Mission: Invertebrate was a five-year project in the Royal Parks, made possible by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The project helped to enrich wildlife in the parks by focusing on invertebrates, creatures which underpin all of the food chains, biodiversity and natural processes in our landscapes. Mission: Invertebrate brought together ecologists, scientists, park management teams and the public to help invertebrates thrive.
Why invertebrates matter
Invertebrates are creatures without a backbone, like insects, spiders and snails – together they account for over 95% of all animals across the world. Invertebrates underpin our populations of birds, small mammals and their predators, the quality of our soils and water bodies, the abundance and variety of plant species and the health of our trees. They are recyclers, pollinators, pest-controllers, sources of food and the cornerstone of biodiversity. You can find out more about invertebrates and their roles in ecosystems of our green spaces here.
Over the five years of Mission: Invertebrate we carried out expert invertebrate research, created and enhanced habitats though more than 100 projects across the parks and created opportunities for people of all ages to learn about invertebrates and why they are so important.
Download our impact report using the links to the right to find out more about the amazing achievements that were possible through the Mission: Invertebrate project with the help of our partners, volunteers and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The project was so successful that it has led to a transformation in how we manage the our landscapes. We discovered through talking to our visitors that access to nature is one of the most important reasons they come to the parks. This year we launched Help Nature Thrive, with thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This project will continue the work that Mission: Invertebrate began, and expand the work to the conservation of all park wildlife.
Our work in the parks
Over the five years of Mission: Invertebrate we conducted 52 expert-led invertebrate surveys to discover more about the creatures living in and visiting the parks – and how best to help their populations to thrive. More than 400 citizen scientists joined us as volunteers to help gather data on invertebrates and their habitats.
We carried out 102 habitat creation, enhancement and restoration projects across the parks, working in partnership with park management teams and specialist contractors. These habitat projects have included:
- Planting new wildflower meadows and pollinator planting areas to provide year-round food for bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects.
- Planting native hedgerows and areas of scrub to extend wildlife superhighways through the parks and food for invertebrates and small birds.
- Creating earth banks and scrapes (areas of bare earth) for solitary bees and wasps and ‘hotels’ for other insects
- Installing protective fencing around rare veteran trees, ensuring they can endure, and provide rich habitats to many hundreds of species of wildlife
- Clearing streams and deepening lakes to improve the habitats of freshwater invertebrates.
- Creating new reed beds and improving existing ones, as well as adding areas of marginal planting.
- Adding areas of marginal planting to and adding new planting to improve the quality of waterbodies for invertebrates and other wildlife
- Creating a Pollinator Garden at Richmond Park demonstrating how to support invertebrates year-round.
- Planting an orchard the size of 8 tennis courts at Richmond Park
In addition to these projects, we worked with our park teams to tailor park management schemes to boost biodiversity and make space for invertebrates. Initiatives like reducing mowing frequency, increasing the proportion of pollinator-friendly plants in our ornamental beds and leaving dead wood in situ all help to provide food and shelter for invertebrates.
Our work with park visitors
Over the five years of Mission: Invertebrate we held 99 family roadshows across the parks, where more than 20,000 people got up-close and personal with invertebrates in the parks. Nearly 8,000 children from 182 schools visited the parks and 48 schools invited Mission: Invertebrate to give assemblies to learn about the importance of invertebrates for biodiversity,
We created 13.6km of self-led walking trails in the central Royal Parks, for visitors to discover more about the parks’ tiniest inhabitants. These trails are available as downloadable maps and on the GoJauntly walking app.
We created more than twenty downloadable learning resources and six ‘how to’ videos for adults and children to discover the world of invertebrates, and to find out how to help invertebrates to thrive in gardens, schools and workplaces.
We worked with a sound artist and students at a local further education college to record the Sounds of the Undergrowth and create soundscapes of the parks.
We ran an annual rare breed conservation grazing trial in The Green Park to find out whether grazing can help to increase biodiversity compared to mowing.
We installed new in interpretation boards to keep our park visitors informed about the amazing habitats and invertebrate biodiversity of our parks.