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Love and Light

Region 1 - Calling All Butterflies to Hazelborough Wood: The National Environment Project

An Experience in Service Project

June 29th was the day of the National Environment project, organised by Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation (UK) (SSSSO) and it found devotees converging from many of the Regions on Hazelborough Wood for a great day out as conservation volunteers.

The wood, located deep in the countryside in Northamptonshire is owned by the Forestry Commission. Part of a former medieval hunting forest enjoyed by kings, it is one of England’s oldest woods. It is now maintained in a natural way for more peaceful purposes and is open to the public.

However, not many butterflies have chosen to frequent this natural haven. These creatures are attracted to sunny sheltered spots and to certain types of plants which can only grow if they get enough sun. This was where the SSSSO UK volunteers came into play –we were needed to bring in the light. There were about 80 of us, young and old, male and female who travelled long distances to the venue.

Once there, we were met by a grateful member of staff and enjoyed tea and biscuits after our long journeys and early start. It was now becoming apparent that we were not there for a little light weeding as some had hoped. We set off through the woods, kitted out in hard hats and wellies and carrying heavy bags of tools and eventually arrived at “King Richards ride” – this was basically a wide path through the woods which was overhung with trees, blocking the necessary light. Our task we were told was to saw down the small to medium bushes and trees, cut them into smaller pieces and pile them up.

Nothing daunted, we set to work and although some of it was tough enough going, the mood amongst the volunteers was vibrant. We worked in teams and were happy to tackle quite big trees – after a tiring morning, we were also happy to trudge back to H.Q to enjoy our shared lunches – and then back for another hour and a half’s work. By 3 o’clock some of us were pretty exhausted but in a “good way”. We thoroughly enjoyed the work and made a real impression on the overhanging trees, light was flooding in by the time we finished.

Finally, we filled the air with the sound of the Aum and a few bhajans uniting us spiritually with the ancient wood, with the environment and with Swami. We would love to return again – and next Spring we may see those butterflies starting to arrive.

Maureen O Hara
Wandsworth Sai Group