Features Ed Blog: Loving British Wildlife

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Do we love our native British wildlife enough?

Here in the pages of the “Friend”, we talk quite often about our country’s flora and fauna. Thanks to writers like our Polly Pullar, we often feature our lovely local beasties.

Polly’s written loads of articles on really important British nature issues, like roadside verges, netting of trees and nesting areas and the fragility of soil.

I’d say once you get to a certain age – or if you live in or near the country – you can’t help but be excited and drawn into the success or plight of our native plants and animals.

The next generation

love british wildlife


I recently interviewed “Urban Birder”, David Lindo, for a future feature. He talked a bit, as he has elsewhere, about the disconnect between the next generation and nature. Especially kids that grow up in urban areas.

Over the last few years – especially over the lockdown – there’s been a rise in people looking at their local nature. Sophie Leguil has been talking about the incredible diversity of plants in London. BBC Radio 2 had their “Big Bee Challenge”, which focused on the ways we can all help bees, whether we live in a flat or the country.

But David pointed out that for years TV nature documentaries have taken us to the far corners of the globe. And that’s been a wonderful thing – we’ve seen sloths swimming between mangroves and nail-biting chases between baby lizards and snakes. Perhaps, though, it’s made nature seem a long way away for a lot of Brits, though. When that couldn’t be further from the truth!

We’ve got parakeets in London, cities full of flowers growing in cracks and walls, foxes, and regeneration projects like Manchester’s Castlefield Viaduct and the Regent’s Canal in London.

The future is in the cities

love british wildlife


With nearly 85% of our population living in suburban or urban areas, it seems vital that we learn how to appreciate what’s literally on our doorstep.

I think David has a point. We see Kate Humble living on her farm in Wales, and Chris Packham tucked away in the New Forest, and you think – that’s where nature is, out there. But we live right alongside it everywhere, and until we learn to find space for it in our sprawling towns and cities it’s only going to become more remote and less relevant for kids growing up. You can’t really expect them to care about something they’ve got no connection with.

Lots of work to do, then, but really exciting to see people like David and Sophie opening our eyes to the beauty around our built-up areas.

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Read more from Alex here.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.