By Pete Crawford
Director of Learning and Engagement
The Lost Words appeal has really taken off and we are well on the way to reaching our initial target – to put a copy of the Lost Words in every state primary school across East & West Sussex, and Brighton & Hove.
There have been some really generous individual donations. One accompanying letter said how valuable the appeal was – working to “combat the inability to communicate”. We teach our children to speak by naming the objects around them. If we cannot name something, it appears to have less importance, less value.
How easy to dismiss a goldfinch, kingfisher or starling as ‘just a bird’ All these species names and many more are all words that are at danger of falling out of use. If our environment is impoverished by the decline in wildlife around us, so our culture is similarly impoverished by a decline in the appreciation of that wildlife.
It is not all bad – through our Wildlife and Youth Rangers we meet many young people who are passionate about conservation, our nature reserves are sanctuaries for wildlife, ravens are increasingly common in the county once more, the Brighton starling murmurations are celebrated. But these are points of hope against ongoing declines in species, in people who make time and space in their busy lives to connect with nature
The Lost Words is not meant as an elegy for the natural world, but a celebration. More than that, it is meant to kindle the imagination of people young and old, to talk / write / draw / glory in wildlife. We want the Lost Words and many others to become relevant again, for the lost wildlife to return, to become familiar and loved.
I leave the final word to Robert McFarlane, one of the Lost Words co-authors, who has just personally donated to our appeal. “Thank you for running this hopeful and inspiring campaign, planting acorns for our future wildwoods”
If you would like to help us send this book to primary schools in Sussex, please donate here or text LOST61 £10 to 70070 (to donate £10 - change to £5 or £3 to give a different amount.