Our Story

A Rocha is a global family of Christian organizations which, inspired by God’s love, engages in scientific research, environmental education and community-based conservation projects in more than 20 countries and across six continents.

We respond to the global crisis of biodiversity loss by carrying out community-based conservation projects, through:

  • ecological monitoring and research in areas of high value for wildlife;
  • practical measures for conserving and restoring habitats and their fauna and flora;
  • participation in nature conservation, through environmental education and community outreach;
  • providing a forum for understanding the relevance of the Christian faith to environmental issues.

Find out more about us

1983 - 1985
The vision is born

The A Rocha Trust is set up in the UK by the Batty and Harris families who move to Portugal where a field study centre is established in the Algarve. Our name means ‘The Rock’ in Portuguese.

1986 - 1994
Establishing the foundations

Early results of field studies bring national participation, visitors and international influence.

1995 - 1999
Testing new ground

Founders Peter and Miranda Harris travel to launch other national projects, focusing on distinctively Christian projects for nature conservation in needy areas. Projects develop in Lebanon, Kenya, France, Canada and the UK.

2000 - 2001
The international network takes off

With A Rocha projects in eight countries, all at different stages of growth and development, A Rocha International is formed as an umbrella organization, to allow freedom of initiative and action for the national movements, while ensuring accountability and exchange of experience.

2002 - 2006
Rapid growth

New national organizations join the family, and Climate Stewards is launched in 2006 to encourage us all to reduce our carbon footprint.

2007 - 2018
National growth

As more countries join to a total of 19, A Rocha International restructures so that the leadership is shared by a small Management Team based in the UK. More specialists join, including Dave Bookless, to provide theological leadership and ensure that our science-based conservation is integrated with our biblical values. Projects around the world have impact.

2019
A season of mourning

On Monday, 28 October, Peter and Miranda Harris and Chris Naylor, A Rocha International Executive Director, together with his wife Susanna, are involved in an horrific car accident in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Miranda, Chris and Susanna do not survive. A profound and painful shock is experienced by everyone in the A Rocha family and many friends and supporters around the world.

2020 - 2021
A new start

With Simon Stuart as A Rocha International’s Executive Director, the A Rocha international family sign a joint covenant, welcome Sweden, and get involved in COP 26 and the IUCN Congress.

Looking ahead

Research and conservation: The world’s most wildlife-rich sites are still being destroyed or degraded at a frightening rate. We have established an African Forest Programme to conserve 50,000 hectares of threatened forests across Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya, and a Marine Conservation Programme to protect oceans and support the people who depend on them.

Resourcing the global church: We want to embed creation care within the DNA of both local churches and global movements, so we are identifying and training key speakers, creating and curating online resources, engaging influential theological institutions, disseminating church engagement programmes (such as Eco Church and Eglise Verte) and multiplying A Rocha’s reach through partnerships with global networks.

Environmental education: Each year A Rocha involves thousands of people, of all ages and many faiths, in activities which introduce them to local and global issues.

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Dave Bookless

Director of Churches and Theology

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