A fox in a garden

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Nature in lockdown: a breath of fresh air

The COVID-19 pandemic still sweeping the world has forced millions of people to radically change their lives.

Recent months have presented a rare view of our world in which human movement is substantially minimised. Many of us spent months of 2020 confined to our homes in a state of lockdown. We have spent less time driving, shopping, visiting restaurants and commuting. Pavements and footpaths were empty, trains stopped running and offices powered down.

From goats wandering deserted streets in Wales to pollution-free skies over London, there have been reports of numerous environmental changes since the pandemic began, but what was really happening?

We're getting our scientists on the case.

Our photography competition

The competition is now closed. Thanks to everyone who took part.

The winners, selected by a panel of Natural History Museum scientists, will be temporarily displayed in the Museum's Images of Nature gallery.

The display will showcase photographs from 2020 that illustrate the upheavals and changes felt by humans and wildlife alike.

Submissions responded to the following themes:

  • the lockdown's impact on nature in the UK
  • human relationships with animals and plants during the pandemic

Together, the collection of images will provide a snapshot of how nature can support us during a time of crisis, as well as showing how human actions can influence the wildlife we share our homes with.

The competition closed at 11.59 BST on 4 September 2020. Winners were announced on 25 September 2020.

The competition was judged by three researchers in the Museum's Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity

Chris Raper (Manager of the UK Species Inventory)
Jessica Wardlaw (Interim Citizen Science Manager)
Stephanie West (UK Biodiversity Training Manager)