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Book aims to inspire a love of the natural world in county’s children

PUBLISHED: 14:00 05 March 2018

One of the illustrations in The Lost Words - capturing the countryside words lost to today's children. Picture: SUPPLIED BY SWT

One of the illustrations in The Lost Words - capturing the countryside words lost to today's children. Picture: SUPPLIED BY SWT

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Schools across Suffolk are being encouraged to join a campaign to infuse youngsters with a love of the natural world through a new book aiming to bring wildness into children’s everyday lives.

Co-author and illustrator of The Lost Words, Jackie Morris. Picture: JAY ARMSTRONG Co-author and illustrator of The Lost Words, Jackie Morris. Picture: JAY ARMSTRONG

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) wants to see 250 schools have copies of The Lost Words, which contains exclusive-to-Suffolk writing and illustrations.

The book was created to celebrate and revive once-common “natural” words – such as acorn, wren, bluebell, cygnet, heron, pasture, otter, conker and dandelion – removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary because the publishers wanted the reference work to remain “relevant and beneficial”.

Written and illustrated by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, The Lost Words features acrostic spell-poems designed to be read aloud and hand-painted illustrations, the book captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.

SWT is asking its supporters and members of the public to donate £10 to buy a book for a Suffolk school. Every primary school pupil will also receive a special book mark, illustrated with a barn owl feather painted by Jackie Morris.

Author Robert Macfarlane. Picture: ROSAMUND MACFARLANE Author Robert Macfarlane. Picture: ROSAMUND MACFARLANE

Sara Holman, SWT learning manager, said: “The Lost Words is a truly beautiful book, containing words and images to inspire young people to seek out and enjoy wild spaces close to them.

“By gifting books to Suffolk’s primary schools, we want to bring wildness into the classroom and encourage even more young people to make nature – and the wonders that it holds – part of their everyday life.”

The campaign, as well as supplying schools with books, will include a programme of SWT activities to cultivate their love of nature.

Jackie Morris described the books as seeds that could help “rewild the child.”

She added: “To see our book finding its way so fast into schools, bringing that wild focus into the classroom, growing across the artificial limitations of the school curriculum to cover so many subjects is an utter delight.”

Robert Macfarlane has written a special Barn Owl “spell”, for one of the county’s most iconic birds, to mark both the books and the project. He was thrilled with SWT’s project which he hoped would “bring the language and knowledge of nearby nature back into the stories and vocabularies of the county’s children”.

To support the campaign visit www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org

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