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Feature - issue #3

Back From The Brink

Words by Alex Morss
Photography by Alex Hyde

What if the biggest barrier to saving our planet is simply that we have stopped noticing nature? A creative approach to conservation, based on research into the link between nature and wellbeing, delves into how much wild connections matter for us.

Surveying the population of little whirlpool ramshorn snails (Anisus vorticulus).

The 5mm snails can only be found in Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve, West Sussex, UK.

The man gushes with invigorating optimism over the phone: “This one has such an emotive, galactic quality,” he enthuses. “And the particles shine like stars in dark water.” We are discussing microscopic snails - one of many obscure, delightful, and almost extinct tiny British animals - and how to save them. James Harding-Morris, a spokesman for England’s £7.7m Back from the Brink conservation project – developed by Natural England and a consortium of conservation charities - has the job of bringing people closer to nature in a bid to make the world fall in love with rarities like this and help save them. And like most of the fascinating and often unknown wildlife that he is working with, barely anyone has heard of the charm to be found in a little whirlpool ramshorn snail.

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