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Festival Highlights Announced!

What Will You Discover?

The anticipation is over and Festival of Nature 2017 has been launched! We’re very excited to share the highlights that you can expect at this year’s Festival…

It kicks off on Thursday, June 8th, and runs until Sunday, June 25th, starting in Bristol before it winds down the River Avon through Keynsham and into Bath, uncovering secret wildlife spots along the way.

This year’s festival will take on a prehistoric twist with a host of dinosaur fossils and skeletons making a special trip to Bristol as part of the two-week long event. The Bristol Dinosaur Project will be at the festival to tell the story of the city’s very own dinosaur, which was the fourth species of dinosaur to have ever been discovered. Called Thecodontosaurus, or Theco, its remains were uncovered in a quarry in Durdham Down in 1834 and it offers an important insight into the evolution of early dinosaurs into giant plant-consuming creatures. Bristol Zoo will also be at the festival with a wide range of hands-on dinosaur activities.

Bristol and Bath’s waterscapes are an important feature of the Festival of Nature and visitors will be able to learn all about stories of the River Avon via a ‘cinema in a campervan’ which will follow the festival down the River Avon. Fondly known as Lionel, the VW T25 campervan is decorated as an imaginary spaceship and festival-goers are invited to step on board and enjoy this unique cinema-going experience.

Other festival highlights to have been confirmed is an appearance from the Bristol Astronomical Society who will have a range of specialist solar telescopes which allow people to safely view the sun on a clear day. People may be able to see sunspots, dark patches that appear from time to time on the sun’s surface, and even small solar flares.

A project to promote the Severn Beach Line will also be there, showing visitors how this scenic railway line offers an easy way to get out of the city into nature. There will be family-friendly activities along the line and on the train itself to inspire everyone to get outside and explore.

We’re running our first Bath-based BioBlitz which will take place at the National Trust’s Bushey Norwood site on 23rd and 24th June and we hope to find 1,000 different species in 24 hours.

The BBC Natural History Unit celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2017 and will be with us offering visitors the chance to try out camera equipment, meet wildlife presenters and find out about the history and technology changes in the industry.

Savita Custead, festival director, said:

“The Festival of Nature is a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to see our city and waterscapes in a different way and better understand the natural world which surrounds us. It’s about informing and educating, inspiring people to take action for nature and, most importantly, having fun.

“People can get practical ideas on how they can get more involved in looking after our region’s wildlife, whether that’s protecting water voles in Lawrence Weston or having their say on tackling air pollution in Bristol.

“There are so many interactive activities to take part in and we are particularly excited to be able to bring dinosaur exhibits to the festival which will attract any budding palaeontologists out there.”

The main Bristol celebration will be over the weekend of 10th and 11th June followed by a Keynsham event on 18th June, before culminating in Bath for the festival finale on 24th and 25th June.

A full festival programme will be released later this month and make sure you sign up to the Festival of Nature newsletter to keep up to date with all of the festival news and updates.

All events are free to enter, but some may require advance booking so make sure to look at our full listings here, or sign up for the Festival of Nature Newsletter. You can also follow the festival on Twitter: @FestofNature and on Facebook: @BristolFON.