Talks Tent at Festival of Nature – Sunday

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Join Festival of Nature for a free, informative and fun afternoon of talks and stories celebrating the world’s most exciting wildlife. Presenters include wildlife celebrities, experts and volunteers from some of the region’s best known and loved organisations. 

All talks are free and work on a first-come, first-served basis so make sure to swing by early to secure your space!

Check back soon for the full list of talks!


11:00 – 11:15: ‘How old is life on Earth?’ – Jakob Vinther, University of Bristol

How old are dinosaurs and life on Earth? This is an interactive explanation of how we can tell time.

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11:30 – 11:45: ‘Parklife, Creating Sustainable Urban Biodiversity’ – Pete Dawson

Pete Dawson gives his thoughts on Bristol’s parks, road verges and other mown green spaces and proposes changes to their management that could greatly improve the cities biodiversity and the wellbeing and mental health of the cities residents while saving the council money.


12:00 – 12:15: ‘The Birds and the Bees‘ – Ferne Corrigan

Ferne has a BSc in Zoology and an MA in wildlife documentary production, she tries to balance television research with children’s presenting. She has had a love of wildife since a young age and wants to share that and encourage a love of wildlife and the outdoors with younger audiences.


12:30 – 12:45: ‘The Biggest Breath’ – Coreen McGuire, University of Bristol

How much breath can you expire in one go? How can we measure this? Why would we want to? And do you think there would be variances in the amount different people can breathe? If so, why?

Measuring our greatest expiration has been facilitated through use of an instrument known as the spirometer. In this talk, I will discuss how we measure lung capacity through spirometry and consider its historical development. This talk will focus particularly on spirometry’s relevance to Bristol and the surrounding areas.


13:00 – 13:15: ‘Helping Bristol Waste Nothing’ – Bristol Waste Engagement Team, Bristol Waste

Bristol Waste Company, who you most likely know from Bristol’s waste and recycling collections and street cleansing, will have their engagement team on hand to shed light on what issues litter poses to our city, green spaces and water ways, the community groups who are making a difference and what families and individuals can do to play their part in keeping the city ship shape and Bristol fashion!


13:30 – 13:45:’There’s something in the air’ – Laura Fogg Rogers, UWE Bristol

 Laura is part of an international team looking at air pollution in cities across Europe. ClairCity is exploring the sources and solutions for Bristol’s air pollution problems. Find out more about the state of the air we breathe, and how ClairCity are crowdsourcing solutions for Bristol’s big dirty secret.


14:00 – 14:15: ‘Why Wetlands Matter’ – Jackie Harris, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust

From bogs to ponds to lakes to oceans, the world is a wet place!  Jackie will take us on a short stroll through the importance of wetlands to people, communities and the natural world.

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14:30 – 14:45: ‘Talking Trees’ – Catherine Brabner-Evans, Woodland Trust

Catherine Brabner-Evans from the Woodland Trust introduces the Talking Trees Bristol campaign. This exciting new public engagement campaign is celebrating our urban forest and promoting a new target to double the existing canopy cover in Bristol by 2050. Urban trees are vital for our health and wellbeing, for wildlife and the environment, but they are under threat.

Jon Clark, CEO of the Forest of Avon Trust explains i-Tree Bristol and how volunteers can help survey and value Bristol’s trees. We all need to work together to protect the trees and woods we have, and to plant more trees for the future.

The ambitious target to double tree cover in the city cannot be reached without public support. Find out how you can get involved in #TalkingTreesBristol


15:00 – 15:15 – Avon Wildlife Trust

CREATING WILDLIFE FRIENDLY GARDENS – a collaborative approach to the creation of a wildlife friendly and sensory garden for the Bradley Stoke MS Therapy Centre.

Come and find out how AWT, Rolls Royce and the MS Therapy Centre have worked together to transform an unused urban space into a haven for wildlife and a tranquil and restorative space for users of the centre. Learn how you too could transform a garden, window box or community space into something special, and you don’t need to be an expert! Rolls Royce graduates with no previous experience of gardening will explain how they developed the design through stakeholder consultation, research and gathering advice from experts. We will discuss plant selection, suitability and the importance of using well-sourced, wildlife-friendly plants with year round interest, for people and pollinators!

The collaborative approach of this project has far exceeded the original expectations of the MS Centre for their outdoor space. If you’re interested in developing a nature-rich community site, or just want to learn about how to make your own garden more wildlife friendly come along! There will also be opportunity to see and buy native, wildlife friendly plants from the Avon Wildlife Trust plant nursery.


15:30 – 15:45: ‘Saving wildlife together – ‘Conservation in Action’ – Tim Bray, Bristol Zoological Society


16:00 – 16:15: ‘Dormice Tyntesfield’s elusive residents’ – Gill Brown, National Trust

Come and learn about the secret life of one of Tyntesfield’s most elusive and charismatic residents in an illustrated talk from Gill Brown, a Tyntesfield Volunteer and licensed dormouse worker.


16:30 – 16:45: ‘Myth Busting in Marine Life’ – Faye Lane, Bristol Aquarium

Did you know that fish are actually pretty smart?! – Stingrays are not actually Steve Irwin hunting monsters and puffer fish don’t just puff up for fun.

There are so many myths out there that just aren’t true, come and learn about some cool things that fish do and don’t do, despite popular belief!!