From Mount Lebanon to the Himalayas (via Aotearoa)
One of the founders of A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand and current A Rocha trustee Richard Storey is about to venture forth on the next stage of his creation-care journey. Richard explains:
I first discovered A Rocha in 2002 in the Bekaa Valley, a stunningly beautiful plain suspended at 1000m altitude between Lebanon’s two majestic mountain ranges. I joined a small A Rocha team led by Chris Naylor (now the Executive Director of A Rocha International) who were protecting the birdlife in a small remnant of a once vast wetland – a vitally important resting stop on one of the world’s great bird migration routes. Under the shadow of Mount Hermon, we monitored over 155 species of birds passing through these upper reaches of the Great Rift Valley. This, my first experience of practical conservation, was in a land that inspired some of the Bible’s richest images of natural beauty and ecological flourishing.
With my head and heart full from this experience I returned to New Zealand in 2004, and worked with several others to birth A Rocha Aotearoa NZ. As a Trustee I have been inspired by watching A Rocha develop a very different expression of creation care on the mountainous terrain (& coastlines, rivers, forests and urban streams) of these southern islands. When time has allowed, I’ve also immensely enjoyed the opportunity to participate directly in A Rocha-inspired projects.
During the past year, God has been drawing our family’s eyes north again towards a very different mountain range – the Himalayas. In a region with a deeply religious view of the environment, we have found an opportunity to teach environmental studies in a university college. It’s a biodiversity hotspot (over 670 bird, 650 butterfly, 90 mammal and 5400 plant species in an area 1/7 the size of NZ!), and until a few decades ago, it was one of the least ‘developed’ regions on earth. Through our teaching, we hope to inspire, empower and equip people to preserve this rich ecological heritage as the region goes through rapid change. If you would like to stay connected with us as we take this next step on the creation-care journey, please contact: [email protected]