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The Natural History Museum launches fundraising campaign for its Urban Nature Project

·         In a survey commissioned by the Natural History Museum 85% of young people in London thought school students would learn more about the natural world by experiencing it first hand, rather than from a textbook

·         Young people in London are now more likely to connect with local nature through social media than a walk in the park with the biggest barrier being time spent inside the classroom

·         The Natural History Museum has launched a fundraising campaign for its Urban Nature Project to transform its grounds into a free-to-visit green space in the heart of London and get the nation’s children learning outside 

A survey commissioned by the Natural History Museum has found that young people in London aged between 9-14 are now more likely to connect with nature through social media, than a walk in the park, with the biggest barrier being time spent inside the classroom and studying. 87% of the young people thought students would learn more about the natural world by experiencing it first hand, rather than from a textbook. This support for outside learning was mirrored by adults in London when asked how children would best learn about wildlife

The Natural History Museum has launched a fundraising appeal to raise money for its Urban Nature Project (UNP) which will see children embrace nature and biodiversity outside the classroom. The project will transform the Museum’s five-acre site into a free-to-visit green space in the heart of London opening next summer. New outdoor galleries will tell the story of evolving life on Earth from 540 million years ago to the present day, following an immersive timeline of plants, trees, reptiles, birds and mammals. Children will come face to face with a giant bronze diplodocus surrounded by plants from the Jurassic period. The garden will also be home to scientific sensors gathering environmental DNA and acoustic data, to monitor, understand and protect urban nature.

A schools programme in partnership with a UK-wide network of partners is delivering training and activities to schools and young people across the country with a focus on building a connection with nature. The gardens in London will allow students to learn about the incredible diversity of life on Earth with a Learning and Activity Centre providing space for year-round learning activities.

The Museum’s survey found that 84% of young people in London found spending time outside and connecting with nature improved their mental health and wellbeing and the majority believed that people can just as easily connect with nature and wildlife in towns and cities as they can in the countryside, particularly when specially created urban nature areas exist.

Sir David Attenborough said, “The Urban Nature Project opens the door for young people to fall in love with the nature on their doorsteps and develop a lifelong concern for the world's wild places. Nature isn't just nice to have, it's the linchpin of our very existence, and ventures like the Urban Nature Project help the next generation develop the strong connection with nature that is needed to protect it.

Lauren Hyams, Head of Garden Activities at the Natural History Museum said, “We know that getting children outside inspires them to care of the nature that surrounds them. The Urban Nature Project will allow children and families to explore the Museum in a new way, and reconnect them with the outdoors, giving them the tools to safeguard nature in towns and cities, so that people and planet can thrive.”

Those wanting to support the project can donate any amount they can online or alternatively can

·         Donate £50 to sponsor a square metre of the garden

·         Donate £250 to engrave a name on the jetty railings

·         Donate £500 to engrave a name with a symbol of nature

·         Donate £5,000 – 10,000 to engrave a name on a long or standalone bench

You can find out more and donate to the Urban Nature Project at www.nhm.ac.uk/support-us/urban-nature-project/donate.html

Notes to editors

Natural History Media contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654 / 07799690151 Email: press@nhm.ac.uk

Images and paper available to download here.

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most-visited indoor attraction in the UK last year. 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 accessed by researchers from all over the world both in person and via over 30 billion digital data downloads to date. The Museum’s 350 scientists are finding solutions to the planetary emergency from biodiversity loss through to the sustainable extraction of natural resources. 

The Museum uses its 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 millions of visitors through our doors each year, our website has had 17 million visits in the last year and our touring exhibitions have been seen by around 20 million people in the last 10 years. 

The Urban Nature Project

The Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project is designed in response to the urgent need to both monitor and record changes to the UK's urban nature. Working in partnership with museums and wildlife organisations across the UK, the project will develop online, onsite and national monitoring and citizen science programmes as well as transform the Museum’s five-acre gardens in South Kensington into a globally relevant urban nature ‘epicentre’, helping to safeguard nature’s future.

Supporters and sponsors 

A wide variety of trusts, foundations, companies and individuals are supporting the Urban Nature Project including the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Evolution Education Trust, the Cadogan Charity, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Kusuma Trust, the Wolfson Foundation, Charles Wilson and Rowena Olegario, Huo Family Foundation (UK), Johnson Matthey, Workman and the Trustees and Executive Board of the Museum.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk. Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

The Evolution Education Trust 
The Evolution Education Trust helps raise awareness of the importance of the Theory of Evolution by funding impactful projects in the areas of therapeutics, education, conservation and fundamental research.

The Cadogan Charity

The Cadogan Charity supports communities, contributes to a sustainable environment and protects heritage. It has supported charities involved in animal welfare, education, conservation and the environment, military, medical research and social welfare.

Garfield Weston Foundation

Established over 60 years ago in 1958, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded, grant-making charity which supports causes across the UK and, in the most recent financial year, gave over £98million as the Trustees were highly conscious of the challenges presented by Covid-19 to the charitable sector. Since it was established, it has exceeded donations of more than £1billion, of which well over half has been given in the past ten years.

One of the most respected charitable institutions in the UK, the Weston Family Trustees are descendants of the founder and they take a highly active and hands-on approach. The Foundation’s funding comes from an endowment of shares in the family business which includes Twinings, Primark, Kingsmill (all part of Associated British Foods Plc) and Fortnum & Mason, amongst others – a successful model that still endures today; as the businesses have grown, so too have the charitable donations.

Known for its transparency, flexibility and straightforward approach, the Foundation supports a broad range of charities from small community organisations to large national institutions. Around 2,000 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation’s grants.

The Kusuma Trust

The Kusuma Trust UK is a family led philanthropic trust established in 2010. The Trust gives grants to organisations based on shared values and mutual interests in the UK, Gibraltar and India. Its current areas of interest are creating access to opportunities, improving health and well-being, and investing in our communities and environment.

The Wolfson Foundation
The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity with a focus on research and education. Its aim is to support civil society by investing in excellent projects in science, health, heritage, humanities and the arts. Since it was established in 1955, some £1 billion (£2 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 14,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review. Twitter: @wolfsonfdn

The Huo Family Foundation

The Huo Family Foundation is a grant-giving foundation. Its mission is to support education, communities and the pursuit of knowledge.  The Foundation previously supported the Natural History Museum’s ‘ID Trainers for the Future’ project which was a response to the critical and growing shortage of wildlife identification and recording skills in the UK.

Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey is a global leader in science that enables a cleaner and healthier world. With over 200 years of sustained commitment to innovation and technological breakthroughs, we improve the performance, function and safety of our customers’ products and in 2020 we received the London Stock Exchange’s Green Economy Mark, given to companies that derive more than 50% of revenues from environmental solutions. Our science has a global impact in areas such as low emission transport, pharmaceuticals, chemical processing and making the most efficient use of the planet’s natural resources. Today more than 15,000 Johnson Matthey professionals collaborate with our network of customers and partners to make a real difference to the world around us.

Workman LLP

Workman LLP is the UK’s largest independently owned commercial property management and building consultancy firm employing more than 700 staff across 12 UK offices, with a growing presence in Europe. Specialist Property Management and Building Consultancy teams work with a client base which includes leading institutional funds, overseas investors and property companies. What sets Workman apart from the competition is its specialist focus, national coverage and independent status. For further information, visit www.workman.co.uk or to find out more about Workman’s drive to build biodiversity across its managed portfolio, visit www.workman-building-biodiversity.co.uk.