26 Fruits

The story’s not over

It’s been a wild time. In a quietly determined way. I only blog these days when I have something special to write about and 26 Wild is just that. It’s become increasingly important to me as it has developed over the course of this strange year.

Back in January I’d approached the Wildlife Trusts to explore whether they might partner the writers’ group 26 on a project about vulnerable wildlife. It seemed a natural companion project to follow last year’s 26 Trees when we’d partnered with the Woodland Trust.

Soon we had a project agreed: the Wildlife Trusts identified 52 UK species threatened with extinction and 26 had writers wanting to be randomly paired with them to be their champions. As it’s a global problem, about the future of the planet, we added four more writers to speak for animals threatened in Europe, Africa/Asia, Australia and New Zealand. 56 writers in total.

The list of endangered species surprised us – so many familiar animals, dear to us from childhood, were on the list. Dormice, water voles, bumble bees, cuckoos, the nightingale, many kinds of butterfly. Surely they could not disappear? Surely we could not allow that to happen? But the disappearances were alarming.

I was paired with the hedgehog. It was a shock to discover the hedgehog’s population decline, from 30 million down to less than 1 million in fifty years.

Like the other writers, I wrote a centena (100 words exactly, with the first three words repeated as the last three). You can read the centena and the essay about hedgehogs here  https://26project.org.uk/26wild/hedgehog/

The writing was just the start of the story. It has led to an extraordinary social media campaign orchestrated by 26’s Lisa Andrews that has included endorsements by leading environmentalists, short films, beautiful identity and Twitter cards by Mark Noad, powerful posters by Harry Pearce of Pentagram and an elegant, emotive  book designed by David Carroll, gathering all the centenas together.

We’re raising the money for the book by crowdfunding. Once the production costs are covered (nearly there) the extra funds will be distributed. We call the book The story’s not over because we’re determined to be optimistic about nature’s recovery. The Wildlife Trusts will gain money to continue their fight for wildlife – and you can get your copy of the book here. https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/26wild Please do.


One Response

  1. Jamie Jauncey says:

    Loved your hedgehog, and many of the others I’ve dipped into so far. This is turning into such a wonderful project, John.

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