Grounds For Hope
An army of staff and volunteers "knocked it out of the park" during the Coronation celebrations of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
The Royal Parks (opens in new tab) - a charity formed six years ago and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery - hosted tens of thousands of visitors to Hyde Park, St James's Park, and The Green Park during the historic occasion. People's Postcode Lottery supports The Royal Parks' conservation through a project called Help Nature Thrive to restore and enhance the parks' natural habitats, undertake scientific research, and provide opportunities for visitors to discover nature in the parks.
Volunteers Play Their Part
On Saturday 6th May, Volunteer Rangers from The Royal Parks helped the public navigate the parks at the Coronation screening sites in Hyde Park, The Green Park, and St James's Park. The Volunteer Rangers were a friendly face to those celebrating in the parks and helped visitors make the most of what was a historic day.
Following the main ceremony in Westminster Abbey and Sunday evening concert at Windsor Castle, on Monday The Big Help Out (opens in new tab) saw hundreds of volunteering veterans and newcomers plant a selection of native wildflowers in The Green Park, covering the area of the floral tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Funded by Help Nature Thrive, 3,000 native blue and purple wildflower plugs were planted in a river-like formation to map out where the ancient River Tyburn used to flow through the park. Regular volunteers for The Royal Parks demonstrated the planting process to drop-in volunteers from as far as Dingwall in Scotland, with over 180 participants contributing to the project to bring some colour to The Green Park.
The Royal Parks looks after 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 Brompton Cemetery and Victoria Tower Gardens. In total, 5,000 acres of beautiful green space.
Enjoyed by 77 million visitors each year, these are some of the capital's busiest open areas, 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. People's Postcode Lottery players have to date raised £5.2 Million in funding to Royal Parks.
Thanks to players, The Royal Parks launched Mission: Invertebrate (opens in new tab) in 2017 to discover, celebrate, and protect their tiniest inhabitants. Comprising 95% of all known animals, invertebrates such as insects, snails, spiders and worms provide vital ecological services as pollinators and recyclers, as well as food for birds and small mammals.
Help Nature Thrive
Following on from Mission: Invertebrate, Help Nature Thrive was launched in 2021 to expand the programme to increase biodiversity through conservation projects targeting all plants and animals, and to increase the resilience of the Parks in the face of climate change. Through Mission: Invertebrate and Help Nature Thrive, the Royal Parks has introduced more than 16,000 students to the flora and fauna of the Parks through free school sessions and assemblies, and welcomed more than 30,000 visitors to family roadshows, pop-up events, and community activities.
Player support means The Royal Parks can carry out specialist studies into the species and habitats of the parks. Park teams are using what they learn to protect and enhance existing habitats and create new ones. Mission: Invertebrate included the plantation of an acre of wildflower meadow across 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. The first year of Help Nature Thrive has seen the planting of 4,442 trees and whips, and 143,558 pollinator-friendly bulbs and wildflower plugs.
At a time when the UK's biodiversity is in steep decline, funds raised by People's Postcode Lottery players has enabled The Royal Parks to transform its approach to conservation with local action for long-term impact to ensure wildlife is thriving across London.
And there is no greater supporter of what The Royal Parks are dedicated to than Sir David Attenborough, who celebrated his 97th birthday on Monday.
Sir David recently planted an English oak tree to officially open the Platinum Jubilee Woodland, a new woodland in Richmond Park planted as part of The Queen's Green Canopy initiative, a project supported by the Friends of Richmond Park and players of People's Postcode Lottery. People's Postcode Lottery funding provided some of the young trees, including those that form the hedgerow surrounding the new woodland, and organised a public planting event which brought the local community together to discover more about the natural environment.
The woodland has been planted to celebrate and honour the late Queen Elizabeth II's lifetime of service.
Sir David said, "The late Queen was very fond of The Royal Parks and was a great lover of trees, so this is a fitting tribute to her memory. Its creation also marks the continuing conservation of this protected landscape and the wonderful wildlife within, so that it can be enjoyed by many generations to come."