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A unique musical performance by Spell Songs, the exceptional musical ensemble born of The Lost Words and The Lost Spells books by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, has raised £105K (including Gift Aid) for the Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project. This will not only help to transform the Museum's five-acre outdoor site into a biodiversity hub, but crucially launch a UK wide urban nature movement that will connect communities with urban nature and create advocates to protect our planet.
In total the concert drew in over 55.5k viewers from across the globe with the likes of conservationist Chris Packham encouraging his Twitter followers to tune into the “amazing” concert. As the musicians played, viewers commented on the “breathtakingly beauty” and the “stunning!” performance, with generous donations coming in from locations in the UK as far apart as Yell in the North Isles of Shetland to Tresco in the Isles of Scilly – and across countries such as Germany and the US.
Vital funds were also raised on the night via an immersive live auction which saw Spell Songs author and illustrator Jackie Morris create specular artwork live on stage, which viewers then bid on. Jackie’s generosity continued throughout spring as she donated a number of unique artworks for an online raffle which remained opened via the Museum’s website until the end of May.
The Lost Words team was drawn to the Urban Nature Project as its goals align so clearly with their own, and last year approached the Museum to see if they were interested in hosting a one off, unique collaboration. Robert Macfarlane explains “Cities can be miraculous sites of biodiversity. London is home to more than 15,000 species; more than half of its area is either green (woodland/parks) or blue (rivers, lakes and reservoirs) on the map. Nature is vital to the city’s well-being, and the future of nature in this country will be made or broken in part in our cities”.
Sir David Attenborough, who also supports the Urban Nature Project says, “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.”
The Urban Nature project, which has seen scientists from the Museum come together with experts in the field over several years of planning, is due for completion in 2023. Primarily designed as a response to the urgent need to both monitor and record changes to the UK's urban nature and fill the critical skills gap required to do so, the transformational project will not only galvanise people to reengage with the nature on their doorsteps, but also build on the Museum’s scientific and public work, triggering a movement that will ultimately help to safeguard nature’s future.
Reflecting on the phenomenal amount raised for the Urban Nature Project, Fiona McWilliams, Executive Director of Development at the Natural History Museum said; “‘This was a wonderful campaign from start to finish. The creative combination of poetry, music and art helped bring the aims of the Urban Nature Project to life for digital audiences and struck a chord with supporters from all backgrounds, ages and geographies. We are thrilled to have raised over £100,000 which will make a huge difference to this ground-breaking project”
For those who missed the concert and want to learn more or support the Urban Nature Project they can do so by visiting here. Spell Songs Volume II is scheduled for release in the autumn with a UK tour taking in Glasgow, Perth, Gateshead, Birmingham and London, running from 27 January to 1 February 2022. For album pre-orders or to buy tickets go to www.thelostword.org
Praise for The Lost Words: Spell Songs
“rapturously received” BBC Music Magazine *****
“complex and beautiful and an absolute joy from start to finish” RnR *****
“beguiling”- The Sunday Times****
“a delightful homage to nature” The Times****
“A brave and magical creation” The Observer
Notes for editors
Production: JSL Productions
Contact: Caroline or Adam Slough
Tel: 01432 277 463 / 07801 943983
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.