Horniman Public Museum and Public Park Trust

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Creating a movement for positive environmental change

A surprising haven in the heart of south London, the Horniman Museum and Gardens is home to world-class collections covering everything from musical instruments to natural history. Outside, visitors are treated to over 16 acres of beautiful public gardens.

But there’s a downside to the Horniman’s amazing location. One of the country’s busiest and most congested roads, the A205 South Circular, sits on its doorstep, bringing noise and air pollution. And it’s the reason behind one of the latest projects we’re funding – helping to plant a micro-forest on the border of the Horniman Gardens. The plan is to plant layers of vegetation, including  trees, native shrubs and herbaceous plants and bulbs that not only provide a fantastic resource for wildlife but create a barrier from the main road. A small number of volunteers will be involved in creating this ‘microforest’ and benefit from learning about different plants and trees and how to grow and care for them.

We’re also partnering with the Horniman on two other projects: forest school training and an Environment Champions Club.

  • 8 in 10 children and young people are said to be more concerned about climate change than anything else, according to research by Smart Energy GB.
  • By 2023, the Horniman aims to have 80% of visitors ‘aware of [its] sustainability actions and activity, such as energy efficiency, recycling and composting’ and feel ‘encouraged to take action themselves’.
  • Our grant of £29,305 to the Horniman is funding projects that give young people and their families the opportunity to take positive actions to tackle the climate and ecology emergency and support each other.

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Training forest school leaders

As part of the Museum’s work to adapt to more outdoor activities following Covid restrictions, they decided to set up a forest school. So we’ll be funding training for six forest school leaders and three assistants. The forest school will be a fantastic resource for local people, particularly those who have little access to outdoor space.

Encouraging environmental champions of the future

Another way the Museum will be helping increase young people’s knowledge of the outdoors and environmental issues is through an Environment Champions Club. Aimed at 6 to 10 year olds and their families, the idea is to create a community where members can support each other by sharing questions, concerns, progress, tips and information. The club will be primarily online, with the Horniman providing resources and occasional onsite activities.

“These projects will help the local community make the most out of our green spaces. By replanting our London Road border, we can have an even greater impact…leaving a legacy of natural woodland for years to come. Having in-house forest school expertise will mean we can inspire current and future generations to tackle climate change by learning through nature. Through the Environment Champions Club, we will encourage people to experience nature and wildlife up close and to explore the big interconnected issues of our time – climate change, species extinction, pollution and migration – ultimately creating a movement for positive environmental change.”

Dr Nick Merriman, Chief Executive and Director, Horniman Museum and Gardens

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