Ignite Futures

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Ignite! helps residents to connect with nature during lockdown

Like many local organisations, Nottingham-based charity Ignite! has had to discover new ways of working during the pandemic. Their involvement in international competition City Nature Challenge is a great example of this.

Megan Shore, Communications Executive, explains ...


Orange tip butterfly
    One of the species observed - an orange tip butterfly

Nottingham was one of ten UK cities to take part in the global City Nature Challenge this year. The competition invites members of the public to record all the urban wildlife they spot over the last weekend in April.

As one of the Nottingham partners for the project, Ignite! was due to deliver a range of events and activities with local schools and youth clubs alongside Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Nottingham City Council and the National Biodiversity Network. We decided to still go ahead with the challenge but refocused our efforts on encouraging people to take part by recording the wildlife they spotted on their daily walk or in their gardens or local allotments instead.

We had an overwhelming response. Out of the ten UK areas that took part, Nottingham was the smallest city, but we held our own, recording the most observations, species and observers per square kilometre! Over 100 observers took part in Nottingham city, recording over 2,700 observations - including up to 673 different species.

It was clear that engaging with nature was something that really resonated with people in Nottingham, particularly in the current circumstances. The challenge also helped emphasise the value of nature as a great learning tool.

Our partnerships on this project were crucial, and this is one of the key things that we’ve been learning throughout the pandemic - the importance of using networks within our city to support one another. It’s shown us how strong these networks are in Nottingham and given us a real sense of pride and optimism for the future.

Ignite! works with schools, youth groups and communities to support the creativity of young people (aged 10-21). Find out more about them here.