I was joined by Poet Sarah Hymas and writer and conservationist Laurence Rose for a discussion chaired by Alice Booth at the Gregson, following a Chirp & Dirft walk and workshop at Leighton Moss in January 2019. Fresh from watching thousands off starlings murmurating in beautiful flocks at sunset, we settled to each give a short presentation about how we connect nature, ecology and art through our work.

Each on of us is passionate about connecting people more closely with nature, to foster a sense of care and belonging. The more we connect with our environment, the more we feel part of it, and thus wish to care and protect it. This topic is all the more pertinent when facing the prospect of the sixth mass extinction and forecasts of extreme shifts in our ecosystem due to impending climate breakdown.


It was a very lively event, with many interesting questions from the audience.

Laurence made a very interesting point – outlined below :

” Recent academic research led by University of Derby has identified five “pathways to nature connection”.  A striking statistic coming from the research is that nature connectedness explains 69% of ecological behaviour while nature knowledge explains 2%.  What this suggests is that engaging people through emotions, compassion, creativity etc. is more effective that telling them facts.  This potentially puts artists in a key position to change attitudes, but how many see this as their role? ”

Photos by Darren Andrews. Header photo – artist books by Sarah Hymas


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