Heron by Anna Parker

Heron by Anna Parker

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This carving, in Welsh slate, by Anna Parker, celebrates the word ‘Heron’, and was created as part of our exhibition ‘The Lost Words - Forget-me-not.’ For this exhibition artists have created a permanent record of the natural words removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. Size: 29 x 21cm

NOUN: HERON

NOUN

A large fish-eating wading bird with long legs, a long S-shaped neck, and a long pointed bill.

Family Ardeidae (the heron family): several genera and numerous species, e.g. the Old World grey heron (Ardea cinerea). The heron family also includes the bitterns and egrets

 

ORIGIN: Middle English: from Old French, of Germanic Origin.

 

My shock at hearing that the names of birds and plants were to be omitted from the Oxford Junior Dictionary makes me concerned that, as a result, children wouldn't notice if the creatures themselves were gone. 

I hope that there remain enough bird books, plant identifiers and other sources to keep children interested in wildlife and nature. I am saddened to read of the disconnect with nature that is happening in our towns and cities.

I chose 'HERON' as an elegant heron often comes to the pond in our local park. It is a privilege to see it, such a strange- looking bird; it seems of a distant land or even a past world. Herons are often portrayed in Japanese art. They are sometimes associated with the cold of winter. They stand unflinching for a long time or stalk slowly through the water before catching their prey. When these great birds take flight – a grey heron has a wingspan of more than six feet - they utter a cry that is haunting and evocative. It brings to mind the vast and beautiful natural world that is out there, not so far away.

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