The work of A Rocha Australia spans the continent, with directors from five states and local groups meeting regularly across the country. Projects include Capernwray Bible School and Conference Centre in New South Wales, where A Rocha is carrying out habitat restoration of the Southern Highland Shale Forest and research into a threatened species of eucalyptus.
Through revegetation projects and ecological offsets, A Rocha Australia is also partnering with Cassinia Environmental, a pioneer in carbon farming in Australia, to develop creative ways to fund nature conservation and protect against climate change.
A Rocha Brazil has worked with Christians in many parts of the country, mobilizing communities and churches to respond to the environmental challenges in their neighbourhoods and equipping the church to engage with government policies.
The teams in British Columbia, Ontario and Manitoba bring hope through care of people and places. They are preserving sensitive habitats and threatened species, growing organic food and feeding people on low incomes and teaching and inspiring children about the world around them.
Through the Internship Programme (BC), young people receive instruction and practical experience in their chosen field: sustainable agriculture, conservation science, environmental education or food and hospitality – and at the same time, participate in community life and learn about environmental stewardship and the Christian faith.
Based at their environmental centre, Krupárna, the A Rocha team in NE Bohemia runs children's environmental clubs and summer camps, and organizes bird ringing demonstrations and exhibitions, involving and training young naturalists. Krupárna’s two hectares of ‘nature garden’ – ponds, bird hides, insect hotels and more – make it an ideal site.
With the Czech Ornithological Society, the team also carries out long-term bird monitoring in Orlické Záhoří (eastern Bohemia) and runs week-long courses to train aspiring ornithologists of all ages.
A Rocha Finland has prepared environmental resources for use at the Lutheran Church’s confirmation camps, attended by 90% of Finnish fifteen-year-olds. The summer camps are an ideal environment for biblical teaching on creation care, with an emphasis on sustainable living.
Panu Pihkala, the Finnish director, is a voice on ‘eco-anxiety’, or ecological grief, an emotion that needs attention.
A Rocha France has been working in the Vallée des Baux, near Arles, for 20 years, including research evaluating the conservation status and bio-indicator role of the European Roller Coracias garrulus and engaging local landowners and government in sustainable land use and conservation.
In the hills above Nice, A Rocha France is managing their centre, Les Courmettes, as a Natura 2000 reserve and an international base for environmental awareness, education and training, offering nature activities, conferences, family holidays and children’s camps.
The team is also encouraging creation care across France by developing resources including the daily ‘Prayer for creation’, building an Ambassador network and through the Église verte church programme.
Working from four field bases, A Rocha Ghana helps communities protect some of the most biodiverse and threatened habitats throughout the country: mangroves on which coastal fishing communities depend; Atewa Forest and its surrounding villages; Lake Bosomtwe and its forest/wetland system; and the arid savannah surrounding Mole National Park. In Atewa, the team is leading a campaign to protect the forest – internationally recognized as one of the highest priority ecosystems in West Africa – from bauxite mining.
Alongside scientific research, A Rocha Ghana provides training in alternative livelihoods (e.g. beekeeping and fungi farming) to help each village manage their land to benefit wildlife, as well as meet their own long-term needs.
Bannerghatta National Park is dry deciduous scrub forest, classic habitat for the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus. The park lies just outside Bangalore, with a consequent increase in conflicts between farmers and elephants, which may seek food in neighbouring farmland.
A Rocha India has been working in and around the park since 2004 to address these and wider issues through careful science and environmental education focused on researching, understanding and mitigating human-elephant conflict in order to find effective solutions for the long term sustainability of wildlife, habitats and the people who live there.
A Rocha Kenya’s field study centre is on the coast opposite Watamu National Marine Park. The team monitors the health of the park, the coral reef and the important coastal mangrove forests of Mida Creek.
Other research focuses on Dakatcha Woodland, north of the coast, and the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest – both remnants of dry coastal forest with a high number of rare birds and creatures like the endangered Golden-rumped Elephant-shrew Rhynchocyon chrysopygus.
The Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Eco-tourism Scheme (ASSETS) is a school bursary programme to conserve these habitats and increase the benefits to local communities from sustainable eco-tourism and environmental education.
Confronted by the impacts of the nearby Syrian civil war and a large influx of refugees into Lebanon, A Rocha Lebanon has focused on two projects in the Bekaa Valley. The Qab Elias Environmental Project offers residents a community garden with a pond and labyrinth. Mekse Nature Park provides open space for public recreation and opportunities for environmental education to the villagers and surrounding refugee communities. Native trees and shrubs supply food for wildlife, so that in time, the park will also offer habitat for birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
A key focus for A Rocha Netherlands is to involve Dutch Christians in nature conservation and A Rocha projects overseas. Local groups around the country are actively involved in practical conservation, such as managing or providing conservation advice on 2,600 hectares of nature reserves, estates and farmland.
Through lectures, workshops, publications, courses and networking with Christian professionals in the field of conservation, A Rocha Netherlands is engaging local churches and Christian communities in environmental conservation.
A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand runs community conservation projects on the North and South Islands. The flagship project is the restoration of Mt Karioi, an important site for seabirds like the Grey-faced Petrel, or Ōi. The programme is improving breeding success by controlling predators over 2,500 hectares.
The team provides in-school and after-school educational programmes centred on the diverse ecosystems of Karioi, and runs the E3 Wilderness Expeditions for young people in partnership with Scripture Union and Adventure Specialities Trust further afield.
An Eco Church NZ programme is being launched to help churches across the country actively care for God’s earth as an integral part of their mission.
Eden Creation Care Initiative is an Associated Project of A Rocha International.
Eden offers education and support in scientific research to help communities protect areas important for their biodiversity. The main focus is at Rennajj Fish Farm, 80 hectares on the fringes of the Jos metropolis, where the scrub and wetlands are managed and protected to enhance their conservation value.
In La Libertad, northern Peru, A Rocha is restoring one of the country’s most threatened landscapes: dry forest. This ecosystem is rich in biodiversity – providing habitats for many unique and endangered species – and supports the livelihoods of local communities. The aim is to re-establish native species and work with local farmers to restore degraded farmland through agroforestry to provide a sustainable income alternative.
A Rocha Peru is also working with local community members to introduce ecological ovens that will reduce the reliance on charcoal and firewood.
In 2019, Christians in Conservation Philippines (CIC) became the second Associated Project of A Rocha International.
With an office at the Asian Theological Seminary (Quezon City) and a 10 hectare fieldwork site in the Sierra Madre mountains, CIC’s vision is to train people in earth-keeping, teach zero waste management and establish a native plant nursery and seedling bank alongside practical teaching on what the Bible has to say about caring for creation.
A Rocha’s first field study centre opened in the Algarve in 1987. Since then, the team has been researching the wildlife and habitats to protect them from the worst ravages of the tourism industry. Local wader flocks, including Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus, are counted regularly.
Botanical monitoring and the collection of plant specimens around the Ria de Alvor has provided crucial scientific evidence of illegal habitat destruction and continues to help A Rocha Portugal win rulings that protect this outstanding estuary from inappropriate development.
South Africa celebrates wonderful variety. In addition to its rich cultural diversity, it is also home to the third greatest biodiversity of any country in the world. Within this incredibly diverse environment, A Rocha South Africa works to re-engage the Church to its mandate to care for God’s creation, conducts practical restoration projects of forest, riverine and semi-desert ecosystems, and enthuses younger generations of all cultures to the wonders of God’s creation through environmental education.
A Rocha Switzerland’s main focus of study is dry grassland, a threatened habitat in the country. A Rocha has made species inventories in many parts of the country to help identify conservation priorities and advise on land management. Each year the team mobilizes volunteers who undertake practical tasks, helping farmers to improve the wildlife diversity of their meadows.
Every summer they run Eco-adventure camps for children, in partnership with other Christian organizations.
Lubigi Wetland, the biggest papyrus swamp in the Kampala area, is surrounded by slums. A Rocha Uganda is bringing health, dignity and hope to the people by providing clean drinking water and finding new ways to dispose of sewage and rubbish, while also reducing the pollution of the swamp - important for birds of prey and waterbirds.
The team teaches community members how to build simple bio-sand filters that pass water through layers of sand and sediment, producing clean water that does not require boiling. That means fewer trees cut down for charcoal production and time released from kitchen duties – better for everyone!
A Rocha UK is mobilizing Christians to care for the natural world: for God, nature and everyone. Their first project was the transformation of urban waste ground in West London into a country park, where over 5,000 children have enjoyed eco-education events. A second London site at Wolf Fields is being transformed into a haven for people and wildlife.
A Rocha UK runs Eco Church – an award scheme for churches in England and Wales – which suggests ways to express care for God’s world through worship, teaching, lifestyle changes and community engagement.
A Rocha USA’s mission is to inspire and equip Christians to know and love their local places through practical, community-driven conservation projects. They offer ‘Pollinator Parties’ to teach people how to create a garden with local plants that are beneficial to pollinators, and are developing creation care material for summer camps and Sunday schools.
A Rocha Arts partners with musical and visual artists around the country who share the vision for Christians to be actively and creatively engaged in the flourishing of God’s earth by restoring people and places.
Climate Stewards is A Rocha’s carbon offsetting body, teaching people about climate change and reducing their carbon footprint, and then encouraging them to offset what they can’t reduce.
Climate Stewards’ projects support community forestry and cookstove projects in Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal and Uganda. These activities mitigate CO2, as well as restore biodiversity and improve livelihoods and health.
A Rocha International is the body that supports A Rocha National Organizations and Associated Projects, publicizing the work at an international level and fostering the emergence of new initiatives. In addition, three programmes bring together A Rocha teams around the world for collaboration, sharing best practice and offering a peer group for support and international perspective: Theology and Churches Global Programme, Marine Global Programme and the Tropical Forests Programme.