The Lost Words: inspiring children to "seek, find and speak" nature

’I am Raven’      
            Credit: Robert Macfarlane and Jackie

’I am Raven’ Credit: Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, The Lost Words

The Lost Words  is a book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris that summons the magic of nature to help children find, love and protect the natural world. Thanks to several crowdfunding campaigns, it’s appearing in primary schools across the UK.

’Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children...’

First there was the finding that British primary school children were more at ease naming their favourite Pokémon character than they were at naming a hare, a deer or an oak tree.

Then there were the revisions to a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary: out went everyday nature words like acorn, bluebell and kingfisher, no longer used enough by children to merit inclusion; in came attachment, broadband, voice-mail, reflecting today’s tech-savvy child who is more at home on the internet than they are in the woods.

Fascinated and concerned by these changes, Dr Robert Macfarlane began to wonder about the relationship between childhood and the living world...


The termly Research Horizons email lets you know when the latest issue of the University of Cambridge’s research magazine is available to read online. Enter your name and email address below and select ’Subscribe’ to sign up.

The University of Cambridge will use your name and email address to send you our termly Research Horizons email. We are committed to protecting your personal information and being transparent about what information we hold. Please read our email privacy notice for details.