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Liz Bonnin and Mollie King shine a spotlight on the UK’s most endangered species with new National Lottery ‘Habitats of Hope’ exhibition as COP28 commences

1st December 2023

To mark the beginning of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference, award-winning TV presenter and scientist, Liz Bonnin along with radio and TV presenter, Mollie King unveiled ‘Habitats of Hope’, an immersive exhibition at the Horniman Museum and Gardens created by The National Lottery. The new exhibition celebrates the lesser-known UK species that have been saved through the incredible work of projects run by various organisations supported by National Lottery funding.

Every week, National Lottery players raise around £30 million for good causes across the UK and since 1994, The National Lottery Heritage Fund has given almost £2bn to support more than 4,600 land, nature and biodiversity projects. The exhibition highlights seven of these beneficiaries whose inspiring efforts have saved creatures as small as the Narrow-headed Ant at less than 1cm to as large as the Flapper Skate which reaches more than 2.5m.

Each species has been reimagined by artist Georgia Tucker, who specialises in building immersive and sensory experiences that focus on sustainability and social challenges. The ‘Habitats of Hope’ exhibition takes visitors on a journey through four different habitats, exploring the land, sky and sea, where they have a chance to meet some of the rarest creatures in the UK.

At the exhibition, visitors can sit under the Tree of Life and listen to the distinctive croak of the Natterjack Toad, the infamous calling of the Curlew or the hiss of the Smooth Snake. They can colour in the bright hues of the Snowdon Rainbow Beetle, striking blue of the Adonis Butterfly or unmistakable red of the Ladybird Spider. Or they can simply relax and watch the entrancing movements of the elegant White-Tailed Eagle, beloved Great Yellow Bumblebee or the mysterious Serotine Bat. Finally, visitors can read about the UK’s rarest lizard, largest ground beetle or longest sea skate, and why they are so crucial for our future.

The organisations featured in the exhibition include Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, all of whom have received National Lottery funding in the past.

'Habitats of Hope' exhibition by artist Georgia Tucker at the Horniman Museums and Gardens.

Renowned for her work as a science, wildlife and natural history presenter with shows such as Our Changing Planet, Arctic from Above and Secrets of the Jurassic Dinosaurs, Liz Bonnin is passionate about finding new ways to make a difference and educate, where it matters most. Liz was also appointed as President of the Wildlife Trust, one of the beneficiaries showcased in the exhibition which has been supported by National Lottery funding.

Liz Bonnin said, "The 'Habitats of Hope' exhibition celebrates the organisations dedicated to saving our endangered species at this crucial time for wildlife and biodiversity in the UK, while also helping to foster a collective sense of custodianship for our natural heritage. By showcasing the tireless efforts of those who are fighting for nature, this stunning exhibition not only highlights the importance of protecting the incredible wildlife on our doorstep, and how much we need healthy ecosystems to be able to thrive, but it's a testament to what humans can achieve when at our best, inspiring us all to act for nature too.”

Wildlife presenter Liz bonnin at the 'Habitats of Hope' exhibition at the Horniman Museums and Gardens.

Radio and TV presenter, Mollie King, has a long-lived passion for supporting and protecting animals, advocating for various causes, including animal rights and trophy hunting. Along with being the founder of the sustainable fashion brand, Feel Good Feed, Mollie uses her voice to work with conservation charities.

Mollie King said, “The Habitats of Hope’ exhibition is a great opportunity to educate the public on the importance of conservation and how amazing organisations, such as those supported by National Lottery funding, are doing important work for the greater good of various animal species.”

Presenter Mollie King in the 'Habitats of Hope' exhibition at the Horniman Museums and Gardens.

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “In the UK, one in six species are at risk of extinction, from the beloved hedgehog to the lesser- known Narrow-headed Ant. Every species plays a significant role in the natural ecosystem, whether it be pollinating our food crops, reducing flooding, or decomposing and recycling our waste. The ‘Habitats of Hope’ exhibition spotlights the vital work that our nature organisations do in the protecting our unique natural heritage. Through our new 10-year strategy, Heritage 2033, the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be investing even more in helping nature to recover across both rural and urban landscapes, as well as helping more people to enjoy and connect with nature.”

The ‘Habitats of Hope’ exhibition will be open to the public and free to visit from 30th November until 10th December at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill, London. In July, it was awarded £5.7m of National Lottery funding by The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a project to redevelop its historic Natural History Gallery and transform two under-used areas of the gardens into a Nature Explorers Adventure Zone and a Winter Garden.

'Habitats of Hope' exhibition by artist Georgia Tucker at the Horniman Museums and Gardens.