9 April 2014
Festival will include a series of community events and high-profile talks, including a must-see lecture by Germaine Greer
The Festival of Nature returns this summer and will be bigger, better and wilder than ever, featuring more than 20 events across Bristol and the West of England.
The Festival of Nature Wild Weekend is the UK’s biggest free celebration of the natural world with two days of free interactive activities and live entertainment across Bristol’s Harbourside.
This year’s festival will be the most ambitious and exciting yet, as it expands beyond the Wild Weekend and includes community events across Bristol’s green spaces throughout the summer and a new series of talks.
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 will also include an event in Bath for the first time (7 June) which kicks off a week of activity that culminates in the Festival of Nature Wild Weekend on 14 and 15 June.
Featuring over 100 organisations, the Festival of Nature Wild 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.
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 aliens, 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 also get the chance to meet Mike Dilger from the One Show and Andy Day from Cbeebies in the BBC tent.
Savita Custead, Chief Executive, Bristol Natural History Consortium which organises the festival says:
“After ten years of celebrating the natural world in Bristol, we are really excited to expand and move beyond the Harbourside to reach out into the city and across the West of England to Bath, Chew Valley and South Gloucestershire.
“With a programme running from May to July there really is something for everyone, whether exploring your local patch in our community events programme, joining us for our talks events, or coming along to Festival of Nature Wild Weekend we can’t wait to welcome even more visitors to our events this summer.”
Bath Goes Wild, which takes place in Queen Square, Bath on 7 June, will see local and national environmental organisations including the National Trust, BBC Natural History Unit, Avon Wildlife Trust, RSPB and British Science Association provide incredible hands-on experiences and wild activities in the heart of the Roman city.
The following day (8 June) Chew Valley Lake will come to life as the Festival of Nature and Bristol Water invite people to explore the sights and sounds of the lake and discover an internationally important site for wildlife just minutes from Bristol.
Community events will take place throughout the summer from May to July across Bristol, which will invite the public to explore their local patch and discover wildlife with a programme of exciting events across the city’s green spaces.
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.
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The Festival of Nature is an initiative of the Bristol Natural History Consortium, which is a charitable collaboration between 12 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, Environment Agency, 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, Company of Biologists, 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.