2022 – what a year!

And just like that, 2022 draws to a close! What a year it’s been. In a time of experimenting with new events formats, alongside a return to familiar in-person activities, it’s been a very exciting past 12 months for the charity.

For The Natural History Consortium (NHC), our 19th year saw a move away from primarily digital adaptations due to Covid and welcomed a return to face-to-face events across our programmes.

However, reflecting on the success and popularity of online events in 2020-21 and recognising their benefits to many people, the team and partners continued to explore digital and hybrid approaches across the year alongside live productions.

For many organisations and individuals working to support the recovery of the natural world, 2022 presented a number of significant challenges, meaning new priorities, adapted messaging and stronger collaborative efforts than ever-before.

A HUGE thank you to our brilliant partners, volunteers, exhibitors, delegates, participants and everyone who was involved in some way with our programmes in 2022 – you played a part in connecting people with the natural world and for that we (and the planet!) are extremely grateful.

Here’s what happened in 2022…

‘Top Innovator’ status

In February 2022 we were delighted that The Natural History Consortium was awarded ‘Top Innovator’ status by the World Economic Forum’s Uplink programme following an international challenge focused on biodiversity in cities.

City Nature Challenge (April 2022)

During this year’s City Nature Challenge in the Bristol and Bath City Region, we:

  • Scored 1st place for the highest number of registered observers taking part
  • Recorded 1,290 different species, making 2nd place in the UK leader board
  • Recorded 7,989 observations, making 2nd place in the UK leader board
  • Ran 11 West of England hubs in parks and green spaces, engaging 648 people with nature recording

Nationally, we supported 14 UK cities in using iNaturalist to make a total of 57,077 wildlife observations across the challenge.

Festival of Nature (June 2022)

This year’s Festival of Nature saw a return to in-person activities in the West of England region across 10 days, alongside a programme of digital events. We kicked off this year’s festival with an ‘Actions for Nature Day’ and held a Family Nature Party on the first weekend with over 2000 attendees.

  • 76% of attendees said going to a Festival of Nature event inspired them to take action for nature
  • 95 events took place including 25 NHC staff led and 70 partner led sessions
  • 100+ delivery partners were involved in this year’s festival
  • 30% of events in this year’s festival focused on the value of Green Social Prescribing (27 sessions)

Overstory (August 2022)

Overstory consisted of a 12 day public exhibition in Bristol’s bustling Broadmead shopping centre, including 7 days of on-the-ground engagement activities, highlighting the values of trees, forests and woodlands.

This project brought together art and the natural world and was selected as the headline commission for the Bristol City Council City Centre and High Streets Recovery and Renewal programme.

  • 200,000 people passed under the Overstory artwork in Broadmead Shopping Quarter
  • 5000+ people engaged with activities on the high street and inside the shopping centre
  • 25 different organisations and groups were involved in the project

Communicate conference 

Communicate conference expanded this year with a ‘Beyond COP26’ event in January followed by the main conference in Autumn 2022.

Beyond COP26: The Conversations (January 2022)

This unique event brought together communication professionals from across the UK to discuss and share how the environmental communication community will translate international declarations into local action and national programmes as a result of COP26. 61 organisations took part in 6 themed roundtable sessions during this mini conference.

Communicate: Amplifying Awareness, Focusing Action (November 2022)

This year’s Communicate saw a return to live events ad a packed two-day digital programme. The main conference took place online with 617 delegates attending. In-person workshops days were held alongside the main conference for 74 (London) and 118 (Bristol) delegates. Expanding to London, the Consortium was able to reach new audiences and perspectives.

  • 809 individuals attended Communicate conference 2022, including 17 freelancers and representatives from 235 organisations
  • 14 different sectors were represented across the event
  • The 2022 programme offered 53 unique sessions with 90 speakers and chairs

Team and volunteers 

Over the year, NHC team was joined by 50 amazing volunteers, supporting the activities of a range of expanding public programmes. Many volunteers were involved in multiple events, developing their skills and valuable connections further.

The NHC core team expanded significantly in 2022 with some exciting new roles, building even more opportunities for meaningful project work next year.

… See you in 2023!