The Royal Parks looks after the eight historic royal parks (Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Green Park, St James's Park, The Regent's Park, Bushy Park, Richmond Park and Greenwich Park), as well as other important open spaces such as Brompton Cemetery, Victoria Tower Gardens and Canning Green.
Enjoyed by 77 million visitors each year, these are some of London's busiest green spaces, providing unparalleled opportunities to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The Royal Parks are also of huge ecological importance. Home to hundreds of thousands of trees and plants and a wealth of wildlife including rare and important species, the parks play a pivotal role in the biodiversity of the city.
Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, The Royal Parks launched Mission: Invertebrate in 2017 to discover, celebrate, and protect the tiniest inhabitants of the Royal Parks. Comprising over 95% of all known animals, invertebrates such as insects, snails, spiders and worms provide vital ecological services as pollinators, recyclers, and food for birds and small mammals. By making sure the conditions are right for invertebrates to thrive, a wealth of diverse nature can be enriched in these much-loved parks in the long term.
Over the last three years, Mission: Invertebrate has introduced over 11,000 students to the importance of invertebrates at their outdoor school sessions and welcomed 18,000 visitors to their family activity days, providing opportunities to have fun outside while learning about the value of the creatures found in the parks. Over 350 volunteers have got involved in citizen science studies to help protect biodiversity in the parks and beyond, from using ant hills to date precious acid grassland at Richmond and Bushy Park to surveying slug populations in The Regent's Park. The charity's adult learning programme is helping people learn new skills and to play a part in boosting biodiversity in the Capital's greenspaces.
Player support means The Royal Parks can carry out specialist studies into invertebrate populations in the parks. Park teams are using what they learn to protect and enhance existing invertebrate-friendly habitats and create new ones. This includes an acre of wildflower meadow across The Regent's and Richmond Parks, 25,000 pollinator-friendly plants at Hyde Park, floating islands at St James's Park and half an acre of new orchard at Richmond Park.
At a time when the UK's biodiversity is in steep decline, funds raised by our players has enabled The Royal Parks to transform its approach to invertebrate conservation with local action for long term impact to ensure wildlife is thriving across London.