A RYEDALE nature writer is leading a campaign to get a celebrated wildlife book into every school in the county.

Dr Amy-Jane Beer, from Welburn, wants to get the book ‘The Lost Words’ - by author Robert Macfarlane and illustrator Jackie Morris - into around 476 schools in North and East Yorkshire, York and Hull.

‘The Lost Words’ was written in 2017 in response to news that a host of words describing the natural world - from acorn to otter - were being cut from the Oxford Junior Dictionary as they fall out of the lexicon of young people.

Dr Beer said that it’s essential to help children re-engage with nature. “Losing the language with which we articulate nature is a tragedy,” she said. “We are all wild things. How can we have forgotten?

“Children spending no more than a few minutes of the day outside is a disaster – for their mental and physical health, and ultimately also for the nature they are missing, because how can they appreciate what they don’t know? How can they love what they can’t name?”

The book itself, which Dr Beer describes as an “utterly beautiful thing”, is full of bright illustrations and evocative poems which double as definitions of animals and plants.

The campaign went live on Thursday and will run for five weeks. It is a crowdfunding effort to raise £7,500 to buy copies of the book and accompanying teaching materials. Dr Beer and East Yorkshire storyteller Paddy Hall are being helped in their campaign by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT), Waterstones Hull and a charity called Ready Steady Read, set up to help some of the most deprived children in the region with their reading.

“Our campaign has three pillars,” Dr Beer said. “Wildlife, Words and Wellbeing - or nature, education and health. The three are closely linked.”

For this reason, if the campaign raises more than it needs to put the book into the schools and local nature reserve sites, they will then target GP waiting rooms and hospital wards. The books will then be distributed in the autumn.

For more information and to contribute, go to crowdfunder.co.uk/TLWYorkshire.