TRCH

Notts for Nature: Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust on the Importance of Conservation in the City

22 May 18 interview: Aly Stoneman
photos: Tom Morley

Spring is in the air, but when was the last time you saw a butterfly or bumblebee in Market Square? We tracked down Trish Evans, Audience Development Manager at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, to find out how their Nottingham for Nature campaign is addressing conservation issues in the city...

Why should we be concerned about wildlife and nature in Nottingham?
Wildlife in urban centres is often compromised. Like other UK cities, Nottingham has its fair share of concrete development, which can take over from green spaces and wildlife habitats. Nottingham’s cityscape is mainly a grey-scape, and aerial images show only small scatterings of disconnected islands of wildlife habitat. We don’t want Nottingham to become a wildlife desert. Improving its habitat and nature will improve the health of current communities and future generations.

How is Nottingham For Nature addressing these issues?
It’s a creative campaign project that aims to shine a spotlight on green issues in Nottingham. We specifically wanted to channel the energy and passion of young people; to make an impact, give them a voice, and present an opportunity to make a real difference here. 

The campaign hit the streets at the start of the year...
One aim was to use the power of the written word to influence positive change and political policy. Our “Keeping It Wild” team collaborated with creative writers, printers, photographers, and a filmmaker, exploring innovative approaches to highlighting key conservation issues. The young people put together twelve campaign poems and images – displayed on advertising platforms and billboards across the city – and the Nottingham for Nature manifesto, a document which Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is now adopting as a future strategy for the city.

Every campaign needs a glitzy launch...
Ours was a Nottingham for Nature Question Time-style event held at Nottingham Council House, with a panel of national and local decision makers, leaders and campaigners – including the Lord Mayor of Nottingham – and an audience of 150 teenagers from across the city. Nottingham’s Young Poet Laureate, Georgina Wilding, presented the manifesto, and the event included poetry performances, short films and debate.

What’s next?
We’ve just “planted the seed” of this project, and we aim to activate the Nottingham For Nature manifesto in our city throughout the year, as part of our future strategy to make a real difference and provide a positive legacy. Leading up to the summer, our Keeping It Wild team will be visiting London to hand in our manifesto and campaign in person to the UK’s national political leaders and local MPs.

How can people get involved?
Young people living across Nottinghamshire can get involved in Keeping It Wild by attending weekly meetings where group members support each other with project development and creative activities, and take part in regular wildlife conservation volunteering across our reserves. Find out more by following Willow Fox on Facebook and Instagram by following the hashtag #nottinghamfornature, or contact our project leader Laura Bacon on 0115 958 8242 or [email protected]

 

Wild Notts Wordmash Poems

TWILD (tidy + wild)
To stop treating wild flowers as wild litter

Neat vs Alive;
our pollinators survive
on plants we call weeds.

URBITATS (urban + habitats)
When all future development connects city life with wildlife

Create growing spaces
in municipal places;
we can all play a part.

OPPORTUNITREES (opportunities + trees)
To secure and develop Nottingham’s unused spaces for nature

Leaf-leapers require
connecting canopies
for nature’s high-flyers!

WILDSOLATION (wildlife + isolation)
Making sure that city planning always connects green with green

Isolated populations
cannot survive; create
a network and they will thrive.

FORESTORIC (forest + historic)
To replant, instead of uprooting our city’s legendary heritage

Re-wilding the city
oak by oak
is the Major task!

ROOFLORA (roof + flora)
A future where Nottingham is the UK’s green roof capital

Gardens on the roofs;
nature at the top of life,
where the sun hits first.

YARDOWS (yard + meadows)
To create wildlife meadows across our city

Butterfly buffets replace
nectarless slabs of grey
beneath our feet.

TREATHE (trees + breathe)
Trees are critical to our survival

Choking on exhaust fumes
but it could be different;
breathing the breath of trees.

LEAFLECTION (leaf + reflection)
Recognising the importance of nature and taking action to ensure it has a future

Dreaming under leaves
in parks and streets; sheltering
beneath your favourite tree.

SWANDER (swan + wander)
The enjoyment of strolling through a green space in the city

Encountering nature
makes us feel alive,
eyes wide with wonder.

RIVACTION (river + action)
Protecting the wellbeing of our city’s waterways for wildlife

Make riverbanks green
From the Trent to the Leen;
Free flow of otters, like water.

CHORYPT (chorus + crypt)
A city plan to replace dead silence with birdsong

Ringtones, alarms and traffic
– our city’s dawn chorus –
but can you hear the birds?
 
These poems were written by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Keeping it Wild Youth Group

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website

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