The Urban Nature Project

Natural History Museum
Project Link


The UK is rich in biodiversity but with 80% of us living in towns and cities – a number only set to rise – there is less and less space for humans and nature to thrive.

Evidence shows that young people are less and less exposed to green spaces, affecting their wellbeing and their desire to protect nature for the future.

The Urban Nature Project aims to galvanise a national movement of people and organisations to take action to protect the UK’s urban biodiversity. It is set to inspire the next generation to love and care for urban wildlife and increase young people’s skills and confidence with working scientifically outdoors.

“Ventures like the Urban Nature Project help the next generation develop the strong connection with nature that is needed to protect it.”

Sir David Attenborough

Seeding a big idea

EET were one of the first funders to pledge a major gift in support of the Urban Nature Project. The Trust’s commitment at such an early stage enabled the Museum to begin scoping and developing the project and their fundraising campaign.

EET’s seed funding gave other funders confidence in the project and the Museum went on to secure major grants from a range of individuals, trusts and foundations including the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“EET has been with us from the very early concept stages – when this was all just a big idea.”

Doug Gurr, Director, Natural History Museum

Learning with evolution

A central part of the project is the radical transformation of the Museum’s five-acres of outdoor space into flagship ‘living galleries’ aimed to illustrate the evolution of life on earth – past, present and future.

The redesigned East Garden will take visitors on a journey into deep time. Geological time is the foundation on which evolution unfolds. However, this immensity far surpasses human understanding and makes it difficult to explain to young audiences. In this new garden, children and their families will learn about the explosion of life in the seas 500 million years ago, and become immersed in a landscape that gradually fills with plants, trees, reptiles, birds and mammals (including humans).

The West Garden will represent a sustainable future in which we can protect the incredible biodiversity around us. The main entrance to the Museum, located between these two gardens, will represent the ‘tipping point’ at which humanity now finds itself.

Nationwide education programme

In autumn 2021 the Museum launched a nationwide schools programme with a network of museum partners, wildlife and community organisations, and schools across the country.

The programme aims to inspire and equip young people with the skills and knowledge to track and monitor the nature closest to home, become local experts and take action through science to make a real difference.

The transformed gardens are due to open in 2024.

Impact at a glance

  • 5 million annual visitors will learn about the evolution of life on Earth and how to protect biodiversity for the future
  • Reach over 20,000 young people over three years with focus on communities most likely to experience barriers to engaging with nature
  • Equip teachers and schools with confidence and tools to teach evolution and other curriculum-linked topics around the theme of urban nature