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“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home”. Gary Snyder

A quick glance at this map of London and you can see the numerous green spaces spread throughout the city. Breaking this down into numbers, it represents 47% of physically green areas, or 62,118 acres; 3.8 million gardens; 8.3 million trees; 30,000 allotments; 3,000 parks; 300 farms; 850 km of waterways; 13,000 wildlife species, 2 Special Protection Areas, 3 Special Conservation Areas, 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 2 National Nature Reserves, 37 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 142 Local Nature Reserves and 1,600 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation [1].

Access to a significant part of these sites are public, giving all of us a chance of being in contact with nature. Visits to parks during the week or weekend for recreational activities is common throughout all seasons and increases particularly in the summer. Although it may be obvious, people visit parks to enjoy the scenery and landscape, for peace and quiet and outdoor activities. But there is much more to the beauty and peace these spaces provide. They are home for plants and animal species that are vital to clean the air and water, pollinate crops and make soil fertile.

Next time you go to a garden and park, observe the different species of birds and if you find any insects or busy bees. I recently, did this in a visit to St. James Park and it made me value and appreciate the importance biodiversity even more and my role in preserving it. However, reflecting on Gary Snyder’s words, nature is not only a place to visit, as we tend to do from time to time, but it is home. Biodiversity is an integral part of our environment and that map is an illustration of how central it is to life in London. You can do your part by preserving these spaces and if you want to do more, there are opportunities to engage within the University and local level. Keep posted for more information and in the meantime feel free to contact us to discover more!

[1] Figures from National Park City.

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