Richard Scott, one of the UK’s most important urban ecologists, accepted a Senior Fellowship from Liverpool Hope University at today’s Winter Graduation Ceremony in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.
Richard is a specialist in creative conservation and the Director of the National Wildflower Centre at the Eden Project, having overseen the move of the centre from its original home in Liverpool to Cornwall. His career has included 26 years working for the environmental charity Landlife and he is Chair of the UK Urban Ecology Forum and a board member of the Society of Ecological Restoration Europe.
So, what does a person with such an impressive CV and a number of prestigious awards describe themselves and their work?
“I see what I do as a form of activism. Grass roots activity and community cooperation is the real driving force that will lead to changes in our urban environments.
“Nature is about opportunity; great activists are hopeful opportunists who see what can be done with a piece of land and pull people along on that journey. For me, seeing is believing - show people how meadows can be created by a handful of seeds and see the joy that these projects bring.
Richards work has seen him involved in wildflower landscapes with groups such as the Woodland Trust, The National Forest and Wildlife Trust but he is also well known for his work more locally. His work across the Liverpool City Region city can be seen in terms of conservation in the round, with communities, culture and nature coming together to improve the wellbeing of people and their environment.
“Liverpool has a real legacy of public parks being for people in the community that surrounds them, but that had been lost for many in the UK. I believe that conversations about commons and wilding should be about shared spaces, not behind walls with entrance fees.”
Asked what Hope’s graduates can do to make an ecological difference, Richard talks about the joy that can be gained from creating wildflower spaces where they live, from a window basket to being involved with a local community group to improve their local neighbourhood.
“I want students to know that one person can make a difference but also that people working together can create the most joyous of projects. “
For information about one of Richard’s regional projects visit Scouse Flowerhouse.