Nature takeover planned for Moss Side

The initiative launches a Manchester-wide drive to tackle climate change
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An eye-catching, interactive “Sensory Structure” has appeared today in Moss Side Community Park, encouraging local people to consider what they want to see, hear, taste, feel and smell as part of a Nature Takeover planned for Moss Side and across the city throughout the year.   

The Nature Takeover aims to bring nature closer to the residents of Moss Side; creating pockets of green and wildlife habitats in unexpected places; transforming disused patches of land and inspiring people through arts, design and creative tech solutions to notice and make the most of nature around them. 

The Nature Takeover is part of a new and innovative programme called “In Our Nature” which aims to trial climate friendly ways of living, and support people to make better lifestyle choices that help the environment and tackle climate change.  

A sensory structure in Moss Side 

The Sensory Structure was created by Playground Design Studio and encourages people to vote on what they want to experience – for example do they want to hear buzzing, tweeting, crunching or flowing water? Do they want to smell citrus, minty, floral or aromatic scents?

And there’s opportunity for residents to suggest their own ideas, too.  

In addition, 500 free plants are being given out today to help local residents make their homes greener and wilder.

Following today’s launch, the installation will be in place until Sunday 18th July for locals to visit, and social enterprise Sow the City will be running free drop-in events and workshops to give residents the opportunity to get in touch with their senses and have their say about what they’d like to see in Moss Side.

The first workshop will be on Saturday 3rd July 10am – 3pm, where you can create your own bird feeder. Use natural materials to keep our feathered friends fed, and start seeing and hearing beautiful native birds in your garden.

The second will be on Tuesday 6th July 3 – 6pm and will be a food tasting. Try delicious fresh produce grown right here in Moss Side and discover how tasty local and seasonal produce can be.

Can Manchester be net zero by 2038?

The Nature Takeover is the first of a number of exciting initiatives launching in Manchester over the coming months as part of the wider In Our Nature programme – Manchester’s largest community climate programme to support households and communities to live more sustainably and help Manchester reach its target to be net zero by 2038.

The programme aims to create a toolkit of tried and tested  initiatives that can be replicated by communities across Manchester and the UK in response to the Climate Emergency.  

The In Our Nature programme will include a city-wide communications campaign giving residents practical tips, hacks and advice to help save money, improve their health, strengthen community cohesion, make life easier and improve the appearances of neighbourhoods and tackle climate change,  

Six climate action groups in Hulme, Moss Side and Rusholme, Newton Heath and Miles Platting, Levenshulme, and the Northern Quarter will be supported to work together to develop and lead projects which respond to the climate emergency.  

And there will be a series of behaviour change projects in communities including the launch of community fridges to tackle food waste, planting Manchester’s first Tiny Forest, a project supporting novice gardeners to make their homes greener and wilder.

Creating greener neighbourhoods

In Our Nature is a collaboration between Manchester City Council, Manchester Climate Change Agency and Partnership, environmental charity Hubbub, Amity CIC, Commonplace and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

It also brings together a coalition of local and national partners including social enterprise Sow the City.  

“Academic research suggests that, as well as improving health and mental wellbeing, exposure to nature makes people more likely to adopt environmentally-friendly behaviours and In Our Nature will test this theory in Manchester,” said Gavin Ellis, co-founder of Hubbub.

“Through the Sensory Structure we’re looking forward to hearing what kind of nature local people in Moss Side want to experience, so we can work with the local community to make it a reality.

“A range of In Our Nature activities across the city over the coming year will help the people of Manchester to come together to create greener, healthier and more connected neighbourhoods.”  

‘Everyone needs to play their part’

Lisa Lingard, resident and community lead at Manchester Climate Change Agency said: “The next five years is critical in getting the city on track to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2025, and everyone needs to play their part.

“We are really excited to kick off this programme – the first ever climate change campaign in Manchester; with the help of everyone in the city we’re aiming to unlock the potential of residents and communities to take meaningful action on climate change and create solutions that can go on to be replicated in other communities across the city.”   

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, executive member for environment said: “We want to ensure that all our residents feel empowered to play their part in tackling climate change, and, however small that contribution might seem, go on to do more.

“Bringing collaborative projects like this into the heart of our communities just highlights the numerous ways in which we can all contribute to a better and greener environment in our own neighbourhood which ultimately will help our overall target of reducing carbon emissions and ensuring our city is zero carbon by 2038.” 

Nick Gardner, head of climate action at The National Lottery Community Fund, added: “The Manchester Climate Change Agency was awarded a development grant from the first round of our Climate Action Fund.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, this innovative project will highlight the importance of creating more green spaces and habitats for wildlife in even the most urban areas.

“We are excited to see how The Nature Takeover’s sensory structure will bring people together in the local area, and encourage lifestyle choices that will show how we can collectively tackle the climate emergency.” 

How to get involved

The programme will be led by local people from every part of the community, including local community groups, education establishments and faith institutions.    

Manchester residents are urged to visit the online hub for more information and to have their say at inournaturemcr.co.uk and follow @InOurNatureMCR on social media to find everyday inspiration, tips, and hacks for greener living in Manchester.  

Residents living in Hulme, Moss Side and Rusholme, Newton Heath and Miles Platting, Levenshulme, and the Northern Quarter are encouraged to express their interest in joining a local climate action group before 23rd July by visiting inournaturemcr.co.uk. 

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