London Montage

Biodiversity in London and The First National Park – Yellowstone

The National Geographic Traveller Magazine for April/May 2012 caught my eye recently in the dentist’s waiting room with an article relating to Yellowstone Park being the first national park. My thoughts turned to 17 May this year; a London PA Network talk about Biodiversity in London with Valerie Selby, Principal Parks Officer,  Biodiversity & Parks Development at Wandsworth Council.

London has a wealth of open space and habitats for wildlife which we often forget. This year with the London 2012 Culture Festival will present  a great opportunity to showcase London’s green credentials which would not have been possible without the foresight of the pioneers who created the very first national park albeit far across the Pond.

The world’s first national park, Yellowstone,  reaches its 140th birthday this year. Back when it was created in 1872 conservationists would have struggled to imagine that Yellowstone would become the worldwide model – in the US alone there are now 58 national parks.  While Yellowstone is today arguably the icon of protected wilderness areas, it wasn’t always so.  Some native American tribes living in the parklands were thoughtlessly displaced during its creation. Today’s threat to wildlife, however, comes from nature itself. The park sits on a volcano that, according to some predictions, is due one almighty bang in the next century.

Although London’s many parks and gardens are not under threat from a volcanic eruption, I am sure Valerie will be providing tips on protecting these assets with a fascinating insight into how conservationists are working to ensure London continues to plan its diversity and educate us all in how to preserve and co-exist in harmony with the natural wonders all around us.


Anne Marks