Mark Berridge – The Castle Manager


Mark Berridge – The Castle and Communities Manager


Welcome to the second Bude Earth Festival, though in a slightly different format than the inaugural one last year. Though we had hoped to make this year even better than last year, a tough act to follow, due to the present times we live in, we hope you find our virtual event equally as inspiring.

I am really pleased that we are holding Bude’s Earth Festival again this year as it puts our ecosystem, local and global, in the limelight and opens up discussions on how we can improve the way we live, where we live and how we can improve life on planet Earth. The Bude community does so much already for the environment and by holding this event each year, we can improve on what we do and learn a little more on what can be done. I am so proud to work for and be a part of a forward thinking Town Council like ours.

When I look back, I have always been a ‘greeny’ and loved the great outdoors. Maybe this comes from being a cub and a scout, camping a lot, making fires and generally being outside. Then, having met my wife as a teenager, who came out the womb fighting animal rights and is an environmental scientist and animal behaviourist, interest in looking after our earth and treading lightly grew. I do have to admit, even though I have mostly eaten veggie food at home for a very long time, it is only this January I finally committed to becoming a full veggie’; much to the delight of my wife!

We all have a penchant for at least one animal, an animal that you feel drawn to, have a connection with and one you just want to champion. Well, I have three! The elephant, the giraffe, and more recently, the pangolin. I think the elephant is ingrained in me as my mom loved them and I think this love for them has grown from there. They are majestic, wise and so caring. When you look at the matriarch herd and how all the members look after the younger ones and follow her lead, what’s not to love. The graceful giraffes I met on my honeymoon, how elegant they are in how they move and run. Then more recently, the so very cute, pangolin. I watched a programme about a year ago where this lady lived with one called ‘Honeybun’ and detailed the work she did rescuing them. I was hooked! They are so sweet and even though they have their protective scales, they are so defenceless against people. Their scales are seen as some twisted herbal/medicinal qualities by some people and they are killed in the thousands just for their scales. They are so endangered now, it is abhorrent why they are still marketed. But that is true for the elephant and all animals.

Lest not forget those animals on our doorstep, the ones native to this country. We should be all doing what we can to look after and improve the lives of them. I have a family of hedgehogs in my garden and I feed them every night. I have created log piles and dens for them in a number of places in the garden and bowls of water too. Foxes, badgers, toads, newts, bats, dormice, birds and insects need protecting. We should be doing what we can to help them as our population grows, all we do is encroach on their homes and make it difficult for them to live. If we are not careful, the countyside we love and the creatures in it, will not be here in a few years. What a sad day it will be when we don’t hear birdsong or the hum of bees!

It is now vital more than ever to give some thought to our wildlife and what you can do to help. When gardening, think before you cut something down or clear an area for some slabs, whose home are you destroying, what part of the natural ecosystem do they play and do you really need to do it? Even if it is a tree or a shrub, remember, all our greenery is helping to clean up our air we breathe and we should be planting and saving as much flora as possible to help save ourselves. Carbon emissions have been cut recently but I fear that this will be short lived as the world returns to normal so we are going to need all the plants and trees as much as possible to compensate.

With the extra time you have at home, help create habitats for animals and little creatures. Build a bird or bat box, create an insect hotel, make a toad dome, a wood pile, plant bee friendly flowers or plant a tree to make a habitat for many species.

It is really important that we remember the environment and animals during this unprecedented time as they are fast becoming the forgotten victims of this pandemic.

Carolyn, our Event Organiser, has done an absolutely brilliant job in creating this virtual Bude’s Earth Festival with lots of things for you to watch, entertain and take part in. Hopefully you will learn something, make you think about something and it would be amazing if you went even one more step to being more greener. Follow our social media channels this week and look at the programme of activities. Be a part of our green environment and not apart from it.

Mark Berridge

Castle & Communities Manager