The Royal Parks is the charity that operates and fundraises for 5,000 acres of royal parkland across London. The charity celebrates heritage, promotes health and wellbeing, and protects nature. The Royal Parks provides 77 million annual visitors with treasured green spaces to explore, value, and enjoy – now and in the future.
But it's not just human visitors that benefit - The Royal Parks play a key role in conservation. They do this by connecting the capital's wildlife corridors as habitat havens for over 4,100 animal and plant species. This year, thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, The Royal Parks has been able to launch Mission: Invertebrate to inspire people with the amazing story of nature's unsung workforce.
Approximately 95% of all known species of animals are invertebrates, vital for a healthy city-wide ecology. Vertebrates such as mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians all have a backbone - whereas invertebrates such as butterflies, slugs, worms, and spiders don't.
These 'minibeasts' are incredibly complex and interesting creatures. Invertebrates pollinate plants, help break down and recycle organic material, and provide an important food source for lots of other animals. The planet would struggle to survive without the services they provide.
Mission: Invertebrate has been made possible thanks to £600,000 in funding from players of People's Postcode Lottery. These funds support school sessions, family activity days throughout the school holidays, and exciting citizen science projects where members of the public get the chance to get involved in hands-on bug discovery.
This support has also enabled global ecological research contributions and park landscape improvements to the grassland habitats to ensure invertebrate biodiversity. You can find more information about Mission: Invertebrate on the Royal Parks website.
This summer, you might catch a glimpse of a giant snail sliding through the parks offering the opportunity for children to get closer to nature and learn more about the miniature world of invertebrates.
The Giant Snail Tour will be bringing creative family activity days to The Royal Parks, with interactive story telling, bug trails, creative crafting, and invertebrate missions galore. Check out the dates and locations of the Giant Snail Tour.
Dr Alice Laughton, Mission: Invertebrate Project Manager, said, "We're really excited to be welcoming our newest resident during the summer as our giant snail goes on tour across all our parks, and we hope children and their families come out of their shell to learn more about invertebrates."
The millions of creatures under our feet and in the air have fascinating stories to tell. These will be colourfully brought to life throughout the school holidays at free events taking place across all of the royal parks.