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The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Natural History Museum’s wildlife gardens today, where she met local school children and learnt more about how communities across the UK will benefit from the Urban Nature Project (UNP), which the Museum is launching later this year.
The visit coincided with the publication of the Museum’s Annual Review which shows how it is addressing the planetary emergency.
Her Royal Highness, who has been patron of the Museum since 2013, was met by Museum Director, Dr Doug Gurr, who explained how the project is helping people to reconnect with the natural world and find the solutions urgently needed to protect our planet's future.
The project will see the Museum’s five-acre grounds transformed into a globally relevant urban nature epicentre complete with outdoor classrooms, a ‘living lab’ and a weatherproof cast of the Museum’s famous diplodocus, Dippy. Crucially, the project will trigger a nationwide biodiversity movement. Led by the Museum, this will see a coalition of partners deliver science and learning programmes for young people, schools and families across the country. The aim is to help the Museum address, better understand and ultimately turn the tide on the rapid decline of urban biodiversity we’re witnessing today.
Throughout the afternoon The Duchess got stuck into helping children from the nearby St. Mary of the Angels Primary School with some nature focused craft activities. She then joined the children on an immersive storytelling activity before touring the Wildlife Garden with Dr Gurr.
Enroute Her Royal Highness helped staff affix an AudioMoth acoustic recording device to a nearby cherry tree. This tiny device will record ambient sound across a range of frequencies, both within human range, and beyond. The data from this will help Museum scientists investigate patterns of bird, mammal and insect activity within the garden, including bats and pollinator communities. The device will stay onsite until the end of the summer, when the data will be analysed and used as part of the UNP National Schools Programme, which launches in September.
Speaking about the visit, Dr Doug Gurr said, “I’m delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness here today as we share some of the work the Urban Nature Project is doing to engage young people with the nature on their doorsteps.
“Biodiversity, especially in urban settings, is under threat like never before. To survive, it needs young people to grow up with a desire to protect it. But without feeling excited by and engaged with the green spaces around them, this is in jeopardy. That is why this project is crucial for our urban green spaces and all the species who call it home.”
The visit coincides with the launch today of the Museum’s Annual Review, Solutions for Nature and from Nature which celebrates some of the key Museum partnerships, research and discoveries over the last year. From influential biodiversity research shared with the government, the 503 new species Museum scientists described in 2020 or the illustrious Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards for which Her Royal Highness announced the winner - the annual review highlights how the Museum is making a lasting and positive difference to our global future.
Notes for editors
Natural History Museum Media contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654/ (0)779 969 0151 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and the planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world.
It is custodian of one of the world’s most important scientific collections comprising over 80 million specimens. The scale of this collection enables researchers from all over the world to document how species have and continue to respond to environmental changes - which is vital in helping predict what might happen in the future and informing future policies and plans to help the planet.
The Museum’s 300 scientists continue to represent one of the largest groups in the world studying and enabling research into every aspect of the natural world. Their science is contributing critical data to help the global fight to save the future of the planet from the major threats of climate change and biodiversity loss through to finding solutions such as the sustainable extraction of natural resources.
The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet - to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. We welcome over five million visitors each year, our digital output reaches hundreds of thousands of people in over 200 countries each month and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 30 million people in the last 10 years.