Go wild at the Festival of Nature
Press release issued: 7 June 2013
The Bristol Festival of Nature will unleash the city's wild side next weekend [15-16 June] when it returns to the city’s Harbourside to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a vast range of activities, entertainment and experiences. It’s the UK’s largest free natural history event, offering wildlife enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city through a programme of talks, workshops, screenings and stalls from 150 exhibitors.
It’s the UK’s largest free natural history event, offering wildlife enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city through a programme of talks, workshops, screenings and stalls from 150 exhibitors.
The University of Bristol will, for the first time, be hosting three tents to showcase its research and public engagement projects.
Its main University of Bristol research tent, in Millennium Square, will be packed full interactive exhibits which promise to bring the research being undertaken at the University to life, including the opportunity for visitors to become plant doctors, have their DNA extracted and discover the hidden biodiversity of the planet.
Gold glitter will help give a visual illustration of the recent headline-grabbing research into how plants communicate with bees using electric fields; while young scientists will be involving visitors to the festival in a unique experiment which will show how quickly disease can spread, using stickers to symbolise germs.
Bristol’s very own dinosaur - the Thecodontosaurus, affectionately known as Theco – will be recreated in the Bristol Dinosaur tent, located in the Amphitheatre, where Theco's bones will be matched to a life-size jigsaw, plus people can handle real fossils and learn about the life of this amazing creature who lived in Bristol over 200 million years ago
The University is working with Arnolfini to host a Seeds of Change tent next to a temporary community Ballast Seed Garden, also in the Amphitheatre, grown from plants identified as having been brought to Bristol in the ballast holds of sailing vessels when Bristol was a major European port.
Within the Seeds of Change tent, visitors will be invited to make newspaper plant pots and to plant seeds, create an interactive map to chart their own family heritage, learn about where fruit and vegetables come from and discover the micro sounds which plants make.
Mireia Bes, from the University of Bristol’s Centre for Public Engagement, said: “The Festival of Nature is a really good opportunity to bring together researchers and the public to engage, discuss and experience the research that is taking place at the University of Bristol.
“Our main tent has seven diverse exhibits which promise to help visitors discover some of nature’s secrets. This world-leading research is taking place right here in Bristol and we’re excited to share it in such a hands on way, giving people the chance to carry out their own experiments and learn more about the fascinating research taking place on their doorstep.”
Pupils from across the South West will enjoy a special day just for schools on Friday [14 June], then the public are welcome between 10am and 6pm on Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Entry is free.
The Festival of Nature is now in its 10th year and has attracted tens of thousands of people since it began, helping to ensure Bristol’s worldwide reputation for natural history communication.
It was named ‘Tourism Event of the Year 2011’ in the Bristol Tourism and Hospitality Industry Awards 2011, and was awarded Bronze in the Tourism Event of the Year category at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2011-2012.
For further information, please see the Festival of Nature website or follow @BristolFON on Twitter for updates.
The Bristol Festival of Nature is an initiative of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, which is a charitable collaboration between 11 of the biggest natural history organisations in the city, and it is the strength of this partnership that has helped the festival to flourish for the past decade.
The festival is an initiative of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, a charitable collaboration between: Avon Wildlife Trust, BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Defra, Environment Agency, National Trust, University of Bristol, University of the West of England and Wildscreen. The festival is supported by British Ecological Society, Bristol Water, IOP Publishing, At-Bristol, Clifton College, Space Engineering Services and Company of Biologists.
In 2013 the Festival of Nature is part of the British Ecological Society’s centenary Festival of Ecology, held from 15 June to 4 August 2013. The BES will be working in partnership with over 60 organisations celebrating the science of ecology through public events for adults, schools and families.
The Festival of Nature is part of Bristol’s BIG Green Week Festival (15-23 June), the UK's annual festival of environmental ideas, art and culture.