As Harri Web’s immortal poem ‘Colli Iaith’ conveys, if we lose our language we lose much more than just words! Protecting and promoting the use of Welsh terms is a never ending struggle and this is as true of the environmental sector as any. Indeed, the climate and biodiversity emergencies are upon us here in Wales in the same way as across the world and we need to wake up to this and do so through the medium of Welsh! A project funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, ‘Gwreiddiau Gwyllt’ – wild roots in Welsh – is the first step taken by the Mentrau Iaith towards achieving this.
The 18 month long project will enable people in the counties of Conwy and Neath Port Talbot initially, to engage with the natural world in Welsh via a variety of fun-filled and informative activities. People will be encouraged to conserve their local natural heritage and the project will at the same time protect our linguistic heritage by introducing them to Welsh terms for creatures, trees and plants.
Myfanwy Jones, Mentrau Iaith Cymru Chief Executive said “‘We are on the threshold of an exciting project which will enable a range of outdoor events to happen. These will include practical tasks to conserve the participants’ local environment in addition to walks and activities which will reveal stories, legends and place names to raise awareness and inspire an interest in nature.”
The project officers, Judith in the county of Conwy and Jacques in Neath Port Talbot, are looking forward to organising a programme of activities in every corner of their respective areas, with various groups, especially young people and new Welsh speakers. The Mentrau Iaith of Conwy and Neath Port Talbot are pleased to participate in this project which is taking them in a slightly different direction than in the past. The rest of the 22 Mentrau Iaith are very much looking forward to seeing the fruits of the project so that they themselves can organise similar activities.
The naturalist, Iolo Williams, said “Here’s a project which will bridge the gap between the language and cultural sectors and that of the environment so that people will gain a greater appreciation of the natural heritage of their areas. I very much hope that the activities will inspire the interest of participants and nurture concern which could lead them to take steps to protect nature on their doorsteps. The environment isn’t just the worry of non-Welsh speakers and I very much hope this project will awaken the interest of Welsh speakers and learners in it”.
Nia Jones of the North Wales Wildlife Trust welcomes the ‘Gwreiddiau Gwyllt’ project. “This is just what we need in order to encourage people to use the colourful Welsh materials which we produce and to help grow future environmental conservationists.”
Mentrau Iaith Cymru are grateful to the National Heritage Lottery Fund for funding the project. As a result of the ‘Gwreiddiau Gwyllt’ project they hope that organisations, groups and individuals will find it easier to get hold of resources about nature in Welsh and that more easy-to-use resources are available in the future.
For more information contact the ‘Gwreiddiau Gwyllt’ Project Manager Siận Shakespear:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01492 643401.