Newsletter: Autumn 2023 News & Views

This season’s newsletter features trips, events, panels, fundraising updates, plus our latest grants. Read on to find out more…

Meanwhile, if you’re looking to make an end-of-year donation to a local charity that makes good things happen for nature in Devon, we’d love to have your support!

You can donate directly, choose us as your One Percent for the Planet partner, or donate via JustGiving. 🙏

We’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped DEF achieve our objectives this year.

We awarded more than £205,000 grants in 2023 (and £750,000 since launching in 2020) – enabling a wide variety of projects that protect and restore nature in Devon.

You can see all the projects we have supported HERE and scroll down for our latest grants.

Wishing you a wonderful festive season and we look forward to connecting again in 2024! 💚


We kicked off the autumn season with a fantastic fundraising dinner held in collaboration with Rockfish at the Royal Dart Yacht Club in Kingswear. We enjoyed a delicious meal cooked by Mitch Tonks and his team (plus, the wonderful Matt Tebbutt!); listened to inspiring words from Mitch, Simon Nicholls, and Ben Goldsmith about why they founded DEF; and were joined by the talented Marky who entertained us with great music! We also held a silent auction and a raffle with incredible prizes donated by local businesses.

The result? We raised a staggering £21,000! We are hugely grateful to Mitch and his team for their generosity in hosting this event in aid of DEF, to the RDYC for letting us use their beautiful venue, to all the local businesses who donated, to all the helpers who made it run smoothly, and to everyone who attended and made it such a fun and successful night!


In October we attended the Blue Earth Summit which brought together leading sustainable businesses, purpose-driven start-ups, investors, campaigners, NGOs, and the media to explore ways to play a role in fixing some of the most significant issues facing our world today. Our co-founder, Ben Goldsmith, spoke about the Business of Rewilding; and our executive director, Amanda Keetley, featured on a panel sharing uplifting stories of grassroots nature restoration alongside other representatives from the Conservation Collective network. We’ve already booked our slot for next year!


The Conservation Collective hosted an autumnal visit to Knepp Rewilding for the foundations within our network. The DEF team was excited to join the tour of the 3,500-acre estate, led by its trailblazing owners Isabella Tree and Charlie Burrell. We saw storks, longhorn cattle, fallow deer, and the many wonders of the beaver enclosure! We learned about the tremendous potential of rewilded land to sequester carbon, restore biodiversity, and unlock new income streams for landowners providing environmental services. The day was topped off with a delicious lunch at Knepp’s Wilding Kitchen.


DEF’s Amanda Keetley chaired a panel at this year’s Dartmouth Food Festival, in the Food Matters tent, discussing ‘Might Aquaculture be one answer to the problems of the Food Chain?’ The panellists were John Holmyard of the mussel farm Offshore Shellfish, Greg Clifford of Scallop Ranch, and Angela Mead of the seaweed farm Biome Algae (also a DEF grantee). They had a lively discussion about the challenges they face, the opportunities for collaborating with the fishing sector and other marine industries, and the potential for aquaculture to provide a low-impact food source,  alongside additional environmental benefits such as increased biodiversity and carbon sequestration.


We’re excited to have supported the following brilliant projects in Q4 2023.

Regenerative School – filling a small funding gap to enable this beacon centre of regenerative excellence to deliver a third year of their Level 3 course training the next generation of regenerative farmers.

Plastic Free North Devon – a second year of funding for this exemplary grassroots organisation so they can grow their impact, evolve their campaigns, and inspire more community action to further improve their local environment in North Devon.

Ecosystem Approach Film – enabling the Sibthorp Trust to create a film to demonstrate the “Ecosystem Approach” – focussing on Beavers and the vital role they play in our local environment. 


DEF’s new video series spotlights uplifting stories of grassroots nature restoration in Devon, showing the power of channelling funds to the local projects who are best-placed to restore nature in the places they love!

You can see the Apricot Centre’s video above, or visit DEF’s Youtube channel to see the whole series of 1 min films…


Joywave has partnered with Conservation Collective to fund vital ocean conservation work in the UK and Sri Lanka, supporting DEF and LEF projects. This funding partnership will enable marine conservation efforts that make a tangible difference in Devon, such as the wonderful Plastic Free North Devon.

To enter and be in with the chance of winning a surf trip of a lifetime in Sri Lanka (second prize is a wonderful surf villa trip in North Devon), click HERE!



What we’re reading 📖
Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake – fascinating insights into the world of fungi!

What we’re watching 📺
David Attenborough’s Wild Isles 

What we’re listening to 🎧
Rewilding the World – Ben Goldsmith



We’re currently looking for new members to join our Advisory Board of local nature experts.

If you, or anyone you know, could be interested, please get in touch for more information!


View the email version of the newsletter HERE.

Sign up to receive future newsletters via email HERE.