River Restoration and Art:

Elly Platt's

Ranger Story

Elly Platt is based in Sutton, London. She has been a Ranger since 2021. Elly’s focus is on river conservation and textile pollution awareness at the River Wandle.

By day, she works as a textile artist, drawing inspiration from the River Wandle’s history and current ecological challenges. Her art addresses issues of textile pollution and fast fashion, using discarded textiles to highlight environmental problems.

Jump down to questions

Inspiration

Greener, healthier, and wilder

Impact: environmental initiatives

LNPC Community gain

Proudest Ranger moment

Ranger challenges

What’s next?!

Staying motivated

Memorable encounter with nature

Tips to ‘Do London Differently’

What could London look like in 2029?

Q1

what inspired you to become a ranger?

I was really looking for a way to be part of a greater group working to improve London’s green spaces. As an artist, working alone can be isolating. Hearing about what others are doing and finding new sources of inspiration has been incredibly motivating for future art projects. Joining the LNPC community provided me with the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and be part of something larger than myself.

Q2

How are you making London greener, healthier, and wilder?

Alongside the nitty-gritty work of litter picking and river cleanups along the Wandle, I am involved in the wider network of urban river guardians. This includes learning how to test water for chemicals to understand the health of London’s rivers. I also run walking and stitching workshops to bring people outdoors while engaging in art. These workshops encourage people to appreciate and interact with nature in creative ways, blending environmental awareness with artistic expression

Q3

What do you think has the single most positive impact of the environmental initiatives you’ve been part of?

One of the most positive impacts is the community’s growing interest in preserving the River Wandle. People who might not have a direct connection with nature are now actively participating in keeping the area clean and free of pollution. By educating them about the river’s history and its ecological importance, they become more inspired to take action. This grassroots involvement is crucial for long-term conservation efforts and helps foster a sense of ownership and pride in local natural spaces.

Q4

What have you gained from being part of the LNPC Community?

Being part of the LNPC community has given me a sense of being part of something bigger. Meeting people from different backgrounds with unique skills and perspectives has been incredibly inspiring. It motivates me to explore and engage with different parts of London. I’ve learned new skills, developed relationships, and gained fresh perspectives on environmental conservation. This network has provided invaluable support and resources for my projects.

Q5

Describe your proudest moment as a ranger

My proudest moments come from knowing my work has the power to sow the seeds of change. Engaging people in conversations about textile overproduction and water pollution through my art allows for a more open dialogue, making the issues more accessible. Seeing someone’s perspective shift or knowing that my work has inspired them to take action is incredibly rewarding. It’s fulfilling to know that my art can have a tangible impact on raising awareness and encouraging environmental stewardship.

Q6

Describe your most challenging moment as a Ranger and how you overcame it

One of the biggest challenges is feeling isolated or powerless when tackling environmental issues alone. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scale of the problems and the influence of large corporations. However, being part of the LNPC network reminds me that I am not alone, which is empowering and helps me keep going. Knowing that others are working towards the same goals and being able to share experiences and strategies with them provides a much-needed sense of solidarity and support.

Q7

What’s next for you as a ranger?

I’ve taken six months off work to focus on all things related to re-wild London and the River Wandle. Upcoming activities include river cleanups and more water testing, which will help me gain new skills and insights into water quality issues. I am also working on art pieces about rewilding London in various ways. These projects aim to highlight the beauty and importance of natural spaces, encouraging others to appreciate and protect them.

Q8

What continues to motivate you on your Ranger journey?

A sense of urgency drives my work, especially with the upcoming election and the heightened awareness of water pollution issues. There’s a window of opportunity to push for governmental action on these matters. Knowing that my efforts can contribute to larger changes keeps me motivated. The passion and commitment of the community around me also provide a constant source of inspiration and energy.

Q9

What has been your most memorable encounter with nature in London?

Seeing a kingfisher almost every other time I walk along the River Wandle is incredibly magical. The abundance of wildlife, such as herons and the once-extinct little egret, showcases the power of community-led conservation efforts. These encounters with nature remind me of the beauty and resilience of the natural world and reinforce my commitment to protecting it. Each sighting of these birds is a reminder of what we stand to lose and what we must strive to preserve.

Q10

How can we encourage more people to ‘Do London Differently’?

People should embrace the untidy, wild spaces in their local areas instead of only frequenting manicured parks. Engaging with these spaces, getting a bit muddy, and exploring nature’s wonders can foster a deeper connection and interest in the natural world. Encouraging curiosity and a sense of adventure can help people appreciate the beauty and importance of these wilder areas. Hosting community events, educational workshops, and hands-on activities can also play a crucial role in fostering this appreciation. By making nature accessible and engaging, we can inspire more people to take an active role in its preservation.

Q11

It’s 2029…as a community, what do you hope LNPC would have achieved by our 10th anniversary? And what might London look like as a result?

I hope for a more formalised network of river guardians, community gardeners, and environmental experts. Ideally, we will have established a robust support system for local conservation efforts, ensuring they are sustainable and impactful. London would look wilder, with beautiful wildflowers and rewilded areas replacing tidily mown lawns and chemically treated spaces. More people would be involved in community-led initiatives, leading to healthier ecosystems and a greater sense of environmental stewardship across the city. Additionally, I envision more public art projects that celebrate and raise awareness about our natural spaces, blending creativity with conservation.

Learn more about the work that Elly Platt is doing on her blog. Discover how her unique blend of art and activism is making a difference.

Find out more about London National Park City and how you can get involved by visiting our About Us page.

                                                 Together, we can make London greener, healthier, and wilder.

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