Monday, 12 December 2016

No 12

By Jaqui

I grew up near the countryside and whilst I love this Hackney home of ours I often yearn for more green. Of course if you rewind much more than 100 years most of where our homes once stood was marshes and farmland. I have become very interested in 'greening the grey' of our urban streets, injecting life and colour, creating wildlife corridors where birds and insects can move from match to patch, tree to tree. There are lots of ways our community are managing to do this which enrich the lives both of local people and wildlife - planting more street trees, planting up the beds around trees, creating roof gardens, championing green spaces, and planting up front gardens and disused spaces, even if they're tiny.

So my bird box is paying homage to the humble leaf. Those I used are from a beech tree growing in Durrington Road. Collecting them off the pavement - after trampling them underfoot for several weeks - and breathing in their earthy scent was a moment of reconnection with nature for me. Working with them to tile the box was very satisfying, there is so much beauty and individuality in their form and studying them one by one allowed me to appreciate them. Creating from something that would otherwise be walked over and ignored allows me to ponder the nature of beauty and humanity's relationship to nature. 

It also makes me think of the exciting movement going on to make London the world's first National Park City. A city where people and nature are better connected.  A city that is rich in wildlife and every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. We are so lucky in Hackney to be so rich in green spaces, but there's lots left to do. We need to encourage the council to stop routinely spraying carcinogenic weedkillers in our streets. We need to encourage our schools to make better use of our local green spaces; they rarely have any green space of their own. Maybe we can even think of ways of bringing more green to our own beloved Chatsworth Road. The birds and bees will thank us, and they in turn can enrich our lives.

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