Eco Church

Tap and toilet twinning

Did you know that our toilet and taps at St Mary's are twinned?  We have lots of lovely certificates! funds projects 'in a poor community that will enable families to build a basic toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene – a vital combination that saves lives.'  More information about the scheme is here. 


Churches Count on Nature: Tuesday 7 June 2022

Once again we took part in the 'Love Your Burial Ground' week, organised by the Caring for God's Acre organisation.  This year the week ran from 4-12 June 2022 and our count was on Tuesday 7 June, between 11.00am and 7.00pm.  Local expert Dr Judith Allinson came in the afternoon to help to identify species.  Two classes from Embsay Primary School took part, as well as lots of individuals.  The results of the survey are shown on a separate page.


Churchyard Lichens: 11 May 2022

Members of the Eco Group recently invited Dr Judith Allinson, a local expert, to tell us about the lichens in the churchyard.  We held a very interesting and informative afternoon on 22 March 2022 looking at a lot of different lichens!  This was followed by two workshops on churchyard lichens with Judith on Wednesday 11 May, which were well attended by members of the church and wider local community.  Many thanks to Judith Allinson for these very informative workshops.


With Judith's help, we have put together a lichens identification quiz sheet - please have a look and see how many of the 10 lichens you can spot in the churchyard and church car park!

This lichen, the Cigarette Ash Lichen (Porpidia tuberculosa), with a darker centre and pale grey edge, is very common in our churchyard - see if you can spot it!

Churches count on nature 2022

This national scheme will run this year between  be held from Saturday 4 June to Sunday 12 June 2022.  There will be more information to follow about when our count will be held in the churchyard at St Mary's.

Tree for the Queen's Canopy 2022

The Eco Group has taken professional advice in the choice of a suitable tree to plant to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee in 2022 as part of the national initiative 'The Queen's Canopy.'  In March 2022 we planted a crab apple, Malus Red Sentinel (the temporary guard will be replaced in due course).  Many thanks to those who generously donated for this.

Seed swap

We have started a new initiative in spring 2022: a seed swap!  If you have some seeds which you don't need, please put them in an envelope with some information about them (name, suggested sowing dates, flowering/harvest dates) and swap them for some other seeds.  The box is in the church porch.



Water butt

We now have a water butt!  This will help to reduce the amount of water which we take from the mains - and will also count towards our work for the Gold Eco Church Award.  Many thanks for the generous donation.


National Climate Sunday Service

This service was live streamed from Glasgow on Sunday 5 September at 4pm, with an introduction from 3.30pm.

Members of the church and local community have been making 'Moths to a flame' which have been sent off for an exhibition in Glasgow for the COP26 summit.  The moths are a metaphor for our relationship with energy.

Net Carbon Zero

In February 2020, the General Synod of the Church of England set new targets for all parts of the church to work to become carbon 'net zero' by 2030.  This was discussed by our PCC in September 2020 and we agreed to work towards this as a church. 

As part of our work towards becoming net carbon zero by 2030, we are taking part in a project called 'Towards Carbon Neutral Churches in Craven.  This project is is supported by the BEIS funded Rural Community Energy Fund which is managed by the North East Yorkshire and Humber Energy Hub and administered by Tees Valley Combined Authority.  The funding will pay for a feasibility study into possible approaches to renewable energy generation.  We are working as part of a group of 5 churches in the Craven area.  Please see our separate webpage for more information on this project.

Eco Church Award

We have achieved the Silver level of the Eco Church Awards!


The Eco Church Awards are assessed over 5 areas:

  • Worship and Teaching
  • Buildings
  • Land
  • Community and Global Engagement
  • Lifestyle

In 2019, we set up a new Eco Group.  The Group worked towards the Silver Eco Church
award in 2019-20.  This has involved finding out about what we are already doing, and suggesting
some new ideas.  We already have a lovely wildlife-friendly burial ground.  We have completed the
parish energy footprint tool as part of our parish returns to the Diocese.

New initiatives which we have introduced since gaining the Bronze level are:

  • weekly eco tips in our newsletter (shared by members of the congregation)
  • the appointment of a Parish Environment Officer (Diana Linford)
  • improvements to the double glazing in the vicarage
  • a new Eco Church noticeboard
  • changing our cleaning products to environmentally-friendly products
  • publicising the LOAF idea (eating Local, Organic, Animal-friendly and Fairtrade food)
  • members of the congregation were encouraged in autumn 2020 to do a personal carbon
    footprint audit.  We will return to this in autumn 2021 to see if our footprints have reduced!

Churches Count on Nature 

We took part in the nationwide 'Churches Count on Nature' initiative, in June 2021, to assess the biodiversity in the church grounds. 

We really enjoyed looking closely at everything!  We intend to develop this further in 2022.   


The results of the survey are shown on a separate page.

In Creationtide 2020, during the lockdown period, all our Sunday morning services had an eco focus. 
There were discussion groups via zoom after each service about the eco themes of each week's sermon.

Our work towards Silver Eco Church status was publicised in our Diocesan eco newsletter
'God's Green Fingers' Issue 33 in September 2020 and in the Craven Herald in June 2021.


We are now starting to think ahead about how we can improve further and work towards gaining the
Gold level of the Eco Church Award.

Monthly Eco Themes

Our monthly eco tips will be aligned with our prayers through 2021.  Our theme for January was
'Where are we now? As part of this, we were encouraged to calculate our personal carbon footprint
using the WWF Footprint Calculator.   We have continued with themes including climate action, water use, food and gardening. We have a separate webpage which lists our eco tips.


Fairtrade Church

We have been a Fairtrade church for eight years.  We were a pilot for the recently introduced renewal
process for Fairtrade churches. The church Fairtrade stall is taken to community events in the village
(we are a Fairtrade village) and once again this Christmas the village church school (a Fairachiever
school) has asked us to source fairly traded Christmas gifts for all the children. Working collaboratively
with the Fairtrade village group and school to plan events enhances our outreach into the
community.  We even supply Fairtrade espresso coffee beans to one of the local pubs.

We served fairtrade tea and coffee after church before the 2020 pandemic.  We regularly held Fairtrade
stalls after our morning services.  During the restrictions of the pandemic in 2020, we held Fairtrade
stalls outside or in the church porch and an online Fairtrade dinner and quiz via zoom.




Churches Count on Nature
St Mary's Churchyard Eco Count

Environment Policy
St Mary's Eco Policies

Eco Tips
A collection of the Eco Tips which have been shared week by week