With Nicola Boulton, Jack Swindlehurst, Evan Landy, Shen Yan Liow & Tom Mason
The aim of ‘A Focus on Urban Nature’ was to spend two days, in two contrasting habitats, investigating the ways in which urban wildlife and people interact and coexist. The team consisted of six young conservationists, who came from a variety of backgrounds and each with different skills. They bonded quickly and formed a good working group, all learning from each other’s skill sets and having of fun along the way.
Destination: Tower 42 & Wormwood Scrubs, London Date: 23rd & 25th April
Niki, Jack, Tom, Matt and Evan at the top of Tower 42 with David Lindo, The Urban Birder
On first appearances, the idea of ‘urban nature’ may not be as idyllic as visiting extensive wetlands, mountains or forests. Yet, around 90% of us in the UK live in the urban jungle and there is no urban jungle bigger than London. The biggest surprise is that not only does nature exist here, but in places it thrives, as does people’s interest in and love for it.
Over two days the team went from the top of Tower 42, one of London’s tallest structures, to Wormwood Scrubs, a green oasis, bordered by a prison, in suburban West London. Working with the British Trust for Ornithology and the Urban Birder, David Lindo, they encountered birds of prey soaring over London’s financial district, common lizards in a busy Wormwood Scrubs and a variety of other wildlife.
The team hope that the project showcases the fabulous nature that can be found in towns and cities across the UK, and the pleasure people can get from wildlife that lives right on their doorsteps. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that young people aged 20-35 are a far higher proportion of the urban population than the rural one. Young people are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, so making sure that people are aware of the rich wildlife in urban environments can be particularly beneficial for the younger generation, tomorrow’s conservationists and custodians of nature.
“From a personal perspective, being part of this project was hugely beneficial. I picked up a variety of skills along the way, from project planning to filming as well as expanding my network. The most rewarding aspect was to be able to share and exchange interests with the general public about wildlife and inspire them to think about their local environment differently. Spending time with other like-minded people has not only been good fun but has reinvigorated my own interest in urban nature.”