The Ventilator

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Save living wildlife from the Natural History Museum

by Rowan Adams, the Climate-friendly Gardener

Yes, you read that right. Please help to save living wildlife not just at the Natural History Museum, but from the Natural History Museum

Well, to be more precise, living wildlife at the museum needs saving from some plans proposed by people at the top of the museum. I took this photo on Midsummer Day, 24 June, when I was there for the Wildlife Gardening Forum’s conference on soil biodiversity in the garden. How sad that on the autumn equinox I would be signing a petition to save the garden.

Alfred Russel Wallace in the Natural History Museum Wildlife Garden IMG_1921The Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Garden is under threat from a proposal to build a new access around the south front, and right through the pond you can see in this photo, to help people get into the western end of the museum and the new Darwin Centre. There’s also a statue of Alfred Wallace there – what would either of those two great naturalists say to this?

There has been an internal consultation, and this weekend (Friday 24 – Sunday 26 September) there’s an exhibition as part of a public consultation. Some staff at the museum objected during the internal consultation, and when their concerns were not met their union, Prospect, backed them with a petition. You can read what some of the professional staff think on Prospect’s website. They’ve suggested ‘a raised walkway to attract greater visitor numbers without disrupting the garden’ which sounds a much more imaginative solution to me, and something I’d love to see – wouldn’t it be great to be able to look down on the wildlife garden from above?Natural History Museum DSCF3141

What does anybody else think? Read what Steve Head of the Wildlife Gardening Forum says in Horticulture Week.

And if you want to know more from somebody else who knows about garden wildlife, check out Ken Thompson’s article for the Telegraph. You may recognise the photo again, but let’s enjoy it while we can, because if the Natural History Museum don’t change their minds then the photos will be all we have left.

If you find yourself agreeing with Ken Thompson that the idea that ‘it doesn’t matter what you destroy as long as you replace it with something’ is ‘fatuous’, then like me you may want to sign Prospect Union’s petition on

(A version of this was first posted on The Climate-Friendly Gardener website.)


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