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Hännillä

On fox's tail

A quiet growl, a sudden thump.

Heart skips a beat; can it really be? A little black nose, and a fluffly-tailed rump!

One evening my daughter and I were returning from a café when we saw a mother fox carrying a dead bird, a jackdaw. There must be cubs somewhere, we thought. Perhaps we could get to see them if we are quick and quiet. When you are five, so many paths are still unexplored, and to follow one walked by a fox is extra special. I documented my daughter’s journey tracking the foxes in a historic fortress at the heart of the city where I grew up. In a way it felt like tracing my own footsteps. 

 

Over half of the humankind lives nowadays in urban environments. Built landscapes are the background to children’s encounters with nature. Children experience what is nature, what is it made of, and how it works, in cities. These early experiences shape children’s understanding and expectations to what nature should look like in the future – and their motivation to protect it. Foxes and other species that have the courage and stamina to sustain themselves in built environments are the closest to the wildlife a modern child usually gets. Urban foxes have a role to play in the establishment of sustainable futures, by fostering a child’s sense of inclusion with nature. They show that every path can be an adventure to the natural world, and every encounter spark a bit of magic.