Know Your Tits From Your Woodpeckers?

New educational boards in Richmond Park are there to help you

Twenty three specially painted educational boards are bringing a new lease of life to Richmond, Hyde, Greenwich, St James’s, The Green and The Regent’s Parks and Kensington Gardens.

Designed and painted by London artist Madeleine Smith, the interpretation panels showcase the diverse range of flora and fauna throughout the parks.

Not only do they feature the more commonly seen species such as herons and ducks, but also many which are rarer or nocturnal including bats and hedgehogs.

The Royal Parks support some of the most diverse habitats in London, with 6,319 species recorded across all the parks. Julia Clark, Head of Ecology at The Royal Parks, said:
“This project is helping to bring education right into the heart of the Royal Parks. We welcome about 77 million visitors every year and it would be interesting to know how many of them can spot the different species we have in the parks. This project aims to do just that. It’s the vast number and diverse range of wildlife and plant species that make the parks so special, and the wildlife featured on these new boards is just a tiny selection of what we have to offer.

She continued: “I’m particularly pleased that my favourite species – bats – have made a guest appearance on the boards; not only are they the only mammals that can fly but the tiny pipistrelle bat, which is found in most of our parks, can eat over 3,000 insects every night.”

Alongside the images, the boards also provide a fascinating insight into the facts and figures behind each park’s wildlife, as well as key information for visitors to help protect and conserve the parks, from asking them to take litter home to discouraging them from feeding grey squirrels – recognised as pests which cause extensive damage to trees.

The artist, Madeleine Smith has spent the past year studying and photographing the parks before putting her paint to paper to come up with her colourful creations. Madeleine said:
“The Royal Parks ecology team is doing brilliant work, improving and creating a haven for wildlife in the middle of the city. These habitat panoramas are designed to demonstrate the surprising diversity of wildlife living here alongside millions of visitors.

“Although the images aren’t depicting actual park vistas, they attempt to maintain the essence of the park as well as bringing different habitats and species together into one scene. It’s been such a privilege working with Julia Clark and having my artwork displayed in some of the most famous parks in the world.”

August 27, 2015

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Madeleine Smith with one of the educational boards

Madeleine Smith with one of the educational boards