Exploring the London Wetland Centre
(The following is a guest post from Oakland-based environmental educator Paul Belz, who develops/teaches natural history classes for children, families and teachers. Check out Paul’s blog for more of his work, and email Bret Love at [email protected] for guest posting info.)
Busy, bustling South London is an astonishing place to find a rich wetland habitat. But that’s precisely what you’ll see at the London Wetland Centre, complete with blue-footed ducks, grey herons, moor hens, swans, swifts, sand martins and much more.
Sir Peter Scott, who founded Britain’s Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in 1947, dreamed of an urban wetland that would be accessible to Londoners and travelers alike. The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Scott and sculptor Kathleen Scott, Sir Peter wrote over 30 books, traveled the world, and was a champion skater and glider pilot. He was one of the co-founders of the World Wide Fund for Nature, which now better known in North American as World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Sir Peter was also celebrated as a wildlife painter, especially of birds. He helped develop the IUCN Red List, an ongoing list of endangered species worldwide, and created the scientific name Necittaras rhombobteryx (“the monster of Ness with the diamond shaped fin”) so the Loch Ness Monster could be included in that collection. The Daily Telegraph later pointed out that this name was an anagram for “Monster hoax by Sir Peter S.”