First target hit in campaign to get The Lost Words into every Suffolk primary school

First target hit in campaign to get The Lost Words into every Suffolk primary school

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s bid to get a copy of The Lost Words, A Spell Book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris into every primary school in the county has hit its target in less than a month after receiving overwhelming public support.
Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Now, as the first books are presented to schools, the Trust is looking to extend the campaign and secure another 100 more books for other learning centres across Suffolk.

Launched on World Book Day, the campaign is part of the Trust’s vision to inspire interest in the natural world and encourage children to make nature part of their everyday life.

The Lost Words was created to celebrate and revive once-common “natural” words – from acorn and wren, to conker and dandelion – excised from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. The book has been described as a "cultural phenomenon" by the Guardian, for the speed with which it and its ideas have taken root in classrooms and homes across Britain since its publication in October.

With acrostic spell-poems designed to be read aloud and breath-taking illustrations, the book captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages.

The Trust has been asking its supporters and members of the public to donate £10 to buy a book for a Suffolk school – with each book including an exclusive, previously unpublished spell by Robert Macfarlane and a beautiful new illustration by Jackie Morris.

Every primary pupil will also receive a special book mark, illustrated with a barn owl feather painted by Jackie Morris.

Everyone who donates to the campaign will be automatically entered into a draw to win the original feather artwork (the winner will be announced at the end of the campaign).

Sara Holman, Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Learning Manager, said: “The response to our campaign so far has been phenomenal. By gifting books to Suffolk 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 Lost Words, which contains so many words and images to inspire young people, is a great starting point and we’re truly delighted and grateful so many people want to be part of that wild journey.”

The campaign, as well as supplying schools with books, will include a programme of Suffolk Wildlife Trust activities (including the chance for children to write their own spell-poems) to cultivate their love of nature far beyond the book’s pages.

At the launch of the campaign, 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. So fast, it echoes the torrenting song of the skylark.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to Suffolk Wildlife Trust for joining with us to help plant these seeds of books. And what a wonderful way to celebrate the work of the wildlife trust in its support of the hush-winged barn owl than to see the release of this barn owl spell into the wild, the first written by Rob since the completion of The Lost Words.”

Robert Macfarlane, added: "The response to The Lost Words and its spells and creatures has been overwhelming and wondrous, from adaptations into theatre, dance and music, through to the way it has taken root in classrooms and children's lives all around the country.

“The power of the reaction speaks in part, I think, of the mix of anxiety and hope that colours our relationship with the natural world in this country at this moment. Jackie and I are thrilled at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s project to get a copy into every primary school in Suffolk, and in this way to bring the language and knowledge of nearby nature back into the stories and vocabularies of the county's children.

“I've written a special Barn Owl 'spell', for one of the county's most iconic birds, to mark both the books and the project."

Suffolk Wildlife Trust will be emailing every primary school about the campaign and is asking them (or any other learning centre who is interested in receiving a book) to get in touch with the Trust to arrange the delivery of their book.