Objects, artefacts, collections and Natural Heritage

We have talked a lot about artefacts and objects however there is a part of heritage that is called Natural Heritage.

Unesco’s definition is: Natural heritage refers to natural features, geological and physiographical formations and delineated areas that constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants and natural sites of value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty. It includes private and publically protected natural areas, zoos, aquaria and botanical gardens, natural habitat, marine ecosystems, sanctuaries, reservoirs etc.

UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2009 UNESCO Framework for Cultural Statistics and UNESCO, Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972.

There are many areas in and around the UK that have very specific landscapes that support species.

Some examples are:

– chalk grasslands in the Chilterns

– seagrasses in the Solent

– landscapes with a high metal content in Cornwall

Watch the CCC clip about their natural heritage project. If these landscapes and marine habitats are not protected and known about by local communities, if there is a disconnect between people and their local landscapes then the species that live in these specific habitats become threatened. Awareness and management of invasive species alongside protection of the unique habitats can help threatened species to thrive.

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If you are interested in learning more about invasive species, you can read about some of them on the Canal and River Trusts’ rogue gallery. There are also landscapes which are protected as heritage assets because they connect to stories about how life was organised in the past. In the North West we have mills and canals which tell us about the industrial heritage of the UK. Sometimes they are repurposed, sometimes they are places to visit and find out about the past (for example Quarry Bank Mill), sometimes they are places where the landscape that surrounds them contributes to the enjoyment and wellbeing of communities (for example canal towpaths).

Discuss natural landscapes with a friend or family member.

Can you think of a natural landscape you have visited in your life? Can you talk to someone else about it? What was it that you enjoyed about that natural landscape and how much did you know or learn about the nature there? (This can be implicit learning not formal learning.) Ask someone else about a natural landscape they enjoy visiting? Is it near any historical buildings or structures? Ask them what makes them feel connected to that place? Was their an life experience that happened there (e.g. picnics as a family/child, a place they walked with a member of their family)?

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