Crowdfunder campaign to get wildlife words in Lambeth schools

23 April 2018

Written by: Sean Gibson, 'The Lost Words' campaigner

Better schools - Children and young people - Culture and community

Making sure primary school children know the names of wild animals, birds, trees and flowers in Britain helps teach them to value and protect the environment. A local couple are planning to get a nature book into all schools.

The lost words - a book about the names of birds, animals and wild flowers in the UK and how they are disappearing from children's vocabularies

Lost words

Over the last few years, the Oxford Junior Dictionary has been removing words such as conker, bramble and acorn, along with many others which are  used less and less as life gets more urban.

Words and pictures

West Norwood resident Sean Gibson hopes to raise crowdfunded donations to get ‘the Lost Words’ – Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris’s book of pictures and words about wildlife – into Lambeth’s primary schools. (Book cover shown above)

Books in real life

The inspiration for the book and the campaign are closely related. What does taking ‘kingfisher’ out of the dictionary tell children about caring for the environment? Painter Jackie Morris says: “How can we teach children that bluebells are important, that acorns have value, if the words are not important enough to be in the dictionary?” Sean Gibson agrees: “If we forget these words, will we care enough to conserve and protect the natural beauty they represent?”

Countrywide campaign

Parents, teachers and others who care about the message of keeping alive the names of things that need protection have already run crowdfunding campaigns to get the book into schools – including some in less urban areas such as Jane Beaton in Scotland and the Yellow Lighted Bookshop campaign in Gloucestershire.

Saving the words

The campaign covers Wandsworth as well as Lambeth. Sean says: “I live in Lambeth and my partner has taught in Wandsworth schools for the past 17 years, so both are very important to me!  There are, by my count, 115 local authority primary schools across the two boroughs, so this project will be fully funded if at least £2,500 is pledged by 9:30pm 1st May 2018.”


For more information

  • To donate or read more about the campaign, see the crowdfunding page or follow the campaign on Twitter
  • To find out more about the book The Lost Words, go to Jackie Morris and Robert MacFarlane’s blog page
  • For the story of UK-wide crowdfunding to get The Lost Words into schools see the campaign’s information pages
  • Crowdfunder is a community of over 600,000 people funding the change they want to see – business ideas, charities, community groups, sports clubs and much more,with people empowered to turn ideas into reality. Find out more about Crowdfund Lambeth.
  • If you have any questions about crowdfunding in Lambeth please email Lambeth Council’s  Engagement and Consultation Team at crowdfunding@lambeth.gov.uk.

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