When it comes to Stepping Up – Admiral Nelson is in a league of his own. His famous message to the fleet ‘England expects every man will do his duty’ galvanised the battle of Trafalgar. It’s fitting, then, that at his feet a new vision for the centre of London is unveiled to transform the iconic London square into a vibrant and green heart to the city.
The RSPB’s launch of the Trafalgar Naturepark marks the launch of IUCN’s decade of biodiversity – which aims to halt the loss of the planet’s wildlife by 2020. Nelson’s column will form a central pillar of a giant rainforest biome surrounded by the extensive wildlife gardens and wildflower meadows. The open spaces of the square will be places where people can get up close to nature and enjoy wildlife spectacles on giant 3D screens.
We’ll be bringing in dramatic live wildlife footage from our network of 200 nature reserves here in the UK as well as dramatic material from flagship overseas projects including rainforest restoration schemes in Sumatra and Sierra Leone. We’ll be featuring projects to save endangered wildlife in Kazakhstan and albatrosses in the southern oceans.
Our own Paul Lewis has been at the heart of planning this project and is very excited: “We all have to step up if we are meet the 2020 targets for saving nature. A healthy natural environment is crucial to our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing and also has significant, well-documented economic benefits.
“To mark our ambitions for 2020, we want visitors to Trafalgar Square to enjoy parrots, penguins and polar bears, as opposed to pigeons. It’s going to be an inspiring, interactive experience with a mix of digital, hands on and real life components.
“ We’ve held very positive talks with both the Government and the Mayor’s office and our backers are ready with a multi-million pound funding package.”
The RSPB led consortium has plans for further ‘nature experience zones’ in nine city centre locations across the UK, including Birmingham’s Bullring and Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh.
“For far too long our city centres have turned a blind eye to the value of inspiring a close relationship with nature, said Mr Lewis. “Young people living in urban areas are increasingly isolated from opportunities to enjoy nature. Our natureparks aim to redress the balance by putting nature at the heart of city centre life.”
The project backers include a businessman, a rock star, a computer entrepreneur, a high street retailer and a leading leisure experience provider. Full details will be revealed in an exhibition showcasing the project later this year.
When asked about the future of the lions – Mr Lewis, in an unguarded moment, revealed that a small pride was planned.
Well, as Nelson would, no doubt, have said, ‘You should keep an eye out for that one'.Follow me on twitter (if you dare)
A totally inspired vision. Brilliant!
I also heard that Buffalos are to be allowed to roam free in Hyde Park. Brilliant!
and pigs might fly!
They could have real Lions in the square, and turn the forth plinth into a hide. !!!
Best wildlife I've seen in the square was when Scotland fans came down in '77. Truly wild.
Great April Fool, but I would be interested to know how much it has cost the RSPB to get the drawing done, etc. Surely the charities money could be better spent elsewhere?
Thanks everyone ... the drawing was done by a friendly graphic artist for a very small fee. The only other cost was a little staff time. Stories like this are designed to be fun, but also to help get a serious message out there about the importance of promoting contact with nature.
Well said Andre, a few quid to put smiles on a lot of faces and to know that the RSPB has a great sense of humour!
The RSPB’s former director of conservation, Mark Avery, is illuminating the road to the Rio+20