ranging from reducing wildlife habitats for infrastructure development or the production of our consumables to dumping plastics and other waste in the oceans.
Is there something you can do to help this cause? The answer is yes! Your funds can help make a positive difference and we want to showcase through our creative work more tenable ways we can all contribute to the state of nature for generations to come.
What do we want to do?
Stuart the presenter, William the photographer and Ross the videographer are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund our next project of our TV/Online show The Peoples Countryside. Exploring the often overlooked, partially disused, old Wycombe Railway line that used to run from Oxford to Princes Risborough highlighting how nature has and is reclaiming the area along the line, especially at the Oxford end.
Having put down sand traps on the old railway bridge in Horspath village, the footprints show it is used like a motorway for larger mammals. We hope to set up some trail camera's and do some night time filming to obtain footage of these creatures.
We want to examine the social and industrial history of the line, filming rare footage of trains still running on the used section near the BMW factory. These trains can be up to a 1/4 of a mile long.
As well as showcasing why the old trackbed through the village of Horspath is a key 'green corridor' linking Shotover Country Park (a Site of Special Scientific Interest) with the wider countryside.
The wildlife at the country park is restrained from moving northwards and westwards by the major roads. With the green infrastructure of hedges and ditches in the agricultural land of the Green Belt further south, there is enormous value of keeping the Green Belt in this particular area open and accessible to people and to the wildlife which needs to migrate in and out using this broad belt of open countryside around the city.
Many of the field boundaries in the area have remained almost unchanged for over 800 years.
The old railway tunnel through the village of Horpath now houses one of the most important bat hibernaculum's in the county. A volunteer group has spent many 100's of hours in the tunnel since 1999, installing accommodation in that tunnel for thousands of bats to hibernate. The last monitoring data indicated that there were 4 different species and around 100 bats in there in mid-winter.
During these times of austerity, funds or resources haven't been found to engage an individual or company, with structural engineering expertise. Which isn't anyone's fault, it's just a fact. This is the main appeal we want to make to the audience through the film.
The volunteer group have not had access to the tunnel for monitoring purposes in recent years. To be permitted to continue monitoring the bats and maintaining that special physical environment for their hibernation, it is essential for a structural engineer to survey and give assurance this tunnel is not liable to collapse on any volunteer bat workers inside it.
We will be making a direct appeal on camera to try and find a qualified individual or structural engineering company to offer their services for free or at a much reduced rate, so the bat hibernaculum can be maintained for generations to come.
This is where viewers and listeners come in as they can offer the help needed in a managed way.
We plan to film this episode in two parts. The main film and appeal will be filmed in May 2018 and released soon after. Then we'll revisit in June and July for further filming to explore the wildlife in the Horspath Conservation area. This is very well populated with dragonflies, damselflies and hoverflies, and particularly the Hawker Dragonflies which have an entertaining territorial habit of flying right up to anyone walking casually into their territory. Feeding bats are a common site too.
The June and July footage will be released as part two later in 2018, hopefully in August.
We need to raise £4,000 within 30 days of launching this campaign otherwise we don’t get a penny. Donate from as little as one pence to the full amount and there are various rewards for different levels of support. Your donation won't be taken until after the end of the campaign, and only then if we have reached our £4000 target. So no need to wait for pay-day to pledge. Pledge early to help us build momentum.
Our aims for the old Wycombe line
While we’re exploring the old Wycombe line, alongside the TV/Online show, we’ll document in photographic form the state of nature which will be used as an accurate archive along the line. So future generations can make accurate decisions in helping nature going forward. This archive will be available through our website thepeoplescountryside.com.
Whilst making the TV show, we will also record material for the Going Wild with Wildlife radio show to be aired on various hospital radio stations. This will engage hospital radio listeners and contribute to their wellbeing and recovery whilst in hospital. This material will be re-purposed for the talking newspapers that help people with visual impairments keep up with current affairs and engage this area of the community.
Here's a link to some of our live radio shows https://www.mixcloud.com/stuart-mabbutt/
Through all of this we want to give nature and the people who work in it a voice and the opportunity to ask our viewers and listeners for the help they need and for the viewers and listeners to fulfill that need.
We want our material to leave a lasting legacy so that anybody with an interest in the nature on the old Wycombe line and the wider community can tap into it for years to come to assist their work protecting nature.
- Give nature a voice by raising awareness on its state and its need for resuscitation.
- Through interviews and filming their work, providing exposure for people working to improve this nature, enabling them to be linked with viewers and listeners who can assist with their needs in their work. We believe The People’s Countryside Project offers an excellent opportunity to organisations in need of specialist volunteers, acting as a means of reaching out and locating said volunteers. This service comes at very little cost to the organisation and only serves to benefit them.
- Through this we can leave a lasting legacy by leaving interviewees with shareable materials to promote their work going forward.
- Promoting our connection with nature in order to aid mental, physical and emotional well-being.
- Encourage engagement for hospital radio listeners we aim to entertain and increase their well-being and their sence of belonging and connection to aid patient recovery.
- Gather material which can be re-purposed for the Talking Newspapers nationally which supports the blind (by promoting inclusiveness, information and entertainment)
- Document for historical accuracy the current state of nature.
Producing our TV, Radio and Photography work takes a lot of money, time and effort, and in order to continue our work and bring it to the wider world as the next step, crowdfunding is key to making it happen. With going down this route of funding, we can build a crowd who are passionate about the environment, about people, as well as just the funding. This will give them the opportunity to contribute directly to the environment and to the well-being of ailing and disabled people and allow us to bring the show to more locations.
Successfully funding this project will allow us to bring in more sponsorship and run campaigns for other areas of the UK and the world to really secure the future of this project.
It is indefensible the negative environmental impact we are having all over the world and we want to showcase more tenable ways we can all contribute to the state of nature for generations to come.
The world is becoming more and more out of touch with the natural environment every day. We rely on technology like never before, and are starting to see green spaces across Britain and worldwide deplete at an alarming rate.
Our commitment together with your help is vital to this ongoing project to transform and increase the impact of the work many individuals and groups are doing in nature. This work will help sustain and protect mother nature, the environment and the planet we depend on for our own survival.
Why should you care?
Technology and the developed world may seem the way forward but no matter how far man develops, we should not forget that we are interconnected with nature, depend on it for our very existence and derive several well-being, aesthetic and social benefits from it. As such it will always need a voice in order to survive the current pressures and through your help, we are here to give it a voice.
With your help we can improve the state of nature - by promoting it, capturing it on film and in pictorial form which acts as a historical record and tells the stories of those who live, work and enjoy the countryside. This will give those we interview on the platform, who are working to improve the state of nature, the chance to ask for the help they need.
Our everyday work connects people like you with the great outdoors, showing you the benefits of nature, the benefits you can experience and how you can give back to it, by nurturing the natural world that surrounds us all.
It's not necessarily about knowing different types of birds or plants, it's about having an awareness of the nature and wildlife all around you that you might be missing - and this applies to people living in the city. It's about engaging your senses, enjoying the walk to the shop, the commute to work, the journey home.
We are surrounded by ecosystems wherever we live. Documenting how we can all live more sustainably, and in a balanced way, is not only do-able but worthwhile too. We can all do more to protect and support our environment making the planet more liveable and a viable proposition for all life.
Our team is committed to making regular filming and recording trips to help the state of nature around Britain and potentially around the world. This is why we need your support to get on the road again. A 1 pence donation is just as welcome, it all helps. We know you'll agree, that's a very realistic target.
Full budgets can be seen below.
The Pilot Episode
The initial pilot episode of The Peoples Countryside TV/Web show interviewed three guests across the Oxfordshire area – Chris Mason in Kirtlington, who works to help Swift conservation, Chris Peters of Wolvercote, who provides tours of the popular Port Meadow in Oxford and William Mankelow, a photographer who enjoys photographing wildlife and documenting the landscape for historical accuracy.
They discussed their occupations, their work with nature, the benefits they get from it, what they give back and what help they needed to make an even bigger impact on mother nature.
The pilot episode can be viewed on YouTube in three parts. http://thepeoplescountryside.com/shows/
The People's Countryside Team
We are a team of individuals passionate about the conservation of nature, all playing different roles to give back to the environment in our every day lives. We are all from completely different backgrounds and upbringings, but one common thing brought us together - nature. We have held regular meetings every two to six weeks to extensively plan the development of the show, all bringing different skills to the table to plan, shoot, edit and promote the series.
Stuart 'The Wildman' Mabbutt is a well-known personality in the conservation world. He runs Stuart Mabbutt Gardening Ltd which specialises in wildlife gardening. By using the gardening by numbers concept it offers consultations and tutorials plus practical wildlife gardening help. The company also provides lectures, guest blogs and articles on the subject.
His series of books (available in paperback and on Kindle) are made up of a compilation of the best wildlife gardening and gardening articles written by ‘The Wildman’. The articles have been widely published in magazines, newspapers and websites since 1998 in the Oxfordshire area. The books are designed to educate people on making gardening a stress free and enriching experience. Books 3 and 4 soon to be published.
Alongside this, Wildman Environmental Learning, founded by Stuart, offers nature sensory workshops (facilitated by 'The Wildman') to corporate groups, small business owners, adults, children and family groups. Through various exercises which include team-building, participants not only build a connection with nature and are shown how it can be used to manage stress but they are also encouraged to explore nature as an extraordinary pain relief tool.
'The Wildman' himself uses sensory engagement with nature to manage his own pain against Rheumatoid Arthritis and is trying to set up an academic research programme to study both the mental and physical benefits when we connect with the natural world. He is also producing and exclusively presenting the independent wildlife radio show ‘Going Wild With Wildlife’ for numerous hospital, internet and community radio stations.
Running off the back of radio work and providing general audio production and editing services under the Wildman Productions banner, Stuart works as a wildlife sound recordist. Wildman Productions is developing many ideas in various mediums to help the broad community to connect with the natural world. The People’s Countryside is the next step, alongside the development of a stage show project married with countryside sensory retreats that suit all community age-groups.
Artworks are also included in the long-term projects of nature conservation which involves the idea for an experiential modern art installation showcasing the need and urgency to act on improving the state of nature.
As a mouthpiece of nature’s voice Stuart’s main aim and biggest dream is to perform on the main stage at the O2 Arena in London and connect with the global community. With this experience Stuart will be the main presenter of the The Peoples Countryside TV/Web show, delving into the stories of our guests and their involvement with nature.
Ross Arrowsmith trained in creative media, now working as a freelance camera operator and video editor. After working for That’s Oxfordshire TV, the local TV channel Ross began working on areas of original programming, and after working with Stuart to produce some promotional films for his business, the People’s Countryside was born.
Ross produces a food and drink show called the Cotswold Explorer and a business show, with other programmes coming throughout the year.
His main business is Arrow Productions, set up as a production company that makes promotional videos for small businesses, events, conferences and even weddings. He is behind the technical production of the show, from camera work to post production.
Ross aspires to make films and uses TV production as a means to gain technical and creative experience. He is one of the main team members of the Endless Day Productions YouTube channel, which is a group of creative film makers producing short films and web shows.
William Mankelow is a photographer who has a keen eye for different angles and is always looking to take that alternative shot, hence how he came up with the name Shot @ an Angle.
The perfect description of his photography. William also leads monthly photo meets in and around Oxfordshire, encouraging those interested in the medium of photography to enjoy their hobby and to also entice new people to this fascinating and interesting form of creativity.
Sue Sormaz - helping people to fulfil their potential in life is a core motivation for her so she often finds herself at the start of new projects, researching, planning and marketing.
With a deep interest in people, the environment and being creative, she has helped support Stuart from the beginning of his 'Wildman' days with diversifying his talents and business. By instilling confidence in his vision and encouragement to follow his dreams, they have worked together to develop aspects of his magazine writing, radio work, sensory workshops, countryside retreats and now 'The Peoples Countryside'...
It has been an interesting journey and Sue is always facinated at the next chapter in Stuart's life - he really is someone with a purpose as well as a dream to bring nature and people together to really know and experience the living connection between us because we can't survive without each other...
Let's all be aware that we are living beings that thrive in each other's company and also live, breathe and enjoy wildlife and nature. Nature gives us so many things, it reminds us of who we really are - a peaceful being. Maybe that's why Sue loves nature so much because it acts as a mirror for how she wants to live her life....in peace and harmony and with love and beauty...
Lewis Sumner Creativity is his forte, with his passion belonging to everything media, including videography, photography and design. He started making videos as a child friends, always taking pictures and coming up with weird and wonderful ideas.
Then he started taking his ideas and adapting them to business, and found himself working alongside Ross Arrowsmith at Arrow Productions.
Worked on the pilot episode of the People’s Countryside in 2016 and will be a production assistant on the show as and when required.
Alice Boyd is the composer of our shows theme tune and has written music both for herself and for Oxford-based plays, including Garden at the North Wall Arts Centre, Jealous of Herself at the Keble O’Reilly, and Much Ado About Nothing at The Pilch. She has done a number of gigs in Oxford, at venues including The Varsity Club, Frevds, The Mad Hatter, The Handlebar and G&D’s Cowley.
You can follow her on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/aliceboyd
and Youtube: Alice Boyd
Where is the money going?
More details about us on our:
Risks and challenges
The main issue is Stuart 'The Wildman' Mabbutt's health as he suffers with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. With the support of the team and good advance planning we should still be able to get the best out of him. We as a team will also train each other up so that we can stand in for each other and fill each others shoes. For example The Wildman will be training others up with regards to presenting in case he's unable to present any radio or TV items for any reason.
A risk could be that some of the interviewees we line up in advance may not be able to attend on the day. To mitigate this we plan to have extra guests scheduled ready to fill in should the targeted guest fail to attend for any reason.
We will be doing this under the Wildman Productions banner which is one of Stuarts trading names and the rest of the team will be contracted in. To avoid any disagreements or misunderstandings, legal agreements will be drawn up in advance and all planning meetings will be minuted so that all is clear.
Creative differences are always an issue, but if we maintain the high levels of communications we have achieved thus far, again we should manage this.
If the goal is not reached, we would re-approach benefactors and contacts for alternative routes of funding, and potentially construct another crowdfunding campaign, backing this up with grant funding bids.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)