Shared Earth is a new series from the BBC Natural History Unit which celebrates the natural world and explores what we can all do to help conserve wildlife and habitats and reduce our footprint on the planet
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Friday 12 October 2007
Dylan Winter helps clean up one of London's most polluted beaches
Richard Mabey and Peter Marren are writing a nationwide chronicle of bug life in the 21st century. As with Richard’s previous books, Birds Britannica and Flora Britannica, this won’t be a natural history field guide. Instead, it will gather together all the ways that the British people interact with invertebrates. They want to hear your stories. Are there unusual names for common insects in your region? Do creepy-crawlies feature in local legends? Are there songs or poems starring your favourite creepy-crawlie?
Beaches of the River Thames
The charity Thames 21 organises regular clean-ups of the River Thames with the aim of making it a better place for people and wildlife. Dylan joined dozens of volunteers and the workers of the Port of London Authority in a muddy battle to remove thousands of plastic shopping bags from the filthiest stretch of the Thames at the southern tip of the Isle of Dogs.
It’s forty years since one of Britain’s most beautiful butterflies was last seen in the Cotswolds. Dylan joined Matthew Oates of the National Trust to meet the Adonis Blue on Rodborough Common and consider the reasons for its reappearance. Climate change, the reintroduction of traditional grazing and a particularly good breeding season in the butterfly’s Wiltshire heartland all seem to have contributed to its success.
The Great Storm
The winds that ripped through southern England on 16th October 1987 may not have been notable in international terms but they had a profound impact on Britain’s woodlands and gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew were devastated, requiring a new round of international collecting trips to replace the damaged species.
Meanwhile, a debate raged amongst those responsible for woodlands. Was it better to clear the destruction, pick up the dead wood and fell the damaged trees or could the forests recover on their own? Dylan searched for answers in Mens Wood in the Low Weald with Tony Whitbread of the Sussex Wildlife Trust.