We will miss Daniel Greenwood, who has taken up a new post as manager of the South Downs National Park volunteer service. He is well-qualified for this role, having doubled the number of volunteers for the London Wildlife Trust work at Sydenham Hill Wood from the 500 he had built up between 2012-15 to the 1000 recorded today. These volunteers have helped with the Ambrook project and the on-going Great North Wood project. We will also miss him because he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into being involved in the Dulwich Society, Friends of Dulwich Park, the Peckham Society and others. He has served on the Dulwich Society’s Wildlife committee where his keen observation and great photographic skills have recorded many unusual sightings of flora and fauna in Dulwich Woods. Even as we talked, he removed a bee from the path where I was about to tread on it, and transferred it between his fingers to a welcoming flower bed.

This involvement in local activities possibly stems from the fact that he grew up in Dulwich, went to local schools, had a trial for Dulwich Hamlet FC, skateboarded down Burbage Road and chatted up JAGS girls in Dulwich Park! Surprisingly, his interest after leaving school was not so much in wildlife as in literature. He graduated from Liverpool University with a degree in Creative Writing (his second book of poems is about to be published) and then went on to take a Master’s in Film Studies at Kings. Disillusioned with the prospects in film-making he volunteered to assist the LWT at Sydenham Hill Wood where his interest and curiosity in wildlife, coupled with a desire to work in the open air led to his appointment with the Trust

Although he is heading for Britain’s newest and largest National Park, he retains a keen interest in the future pf Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Woods. With regard to the woods, he is concerned about the need to strike a balance between allowing the flora and fauna to grow and the fact that people want to visit. The impact of as many as 500 visitors to the woods on any Sunday is considerable as people and dogs disturb the wildlife., yet Daniel acknowledges the benefits walking in the woods can bring to the well-being of these visitors.

We wish him well in his new post.

The Language of Leaves
Let’s learn not to speak the language of nations but the language of leaves
of hornbeam, beech and acacia.
We have written nations into the speedwell and plantain of our footways, inflated violets
to match the smiley faces of our waistlines.
I’ll speak the language of leaves because language is formed by the landscape and the landscape is formed by we.

(Daniel Greenwood 2014)