What’s coming up in 2024

Navdeep and Rangers at Warren Farm

It’s never too late to wish people a Happy New Year, month, week, day, event, hike… I hope 2024 has started off well for all of you in the National Park City Community. 

I have been very privileged to hold the position of Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Park City Foundation for just over a year now. The subject of nature within urban environments is a pressing one, full of challenges, learning and opportunities at so many different levels. The National Park City movement through collective collaboration, support and celebration can make a real difference – together we can shout from the treetops that cities are and should be places of nature. 

 I have lived in London all my life and am embarrassed to say that there are parts of the city that I have never visited. So, I took the opportunity last year to visit as many community led projects and Rangers as I could, to see the inspiring work they are doing to create spaces and opportunities that bring people closer to nature across the Capital each and every week. Three things have stood out for me from those visits: 

  1. Firstly there is so much to do. There is a huge variety of nature-based activities from community gardens to litter picking, to walks and talks, to learning about wildlife, bird-spotting, friends of parks meet-ups, tree walks, mushroom festivals, music, arts and crafts, park runs, orchard education, exhibitions… the list goes on. The diversity and volume of grassroot led activity offers so many people the opportunity to connect with nature. That was evident at the Festival by the Bridge in July at which our Rangers and volunteers came together to run a very full, fun & informative programme of events to celebrate our 4th birthday. 
  2. The commitment, energy and passion of communities and individuals to run events and activities is just phenomenal. The sheer amount of time, imagination and creativity that goes into designing, organizing, promoting and hosting events and projects is astonishing. The #DoLondonDifferently billboard campaign last Summer celebrated your work and dedication and that of grassroots movements right across the City. Whatever your motivation is, thank you for what you are doing – it’s invaluable and inspiring. Just imagine what we can achieve together!  
  3. This isn’t easy. It can be very challenging to find time in otherwise busy lives to focus on community work or volunteer. It is very challenging to secure funding or find practical support to continue this work and it can be hard to remain positive about what you do and motivate others, particularly when your work is not recognized or appreciated. It can also be very dispiriting to see the active and real threats to nature and London’s open and wild spaces alongside the patchwork approach to the adoption of policies and practices to protect the environment. It is against these headwinds that the work, resilience and commitment of grassroots movements, our Ranger community and many of you is even more remarkable and impressive and so obviously necessary.  

This coming year is a very exciting time for us. It sees us support the nominated National Park Cities, including Breda, Cardiff, Chattanooga, Glasgow, Rotterdam and Southampton to join and grow the movement. As we move into 2024, we are also very excited about the imminent launch of our first ever pop-up National Park City Visitors Centre at 109 Fleet Street. This is your space and with your participation and support we can advocate what you and others do and bring together the narrative about urban nature recovery and celebration from across London’s diverse communities. 

I started 2024 with a visit to Warren Farm Nature Reserve with the inspiring Katie and team from the Friends of Warren Farm Group and our fantastic LNPC Rangers Kabir & Chantal. It was humbling and uplifting to see volunteers dedicate so much of their own time and energy to promoting and protecting nature in West London.

I am planning on getting around and talking to many more of you this year and welcome your ideas, stories and contribution. I would also encourage you to pick an event or two from our Community Site in a place that you have never visited and explore the full potential of our amazing National Park City.  

Navdeep

Scroll to Top