Bigger, Better, Wilder – Festival of Nature returns to Bristol

The Festival of Nature returns on the weekend and will be bigger, better and wilder than ever, featuring a range of exciting events across Bristol.

The centrepiece of the Festival of Nature is the Wild Weekend, the UK’s biggest free celebration of the natural world with two days of free interactive activities and live entertainment across Bristol’s Harbourside on 14 and 15 June.

Featuring over 100 organisations, the weekend gives wildlife-lovers of all ages a unique opportunity to discover and enjoy the natural world in the heart of the city.

With a line-up of hands-on activities, fascinating talks, live entertainment, a market bursting with local produce and much more, the weekend is expected to attract over 12,000 people to Bristol’s Harbourside.

Some exciting new additions to the weekend include the Explorer Dome portable planetarium, Soapbox Science and a specially created wildlife garden, alongside returning favourites including the BBC Natural History Unit, who will be giving visitors the chance to find out if they have what it takes to be a wildlife presenter and North Somerset Butterfly House, who will install their immersive pop-up butterfly garden.

There will also be a chance to learn about bumble bees, discover endangered species, view the sun close up with the Bristol Astronomical Society and At-Bristol and come face-to-face with animals including peregrine falcons and eels.

The new Festival Talks Tent in the Amphitheatre will host a line-up of free speakers throughout the weekend, with topics as diverse as robots vs animals, life on mars and the northern lights and speakers ranging from BBC presenters Monty Halls, Doug Allan and Miranda Krestovnikoff to local experts.

Visitors will get the chance to meet Monkey Planet presenter George McGavin and join Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures’ Andy Day for a dinosaur rap. In the week preceding the Wild Weekend there will be a number of other wildlife events taking place across Bristol, kicking off this Saturday 7 June with Made in Bristol, a chance to meet the makers of some of the BBC’s top wildlife programmes and find out how Bristol became the Hollywood of wildlife filmmaking.

Hosted by award winning wildlife filmmaker Brian Leith, speakers will include the Creative Director of the BBC Natural History Unit Mike Gunton.

As part of the festival the Australian academic and journalist Germaine Greer will present a must-see lecture on the environment, the fate of the planet and her complex love affair with her home country at At-Bristol on 12 June, in partnership with the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

The Festival of Nature will present two evenings of spoken word and poetry performances on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 June featuring leading international writers responding to the impact of climate change. BIOSPHERE: Climate Change and the Planet on Friday and BIOSPHERE: Cimate Change and people on Saturday will feature poets from Jamaica, Canada, Uganda alongside nationally recognised poets from the UK and Bristol favourites, all performing new work and existing pieces at the Watershed.

There will a lunchtime talk by the BBC Natural History Unit’s Liz White on The State of the Sea at the RWA on 12 June, about her career as a filmmaker specialising in underwater direction and her previous work as a scientist on-board ocean-going research ships. Following the talk there will be a guided tour of the RWA’s Power of the Sea exhibition by gallery staff.

Savita Custead, Chief Executive, Bristol Natural History Consortium which organises the festival says: “After ten years of celebrating the natural world in Bristol through the Wild Weekend, we are really excited to diversify our range of events and offer a fantastic range of experiences for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. “With poetry, talks and arts events running across Bristol over the next ten days, there really is something for everyone and the Festival of Nature is all set to be bigger, better and wilder than ever before.”

Community events are taking place throughout the summer across Bristol, which will invite the public to explore their local patch and discover wildlife with a programme of exciting free events across the city’s green spaces, including the Three Brooks BioBlitz in Bradley Stoke on 4 and 5 July.

The majority of events are free to enter, but some may require advance booking so visit www.festivalofnature.org for a full listing and more information.

ENDS

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The 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 current members of Bristol Natural History Consortium are Avon Wildlife Trust, BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Defra, National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, University of Bristol, University of the West of England and Wildscreen.

The Festival of Nature is supported by Bristol Water, IOP Publishing, At-Bristol, Heritage Lottery Fund, Clifton College, Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK Space Agency, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Velopost, Company of Biologists, Royal Society of Chemistry, British Ecological Society, Earth Timber Stone and The Ove Arup Foundation.

The Festival of Nature aims to:

  • Inspire greater engagement with and action for nature through accessible, celebratory public events that attract new audiences and widen participation;
  • Raise awareness of further opportunities to engage with and take action for nature;
  • To recognise and enhance the region’s reputation as a leading centre for conservation, environmental research and public engagement with nature.