A year ago this week we were celebrating the launch of the London as the world's first National Park City.
In the intervening months, as people have learned to cope with life in a lockdown, it's become abundantly clear that our parks and green spaces are not just a 'nice to have' - when you live in a city they're essential for your health and mental wellbeing.
We are restarting our Family Wild Walks next week, 'adventures for children to take their parents on', to explore the hidden (and not so hidden!) green spaces of Hackney and beyond, inspiring every day outdoor adventures.
As we are testing out our post-lockdown processes we'll just be inviting our regular families for the first one. We are hoping to open up the walks and to get all of them on the great walking app Go Jauntly from the end of August. We'd love to hold more walks for more families as we emerge from Lockdown and learn to navigate this new normal. We are seeking sponsorship, but in the meantime If you can donate even £5 that could help us take a family in need out on a potentially life transforming walk...
Have you thought about the community run green spaces at risk?
Unfortunately, without public support, some smaller nature reserves and green spaces may be forced to close their doors.
As part of our Family Wild Walks project, we've run a few guided walks taking in Dalston Curve Garden. They've struggled with the loss of income since closing their doors in March, and have put out a public appeal to raise the £100,000 they need to keep going. Happily, another of our favourite destinations, Woodberry Wetlands have raised enough money in the last weeks to stay open until 2021. These little oases of green are valuable community resources, we need to do everything we can to keep them open.
As we emerge from the lockdown, we shouldn't forget what we've learned - that fresh air and freedom to get outside is a precious resource . It's why the newly-trained National Park City Rangers are asking people to make a Lockdown Legacy Pledge - a promise to stick with one positive change you've made over the past months. It may be that you've started cycling to work every day, it may be that you're now getting outside every day with your family.
You may also like to take part in the celebratory 100 Voices project, a free online event bringing together a century of stories from people who have helped make greener, healthier and wilder over the past 12 months..
This week also marked one year of the Backyard Nature project, which encourages children to take ownership of a local patch of land and nurture it for nature. There's already over 10,000 Backyard Nature Guardians across the UK and there are loads of free resources and fun missions online. We were very proud to act as consultants on the development on this project - testing some of the materials with families from Hackney and Liverpool.
Find out more about our role as co-ordinators of the London National Park City Schools network, and our research and consultancy work, on our Community pages.