A new project aimed at getting East Londoners interested in wildlife will be launched by conservation activists and local parks authorities this week.
The Wild Place Your Space initiative aims to foster social inclusion and environmental awareness by introducing ‘under-represented’ groups – such as ethnic minorities, the disabled and those on low incomes – to local nature reserves, including Hackney’s Middlesex Filter Beds and the East India Dock Basin in Tower Hamlets.
Focused on the valley of the river Lee, the Heritage Lottery funded project will include a total of six sites. Local people will be invited to participate in various events, including ‘tailored activities’ and educational projects such as workshops in bat box building and wildlife photography.
Organisers Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds say their aim is ‘to breach the modern boundaries separating local people from the natural world.’
It is hoped that the project will ‘introduce people to the rich variety of plants, animals and insects’ found in the area.
The scheme also aims to offer volunteering opportunities to around 250 people, including ‘practical conservation opportunities’ such as cutting reeds, creating a wildlife demonstration garden and planting a wildflower meadow.
The project’s launch will take place on Thursday (29 July), at the WaterWorks Nature Reserve in Waltham Forest, E10, with the unveiling of a replica Saxon canoe, based on a relic originally found in Hackney’s Springfield Park.