£3.2million for the Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project

Design visual of people enjoying a garden with trees and pond, outside the Natural History Museum
Design visual of the Natural History Museum garden. Credit: Feilden Fowles and J & L Gibbons
A major project will support wildlife in London and other UK cities through a biodiverse green space, scientific innovation and engaging young people.

The natural world faces unprecedented declines and needs help now more than ever. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, The Urban Nature Project will help to monitor and safeguard nature in cities across the UK. The project aims to help people form a lifelong connection with the natural world and empower them to understand and protect it. 

A transformed green space

The Natural History Museum's five-acre site in South Kensington is to be transformed into a welcoming, accessible and biodiverse green space in the heart of London.

The new, sustainable design extends the existing habitats and turns the area into a haven for wildlife ‒ including grazing Greyface Dartmoor sheep.

Over 3,300 species have been found in the museum's garden since it opened 25 years ago, many of which have contributed to scientific studies. The figure is expected to double when the renovation is completed in 2023.

The Urban Nature Project will create a diverse learning area for the thousands of visitors that walk through the museum gates each year. This incorporates: 

  • trails taking visitors through the history of life on Earth
  • a live laboratory
  • an outdoor learning centre
  • a range of fun and educational activities

Plans to improve access to the space include updated walkways, step-free access and new seating areas.

Rendering of the Urban Nature Project upon completion, people enjoying urban nature. Dippy, the Dinosaur cast, in the background
The new garden design features a weatherproof cast of Dippy the Dinosaur. Credit: Feilden Fowles and J & L Gibbons

A nationwide urban nature movement

The project is set to reach over 1.5m people via the creation of a collaborative, nationwide movement to urgently address the rapid decline of urban biodiversity and habitat loss.

The museum garden will be used for national monitoring programmes to record changes in Britain's urban wildlife, some of which involve piloting new technology. These innovations can then be shared with partners around the country to build up a bigger picture of how wildlife is changing over time.

Through an extended schools programme, museum staff will work with organisations across the UK to inspire the next generation, create new opportunities for young people in cities and help everyone to learn about humanity's impact on the natural world.

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. 
Sir David Attenborough

Opening the door for young people to care for nature

Discussing the project’s impact on young people, Sir David Attenborough said in 2020: “Unless children have access to nature and experience, understand and nurture wildlife, we know they might never feel connected to nature and could grow up with no interest in protecting the natural world around them.

“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.”

Supporting natural heritage

We want all our projects to do their very best to help mitigate against, and adapt to, the effects of climate change and to help nature recover. 

Find out more about our commitment to landscapes and nature and what steps your project could take to protect our natural heritage.

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