Wild Spaces In Urban Places

Ele Johnstone & Nazia Sultana

Big City Butterflies, made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery, is inspiring people across London to discover butterflies and moths, connect with nature and their local green spaces. Through project activities, we have been sharing the beauty, diversity and importance of butterflies and moths with as many people as we can with the hope of inspiring action.

Through the course of the project, we have been lucky to collaborate with many incredible community partners. These new collaborations, such as our work with Sustainably Muslim, have provided opportunities to co-create innovative engagement opportunities to reach new audiences.

Sustainably Muslim is a Community Interest Company that empowers Muslims to serve the environment and their communities through events, workshops, volunteering opportunities and Two Billion Strong. Over the summer, we partnered with Sustainably Muslim to hold a series of workshops and a Community Fun Day, with the aim to encourage more Muslims and the local community to learn about the importance of protecting butterflies and moths.

Sustainably Muslim curated and delivered art-based workshops allowing people to learn in a creative way; including cyanotype printing, poetry, journal making, Hapa-Zome and jewellery making. The Big City Butterflies team supported workshops to incorporate short talks about butterflies and moths, a butterfly walk and showed some moths and caterpillars too!

During the Community Fun Day, Sustainably Muslim created an amazing Wild Space in the form of a butterfly and moth bank at the Up Garden in Forest Gate. They inspired the local community to plant 80 plants including: autumn hawkbit, wild marjoram, kidney vetch, oxeye daisy and more! Over 100 people came to support the event and it was brilliant to see the community come together to take action for London’s butterflies and moths.

Nazia Sultana, the founder of Sustainably Muslim said “The collaboration between Sustainably Muslim and Butterfly Conservation was really important because it enabled children, young people and families to better understand the role butterflies and moths play in our ecosystem, and the importance of conserving them. Many attendees were fascinated in learning the names of butterflies they often see during their walks. They had the opportunity to ask questions, and it gave the Big City Butterflies team a chance to debunk some myths such as all moths eat through fabric/clothing.

Wild Spaces in urban settings are incredibly important as they not only allow wildlife to benefit, but also create conversations between the locals, inspiring them to get involved in future projects.”

We will continue to spread the word about Wild Spaces and can’t wait to see just how many pop up around the capital!