The Royal Parks is the charity that cares for 5,000 acres of Royal parkland across London. By celebrating heritage, promoting health and wellbeing, and protecting nature, the Royal Parks provide 77 million annual visitors with treasured green spaces to explore, value and enjoy—now and in the future.
But it’s not just the human visitors that benefit. The Royal Parks play a key role in conservation by connecting the capital’s wildlife corridors as habitat havens for many plants and animals, including over 4,100 species of invertebrates. This year, thanks to a £600,000 award from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Royal Parks has launched Mission: Invertebrate to inspire people with the amazing story of nature’s unsung workforce.
Approximately 95 percent of all known animal species are invertebrates, vital for a healthy city-wide ecology. Vertebrates such as mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians all have a backbone, whereas invertebrates, such as butterflies, slugs, worms, and spiders, don’t. Invertebrates pollinate plants, help break down and recycle organic material and are an important food source for lots of other animals. The planet as we know it would struggle to survive without the services they provide.
Mission: Invertebrate aims to gain a better understanding of these creatures and what we can do to protect them. Our funding is supporting school sessions, a programme of family activity days throughout the school holidays and exciting citizen science projects, where members of the public have the chance to get involved in hands-on bug discovery. The award has also enabled global ecological research contributions and park landscape improvements to the grassland habitats to ensure invertebrate biodiversity. You can find more information about the work of Mission: Invertebrate here.
This summer, you might catch a glimpse of a giant snail sliding through the parks offering the opportunity for children to get up close with nature and learn more about the wonderful world of invertebrates. Our Giant Snail Tour brings creative family activity days to the Royal Parks, with interactive storytelling, bug trails, creative crafting and invertebrate missions galore! Check out our website for dates and locations: royalparks.org.uk
Dr Alice Laughton, Mission: Invertebrate Project Manager, said: “Mission: Invertebrate provides a unique opportunity to spotlight the magnificent minibeasts that call the Royal Parks home. Often overlooked, invertebrates play a vital role in our everyday lives, and we’re very excited that, thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we are able to share this brilliance with our visitors. We are also conducting invaluable research that will ensure the management of our park grasslands continues to allow invertebrates to flourish.”
For more information, visit: www.royalparks.org.uk
The Royal Parks is a charity (registered number 1172042) created in March 2017 to manage and fundraise for 5,000 acres of Royal parkland across London. Every year 77 million visitors enjoy London’s eight Royal Parks for their unparalleled opportunities for enjoyment, exploration and healthy living in the heart of London. The charity looks after eight of London’s largest open spaces: Hyde Park, The Green Park, Richmond Park, Greenwich Park, St James’s Park, Bushy Park, The Regent’s Park, and Kensington Gardens. The Royal Parks also manage other important open spaces in the capital, including Grosvenor Square Garden, Brompton Cemetery, Victoria Tower Gardens, Canning Green and Poet’s Corner.