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“Gonzovationists” lead way in plastic clean up


A group of “Gonzovationists” recently took part in a major clean up of a parcel of land near Rutland.

Local writer and filmmaker Ceri Levy of Allexton said Gonzovationists were alternative conservationists.

The term was born from Gonzo journalism, a style of journalism popularised by US journalist and author Hunter S Thompson that is written without claims of objectivity and often via a first person narrative.

“Hence Gonzovation,” said Ceri.

“We believe that everyone can do something good for our environment and doesn’t need any special training whatsoever.”

He said the Three Villages Conservation Trust, which comprises Allexton, Belton-in-Rutland and Wardley, own 7.4 acres of land alongside the A47.

“It has part of the Eyebrook River running through it and 15 or 20 years ago a thousand or more trees were planted, for reasons now unknown,” said Ceri.

“Each one of these still had their plastic tree guards around it all these years later.

“The trustees of the land mowed a path through the site last year and when I viewed it, I thought there was a lot that could be done to help and nurture nature.”

Wanting to remove the decaying plastic surrounding and hindering the trees, he investigated options on what they could do with the guards once taken off.

“Plastic is the scourge of the environment and I was curious to find out just how much there was on the land and what one could do with it,” said Ceri.

“I discovered a company called Agri-Cycle who recycle agricultural waste including tree guards.

“This is perfect for our project, especially as they make plastic benches out of the recycled materials.

“How fitting to return the awful plastic to the site as a durable long-lasting bench.”

Ceri said a call was put out to the community and people were invited to come and spend the day to help remove the tree guards.

“It was raining and we still got a fantastic turnout of 35 people and between us we removed and dug out all the tree guards,” he said.

“These filled six huge recycling bags.”

Ceri said their work would now continue alongside A Focus on Nature, an organisation which involved young people in conservation.

“We will be holding a Bio-Blitz on the weekend of May 12 and 13 to ascertain what wildlife exists on site and what can be done to help the land and its creatures.

“Will we find otters swimming in the river?” he asked.

“Are kingfishers buzzing up and down it?

“What birds breed there and what isn’t there that should be there?

“These are all questions we hope to answer.”

Ceri said the clean up showed what could be achieved when a community came together.

“The hope is to turn this land into a community space for people and wildlife to enjoy together in harmony.

“The future looks bright for this site and Gonzovation is already playing its part.”

Ceri, who has been writing books with well-known Gonzo artist Ralph Steadman on the plight of critically endangered wildlife, is A Focus on Nature mentor.

The mentoring programme offers young conservationists the opportunity to link with professionals.

Anyone wanting to take part in the Bio-Blitz can email events@focusonnature.org


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