The Urban Nature Project

Communities acting for local wildlife

We are championing the UK's urban nature. It has never been more important to make our towns and cities healthy and sustainable places to live.

We need everyone's help to protect the natural world beneath our feet.

Biodiversity is the amazing variety of life on Earth, from bacteria to blue whales and everything in between. It is essential to the health and wellbeing of all living things.

But in the UK wildlife is in trouble, and it needs help now more than ever. The natural world faces unprecedented declines, and one million animals and plants are now threatened with extinction

Protecting nature is about protecting people. The air we breathe and the food we eat could all be affected if biodiversity and ecosystems collapse.

It's not too late

The future of the natural world is in our hands and we're doing our bit to change.

Managing and protecting the natural environment is something everyone can play a part in, but it can't be done alone. That's why we're working in partnership through the Urban Nature Project to galvanise a national urban biodiversity movement.

Diplodocus statue will stand in the new eastern grounds. Image: Picture Plane.


What we're doing at home

The Museum's five-acre site will be transformed into a biologically diverse, accessible and welcoming green space in the heart of London.

New outdoor living galleries will showcase the Museum's scientific research and provide a space for the public to enjoy, explore and experience urban nature.  

Access to the garden will also be improved, with universal step-free access across the site.

The west gardens will become a site for visitors and scientists to identify, monitor and study urban wildlife, and the east gardens will tell the story of life on Earth. A full-size bronze replica of the Museum's iconic Diplodocus specimen will also welcome visitors.

The existing wildlife garden will be extended to double the area of native habitats within the grounds. A new series of habitats will be developed, using materials and furnishings with recycled content where possible.

A family in the middle of a bioblitz in the Museum's current Wildlife Garden

A family in the middle of a bioblitz in the Museum's current Wildlife Garden

Creating a community

We can't protect nature alone. There is an urgent need  to monitor and record changes to the UK's urban nature, so we can understand and protect ourselves against challenges like climate change.

To inspire the next generation, an outdoor learning and activity space will host volunteering, family and school learning programmes in South Kensington.

A citizen science programme on urban biodiversity will allow anyone to become a champion for wildlife. We'll also create new outdoor volunteering opportunities and a traineeship and apprenticeships for young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

Alongside this, experts at the Museum will develop an urban wildlife monitoring and management toolkit for amateur naturalists, volunteers and habitat management professionals.

The science

Understanding how wildlife is responding to change requires large volumes of data. We'll take the lead in convening a national partnership of urban nature professionals, including academic researchers and conservation practitioners.

Up to five new long-term urban wildlife study and engagement sites across the UK will also be established to act as test-beds for how best to manage urban spaces for wildlife.

New planters outside the Museum

New planters outside the Museum, showcasing the diverse and unique flora of the Macaronesian region


How we'll get there

The project has received initial support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Development funding of £210,900 has been awarded to help the Museum progress plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £3,231,900 at a later date.

This is a major component of a fundraising campaign which is also supported by a wide variety of trusts, foundations, companies and individuals, including The Huo Family Foundation, Workman, The Cadogan Charity and The Evolution Education Trust.

  • The next stage of the planning process is to complete the RIBA Stage 2 concept design. This will be done in conjunction with Museum experts, external partners and independent advisors and will be completed in Autumn 2019.
  • The RIBA Stage 3 detailed design will be finalised in April 2020, when planning permission will be submitted for the completed designs. The transformed gardens are due to be opened in 2023.

Discover the Angela Marmont Centre

The Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity is based at the Museum.

It support the individuals, schemes and societies that record, monitor and protect the UK's biodiversity.

Protecting our planet

We're working towards a future where both people and the planet thrive.

Hear from scientists studying human impact and change in the natural world.


The Museum has received initial support for this project from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

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