La Gacilly has always been our spiritual home. From planting trees to protecting our wetlands, this is a place that inspires us.
It all started with an arboretum
Thirty years ago now, we worked with children to set up our first arboretum in a little garden in La Gacilly. Children from the neighbouring schools studied, selected, and planted trees and shrubs native to the region. On 9 March 1991, 500 students decided to commit to protecting nature. Today, those same children are in their forties. Some find themselves walking around the arboretum hand in hand with their own children. Our ambition has grown too, leading us to set up 500 arboretums around the world, from Burkina Faso and Lebanon to Canada and beyond, with thousands of children worldwide joining in with our adventure.
United with Yves Rocher staff
We know we can always rely on staff from our biggest sponsor, Yves Rocher, as well as their willingness to get involved with our nature conservation initiatives. From planting hedgerows and trees in the countryside, to helping build the ’herb spiral’ at the Yves Rocher Foundation’s biodiversity observatory, they’re always ready and waiting with a helping hand. This year, we’ll be celebrating our 30th anniversary in La Gacilly with our event Nature en Fête, set to run from 8 to 10 October 2021. Three full days of talks, workshops for kids and adults, and exploratory adventures to understand biodiversity… We can’t wait to meet and mingle with people who share our passion for the natural world.
The beauty of nature…
The Villeneuve natural site and its wetland meadow were acquired by the Yves Rocher brand in 2016, and were assessed by the LPO (France’s bird protection league) in order to draw up a diagnosis and sustainable management plan for the hedgerows there, with a view to developing a dense environment to foster local biodiversity. A region-specific programme that fits into a wider vision of saving France’s wetlands.
Wetlands form the boundaries between land and water, and are under significant pressure as a result of climate change. In Europe, their total surface area was halved over the course of the last century, yet many species depend on these ecosystems. Taking action to protect them is therefore a matter of urgency.
These observations lie at the heart of the Foundation’s decision to set up its biodiversity observatory project here, offering up a space in which visitors are free to wander and learn. An eight-hectare wet meadow, small yet teeming with precious biodiversity that is typical of the region.
…accessible to all
The Yves Rocher Foundation once again decided to take a long-term perspective here, and it paid off, with nature gradually thriving over the years. By opening this space up to nature lovers and curious souls, we wanted to get visitors old and young alike involved in the process.
Strolling down the decking, walkers are given the opportunity to examine the fragile plants that grow in wetland areas, continuing on to the bird hut, where glimpses of our winged friends can be seen. The visitor experience leads them to two ponds where they are able to admire the dragonflies’ lazy water-dancing, alongside frogs, birds, and flora. A little wonderment can go a long way.