Poetry and film ignite Nextdoor Nature – a new nature legacy to mark the Queen’s Jubilee

George the Poet shines a light on new community rewilding projects led by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and funded by The National Lottery

Today, George the Poet releases a new poem written for Nextdoor Nature – a ground-breaking community rewilding scheme which will be a natural legacy for the Queen’s Jubilee.

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered by the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust Nextdoor Nature will support around 200 new groups with 50 community organisers across the UK to re-introduce nature into local areas deprived of natural places to enjoy. In The Tees Valley this will mean communities in Stockton on Tees including Roseworth, Norton and Bowesfield will be supported by a new member of staff working in these areas with an aim to give people the skills, tools, and opportunity to take action for nature.

The poem – The Natural World – highlights how people can feel brighter and more at ease when they can tune into nature. It is performed and filmed on location across Manchester’s wilder quarters and it urges people to “celebrate nature in our everyday lives.”

Evidence shows that people are increasingly disconnected from nature, with profound consequences for health and it also means they are less likely to protect their natural heritage.

The poem explores George the Poet’s sense of beingpart of nature:

“…like the birds and bees.

Like the ferns, the seeds, the dirt, the trees.”

It ends:

“Let’s celebrate nature in our day to day,
 At home, at work, in how we talk, how we think.
It starts with recognising we’re part of it all.
Nature’s reaching out. Let’s answer the call.”

George the Poet says:

“Linking up with The Wildlife Trusts for Nextdoor Nature reminded me that nature is all around us – it is us. Let’s stay tapped in with the natural world.”

A suite of five short films are also released today to celebrate some of the communities who will benefit from Nextdoor Nature and inspire others with the art of the possible. They feature local champions who are passionate about their neighbourhoods and have achieved great things. You can find these at wildlifetrusts.org/nextdoor-nature .

Nextdoor Nature is funded by £5million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund – it is part of The National Lottery’s £22million investment to mark the Jubilee.

Led by The Wildlife Trusts, the scheme will run over the next two years giving people the skills, tools, and opportunity to take action for nature. This could include establishing wild habitats and green corridors in areas of economic and nature deprivation, rewilding school grounds, or naturalising highly urbanised or unused areas. The pandemic has demonstrated just how important access to a well-cared for natural environment is to communities across the UK.

Dr Simon Thurley CBE, Chair of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, says:

“Encouraging people to get involved in nature, is not only critical for the wellbeing of our planet, it is critical for the wellbeing of our communities. A community-created green oasis in areas where there are none will not only have a transformative effect on the lives of those involved, it will bring joy and sense of pride to many. Thanks to funding raised by players of The National Lottery, we are delighted to work in partnership with The Wildlife Trusts on Nextdoor Nature to create a wonderful natural legacy for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”

Steve Ashton, People and Wildlife Manager, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust say,

“We know many people are passionate about where they live, but sometimes frustrated because they are not sure how to go about to make environmental improvements happen. With the support of our new Nextdoor Nature Community Wildlife Officer they will be empowered to make a difference and go on making a difference. Nextdoor Nature is all about local people doing small things that, when combined, will make a huge difference to tackling the nature, health and climate crises.”

“Over the last two years, nature has shown us that it has a magical way of helping us feel freer, healthier and more positive in ourselves – and nature itself is stronger when people feel a part of it and can help it thrive. Our films – alongside George the Poet’s heart-warming poem – have brought our ground-breaking programme to life. Nextdoor Nature is launched – let the work begin!”

You can find out more about Nextdoor Nature at wildlifetrusts.org/nextdoor-nature.