Campaigners use litter to create artwork highlighting plight of endangered bird

Without the bird’s-eye view, it might just look like an unsightly pile of rubbish.

But a group of environmentally aware young people in Thamesmead have used litter to make an artwork highlighting the plight of an endangered bird of prey.

The ‘Marsh Harrier’s Shadow’ was created by the Youth Eco Development Council (YEDC), local youngsters passionate about creating change in Thamesmead, in collaboration with artist Miyuki Kasahara, and funded by Peabody and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

YEDC organised a litter pick from around the town and used the 2,500 litres of rubbish they collected to create a silhouette of a flying Marsh Harrier. Resident Dave Cooper captured the development of the artwork from above with a drone camera.

YEDC member Michelle Ndlovu, 17, said: “I have really enjoyed doing something so positive for our community, and it has given me a sense of belonging in Thamesmead.

“I feel more connected to our local environment and know that I have made a difference with my involvement.”

Artist Miyuki Kasahara added: “The Marsh Harrier was once a common sight on marshlands in the UK, including Erith Marsh.

“Our Marsh Harrier is a message of hope, if we commit to a greener and cleaner future, we can help all species to recover.”

After being reintroduced from other regions, the Marsh Harrier population has been slowly and steadily increasing since the 1960s, with the number of breeding pairs in the UK now exceeding 400.

They are still under threat from killing, habitat loss and disturbance from increased recreational use of nesting sites. They are on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Amber List of conservation importance.

According to the RSPB Bexley Group, Marsh Harriers have been spotted locally at Corinthian Manorway Erith, Crayford Marshes, Crossness Marshes, Thamesmead Golf Range and Thames Road Wetland.

Any young people interested in finding out more about YEDC should contact Nadia Kassab at nadia.kassab@peabody.org.uk

Pictured top: The artists with the installation. Inset, seen from a bird’s-eye view


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