There are already 20,000 children spending more time with nature in Cardiff. 60 per cent of Cardiff primary schools are engaging with wildlife and more than 1,000 Cardiff residents now want to see more nature in their city.
Since 2014, RSPB Cymru’s1 Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project, in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council, has been busy engaging children and families with nature across the city – from the wildflower meadows of Forest Farm to the wilderness of Flat Holm Island.
Thanks to funding from Tesco customers through the Welsh carrier bag levy, the project has provided free outreach sessions to 60 per cent of Cardiff primary schools, engaging more than 13,600 children. It’s helped communities in 90 per cent of Cardiff wards to spend more time with wildlife on their doorstep through free family events. Local volunteers have donated 3,600 hours of their time to help wildlife in the city.
Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff Project Manager, Carolyn Robertson, said: “Since the project was launched in 2014 we’ve enjoyed bringing thousands of young people and their families closer to nature in Cardiff.
“We’ve been popping up in parks, community hubs and green spaces across Cardiff providing fun outdoor activities for young people – from juicy worm hunts to wildlife gardening workshops. We’ve delivered free outreach sessions to 60 per cent of Cardiff primary schools to help them discover all the plants and animals which live in their school grounds, igniting a new found curiosity for nature. However we still have plenty of work to do and we now want to encourage even more families across the city to spend time outdoors discovering and enjoying the wildlife in their community.”
Families are going wild for nature…
By inviting children to splash around in their wellies, get together for some pond dipping or get muddy on a minibeast hunt, the project established the most exciting wildlife club in Cardiff in April 2016. Run by the City of Cardiff Council Community Park Rangers and RSPB Cymru staff and volunteers, Cardiff Wildlife Detectives encourages families to explore in the wild.
Nicola Hutchinson, Conservation Officer for the City of Cardiff Council, said: “More than 30 families currently make up the Cardiff Wildlife Detectives group and so far we’ve been rock pooling at Sully beach, coppicing trees at Forest Farm and discovering wildlife along Bute Park’s Explorer Trail. Children as young as two have found sheer delight pulling up giant invasive plants taller than them, while 15-year-olds have been fascinated by the creatures they’ve caught in the pond at Forest Farm. We want people to get out and enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer.”
From a giant spider web to virtual reality in the park. Even more people enjoyed the wonders of Cardiff’s wildlife in 2015 as Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff brought creativity and innovation to Cardiff’s Bute Park in the form of TAPE.
Delivered in partnership with arts organisation, Migrations4, TAPE allowed 74,000 people to discover and crawl around inside a giant spider’s web in the trees and provided them with a completely different perspective about the natural world.
TAPE was a giant web-like structure built between the trees in Bute Park, Cardiff; an interactive art installation for people to climb inside. The project was delivered in partnership by RSPB Cymru's Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project, arts company Migrations and the City of Cardiff Council.
The creativity didn’t stop there as the project teamed up again with Migrations in summer 2016 with the arrival of In the Eyes of the Animal – a 360-degree virtual reality experience in the heart of Bute Park. Families were transported on a multi-sensory journey all through the eyes of a midge, a dragonfly, a frog and an owl. All animals native to the park.
In the Eyes of the Animal
Set in Bute Park, Cardiff, In the Eyes of the Animal was a digital art installation enabling people to experience through virtual reality what it might look, feel and sound like to be an animal moving through a woodland. The event was delivered in partnership by RSPB Cymru's Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff project, arts company Migrations and the City of Cardiff Council. The digital art work was created by Marshmallow Laser Feast.
Last but not least, the project’s latest venture with Migrations, Boombox Caerdydd, will film 100 Cardiff residents as they dance in their favourite green spaces in the city, celebrating their connection with nature and the places where they feel it most.
100 people, 100 dances, 100 urban green spaces – all celebrating Cardiff’s fantastic wildlife.
Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Bob Derbyshire, said: “We have some fantastic parks and green spaces in Cardiff but sometimes it can be all too easy to live in a city without giving any real thought to the natural world.
"This partnership has been a way of encouraging children and parents to visit and enjoy our parks and open spaces. TAPE and In the Eyes of the Animal were incredibly successful, attracting a total of 77,000 visitors to Bute Park and helping people to identify with wildlife and enjoy the sense of wonder that nature evokes in new and unique ways."
- “Fantastic experience. Loved seeing it so public. Makes me love the city even more.” Visitor to TAPE
- “The most family friendly summer activity Cardiff has done in years.” Visitor to TAPE
- “Loved the way it crosses all barriers between art, science and nature which so often stay separate.” Visitor to In the Eyes of the Animal
- “Beautifully immersive. I couldn’t have predicted what I experienced. Can’t wait for more.” Visitor to In the Eyes of the Animal
Looking to the future...
Sadly, we now know only one child in every eight in Wales is reasonably connected with the natural environment and one in every 14 species in Wales is facing extinction. This, without question, is cause to continue the vital work achieved through Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff. In doing so we will hopefully enable even more children and families to spend time with wildlife in their city, inspiring them to take action to not only support nature but to treasure it.
Giving Nature a Home in Cardiff was funded by Tesco customers through the Welsh carrier bag levy until 31 March 2017 and the project is now sourcing funding to continue with its work. However we’re delighted to confirm that thanks to Aldi, through the UK carrier bag levy, the project’s schools outreach work can continue until 2019.
Last Updated: Monday 3 July 2017