Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris got together to create this book, ‘The Lost Words: a spell-book’, published in 2017, in response to lots of nature words being dropped from the latest edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary. The words included acorn, adder, bluebell, buttercup, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, lark, newt, otter, wren and willow. The words taking their places in the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail. To many, this signalled the widening gap between children and the natural world.
The aim is to get a copy of this book to all London schools in order to try to close this gap. In the words of the Guardian, it is ‘a cultural phenomenon’, and what Chris Packham has called ‘a revolution’. Communities and individuals have raised over £60,000 to achieve this, starting with a campaign for the whole of Scotland (more than 2500 primary schools). Now, copies of the book are being delivered by bicycle (one man cycling 400 miles back and forth across Dorset), by sea kayak to outlying island schools, or in the company of barn and tawny owls (brought into schools by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust).
Tress for Cities have set up a crowdfunder page which has already helped deliver ‘The Lost Words’ to schools in Haringey, Lambeth and Wandsworth. Now, we want to bring the magical book to the rest of London’s maintained primary and special schools. If you want to support this, please visit the link below: