By Amanda Woodman-Hardy, Communications Officer, University of Bristol
When I was told I would be coordinating all the marketing materials for the University of Bristol stands at the Festival of Nature, I was quite excited. Being a nature lover, I knew the job would fit me well. What I wasn’t prepared for was all the amazing things that our researchers have been working on and will be showing off at this year’s festival. I am really pleased to be involved in helping them to showcase their nature-based research and I hope you all enjoy the experience when you come and visit us.
Here are my top five things to look out for when you visit the University of Bristol tent:
1. Explore how your genes might help you to fight the flu
Who knew that your genetics can determine how well you can fight off the flu? At this stall you will find some biologists and veterinary scientists who will be showing you how your immune system has to keep up with ever-evolving viruses in order to keep your body free from infection. Expect to get involved in a ‘war’ between the viruses and the immune system…who’s going to win?
2. Discover the underground world of roots
Roots. Those long straggly things attached to the bottom of plants. What are they good for? These small structures are actually very clever and extremely vital to life on earth. Visit our biologists at this stand to find out how extraordinary this plant part is and get up close to the root systems to see how they interact with the soil and help bind it together to prevent soil erosion.
3. Learn about Bristol’s hidden river history
Did you know that Bristol has a hidden river running right through the city centre? Nope, neither did I! The Frome River used to flow where the Hippodrome is now, but it became so polluted that we buried it! Join our environmental historians for a hands-on journey around Bristol’s rivers and discover why Bristol’s hidden river history is so important in shaping our lives.
4. Have your say on our uncertain world
At the end of 2015, Paris will be hosting the COP21 – a huge international conference to try to agree a legally binding and universal agreement on climate. The aim will be to keep global warming below 2°C. At our Uncertain World stall, you will meet Cabot Institute scientists who study Earth’s past climate. They know from their research that sea level was much higher in the past when carbon dioxide levels were at similar levels as today. So what’s in store for our world and what are the uncertainties in our future? We will tell you what we know and what we don’t know and we would love to get you to write or draw your feelings and concerns on our uncertainty wall so that we can send a big Bristol message to Paris for the COP21.
5. Hear a family friendly story about climate change
If you do anything at the Festival of Nature this year, please do try and catch the Cabot Institute’s Dr James Norman who will be telling a story about climate change in the Talks Tent at 2.15 pm on the Saturday. This is not your average storyteller, this is a man who is passionate about what he talks about and will use his kids storybooks to ask – are we ever really going to change how we behave? James will take you through an amusing adventure via monsters, story books and kites stuck in trees to try and answer the question “if not now, when?”
The University of Bristol tent will be based in Millennium Square on Bristol Harbourside from Saturday 13 to Sunday 14 June. It’s free to attend our tent and talks. For more information about our tent and activities, visit our website here.
We look forward to seeing you soon!