Tansy beetle in search of real estate to create lasting eco legacy in York

An artist is searching for a space in the city centre to create a lasting eco art mural, featuring a giant green beetle.

The tansy beetle is a creepy-crawlie jewel in the city of York’s crown. Until recently, this startlingly beautiful insect faced extinction in the UK and our flood-prone river banks were the only place in the country that the species was known to survive.

Now they are thriving along the river Ouse thanks largely to the efforts of local conservationists.

 “Beetles are so often overlooked because they are small. But they are of vital importance for healthy ecosystems everywhere, and their sudden and serious decline throughout Europe is major cause for concern,” says street artist ATM, who specialises in huge paintings of endangered species.

“The Tansy Beetle is such a rare creature, and as one of its only strongholds in Britain is the York area, it would make a perfect subject for a striking and vibrant piece of public art.”

 See more examples of ATM’s street art here: www.atmstreetart.com

The environmental charity ‘New Networks for Nature’ have commissioned the artwork to create a lasting legacy of a major nature conference to be held in York later this year. The conference will feature leading writers, artists, musicians inspired by nature and advocates for wildlife including Chris Packham, the presenter of BBC Springwatch.

For the project to get the green light, the artist needs to find a big blank wall, a prominent end terrace, bridge, warehouse or something similar which could provide a highly visible platform for what he describes as a ‘gorgeous creature’.

“We must do more to protect insects and their habitats and show the world how beautiful and special they are.”

Nature writer and New Networks for Nature organiser, Dr Amy-Jane Beer, feels that it is a great environmental story.

“The tansy beetle is a species of which York can be rightly proud,” she says, “We want this piece of artwork to be a new landmark for York in more ways than one – a celebration of the amazing success of local conservation, and a timely reminder that nature has a rightful place in our city. The work of Tansy Beetle Action Group shows what is possible. Lots of parallels can be drawn with other species and environments.”

 See Amy’s Guardian article here:


Planning permission for such an artwork is not required, as it would be considered to be ‘surface decoration’ although consent by the property owner is a necessity.

Property owners interested in hosting this permanent piece of public artwork should contact Amy-Jane Beer by email info@newnetworksfornature.org.uk or via Twitter where she posts as @AmyJaneBeer for further information.


 The recovery of the tansy beetle is thanks to efforts of the Tansy Beetle Action Group, spearheaded by local conservationists Geoff and Roma Oxford, in collaboration with Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust. Following habitat improvements, including the planning of lots of golden-flowered, aromatic tansy, the beetles began to thrive alongside River Ouse in such numbers that some could be spared to supply a reintroduction effort in the Cambridgeshire fens.

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