06 Dec 2011 The importance of parks to people and wildlife
Dr Peter Shepherd recently took part in a series of interviews for a new exhibition at the Brussels Natural History Museum. The interviews are screened as part of a new exhibit at the museum on urban biodiversity. Peter’s contribution to the exhibition is about the wildlife found in urban parks.
Peter said “I was very flattered to be approached by the Museum and delighted to talk about the desire to include wild landscapes and semi-natural habitat in urban park designs. The importance of urban green spaces and parks for our highly urbanised population is more important than ever, and makes a significant contribution to our quality of life. An increasingly important part of that benefit is regular contact with nature, however common or familiar that wildlife might be. This has been a central theme of the philosophy of the urban conservation movement in the UK and Europe for a long time, and many of us in the urban ecology world have been arguing for a greater role for wildlife in parks for the last 25 years. So it really is pleasing to see new park design and the management of existing parks maximising wildlife benefits. It’s equally pleasing to see the importance of wildlife in urban parks being acknowledged in an exhibition like this.”
Before establishing BSG Peter Shepherd worked in urban conservation for 10 years in the City of Nottingham, and completed his PhD thesis on urban vegetation communities in central England, which remains one of the few detailed accounts of urban vegetation in the UK. In his role as urban conservation officer for Notts. Wildlife Trust he was an early member of the Nottingham Urban Wildlife Scheme, managing nature reserves, providing expert input to planning applications in the City, and working to protect key sites and green infrastructure. Peter is also the author of the Plants of Nottingham, an urban flora that brings together 10 years of survey and research on the flora of Nottingham between 1986 and 1996.