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The Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project secures National Lottery support

The Urban Nature Project aims to turn the Natural History Museum’s five-acre outdoor space into an exemplar of urban wildlife research and conservation, and engage the nation with urban biodiversity.

The Natural History Museum has received initial support* from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its Urban Nature Project (UNP), an ambitious national programme to inspire communities to take action for urban wildlife through the transformation of the Museum’s gardens and a network of regional and national partnerships.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s support, which is made possible by National Lottery players, is a major component of a fundraising campaign 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 Museum is planning a future public campaign to engage people in the project.

The UNP aims to turn the Natural History Museum’s five-acre outdoor space into an exemplar of urban wildlife research and conservation and engage the nation with urban biodiversity. It convenes a UK-wide partnership which will tackle challenges facing urban natural heritage,  reconnect people to nature and explore the importance of evolutionary change through time.

Comprising a coalition of museums and wildlife organisations, it will develop the tools and skills urgently needed to understand urban nature and inspire diverse audiences to make a lifelong connection to nature, learn about its value, and take action to protect it.

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

The Natural History Museum’s Executive Director of Development Fiona McWilliams says:

“Urbanisation is rising rapidly, significantly squeezing space for wildlife, so it has never been more important to connect people with the nature on their doorstep and help them to enjoy and protect it for future generations. The Urban Nature Project’s national activity programme will inspire and empower people to recognise, understand and protect the nature in towns and cities whilst also providing scientific evidence that conservationists can use to protect urban nature across the UK.

“We are thrilled that, through the funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK and a leading advocate for natural heritage, we are a step closer to realising the national ambitions of this vital project. We would like to thank National Lottery players and all our funders for their support in helping us develop a new generation of urban nature advocates. We hope many of them will be Lottery players!”

Planning and fundraising continues for the rest of the project which will:

Aid the study of urban wildlife

By taking a lead in convening a national partnership of urban nature professionals including academic researchers and conservation practitioners, the UNP will develop an urban wildlife monitoring and management toolkit for amateur naturalists, volunteers and habitat management professionals. The project will establish new long-term urban wildlife study and engagement sites across the UK to act as test-beds for how best to manage urban spaces for wildlife.

Boost Biodiversity

Increasing biodiversity across all the UK sites will be a focus. Harnessing the expertise of Museum scientists and nature conservation partners, the Museum will double the area of native UK habitats in its outdoor spaces in South Kensington, including nationally declining habitats such as chalk grassland. Extending the existing wildlife garden and range of habitats will support local biodiversity.

Connect visitors to nature

New outdoor living galleries in South Kensington will showcase the Museum's scientific research and provide a space for the public to enjoy, explore and experience urban nature. Improved access to the Museum's gardens will include universal step-free access across the site and a new layout which will ensure they are available to enjoy year-round.

Inspiring the next generation.

Through partnerships with schools and youth organisations the UNP will develop volunteering, family and school engagement programmes, a citizen science programme on urban biodiversity and work with schools with students from lower socioeconomic groups to introduce new and improved outdoor learning programmes and resources. In addition, the project will create new outdoor volunteering opportunities and a traineeship and apprenticeships for young people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.


Notes for editors:

Natural History Media contact: Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654/ (0)779 969 0151 Email:

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity.

The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome around five million visitors each year and our website receives over 850,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund

* National Lottery Heritage Fund grant applications over £250,000 are assessed in two rounds. The Urban Nature Project has initially been granted round one development funding of £210,90 by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, allowing it to progress with its plans. Detailed proposals are then considered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund at second round, where a final decision is made on the full funding award of £3,231,900.

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.

The Huo Family Foundation

The Huo Family Foundation makes grants to charitable organisations advancing the arts or education. 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.


Workman is the largest independent commercial property management and building consultancy firm in the UK. Workman actively supports the health and wellbeing of the occupiers within assets under our management. As a corporate supporter of the Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project, we are committed to promoting nature in our towns and cities.

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.

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.