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See the natural world brought to life this summer as Festival of Nature expands into Queen Square

The Festival of Nature runs 1-9 June, culminating in the Big Weekend on the Bristol Harbourside

The Festival of Nature has released a packed 2019 programme, which will see the Big Weekend expand into Queen Square, a special series of nature writing events and the launch of a world-first digital festival.

The week-long event culminates at the Festival of Nature Big Weekend (8-9 June), which this year expands from Millennium Square into the green space of Queen Square for the first time, as children and families will be able to get hands on with nature in the heart of the city.

Visitors to the festival will be asked to participate in a celebration of urban green spaces to mark the launch of the Bristol & Bath Parks Foundation, an independent charity which aims to enhance public parks in both cities and raise awareness of the vital role they play.

In a world-first for a science festival, the event will also be hosted online, giving people from all over the globe the chance to navigate their way around the festival and enjoy talks, workshops and screenings thanks to a unique collaboration with the University of Bath using the iVent platform.

Highlights of the of the week include:

  • Nature Writing series (various times, 3-6 June): A brand new series of talks from nature writers, featuring Gardener’s World’s Kate Bradbury, popular science writer Helen Scales, dinosaur expert Michael Benton and a special appearance by local author Zakiya Mckenzie, who has been chosen to be a writer in residence for Forestry England this year.
  • Walk through a hidden garden in Bristol (11am-1pm, 2 June): The 19th century garden of Bishops Knoll is slowly being uncovered after years of neglect, so come and discover the lost ornamental terraced gardens and arboretum with historian Chris Stephens.

The Festival of Nature Big Weekend (8-9 June) includes:

  • Get hands on with Bristol Zoo: Bristol Zoo will give youngsters the chance to hold all sorts of creepy-crawlies from stick insects to cockroaches and to find out about Bear Wood, the Zoo’s exciting plans to introduce brown bears back to Bristol with the Wild Place Project.
  • Meet our feathered friends: Discover the history of bird nesting and the links between birds and dinosaurs with Bristol Museum.
  • Trust in wildlife: Join in with Avon Wildlife Trust to create a new wildlife meadow on site, pick up some wildlife friendly plants for the garden and go on guided nature walks around the city.
  • Hope for sunshine: Have a go on a solar telescope with Bristol’s Astronomical Society as you’ll be able to look out for sunspots and other strange solar phenomena.
  • Water park: Wessex Water are turning Anchor Square into a water park, with exciting games for kids including a chance to have a go at unblocking sewers!
  • Art attack: There’ll be face painting, craft sessions and a huge interactive art installation from Tree Aid, which will highlight that now is the time to act on climate change.
  • Live theatre: Gardeners from the Natural Theatre Company will invite visitors to share stories of the green spaces in the city that are special to them.
  • And much more… With exhibitors ranging from the National Trust and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust to Back from the Brink and The Zoological Society of London, there’s a fantastic array of activities for all the family.

Savita Willmott, chief executive of the Natural History Consortium which organises the festival, said: “We’re breaking new boundaries this year with some really exciting new initiatives that will help to make the 2019 Festival of Nature our best yet.

“Our expansion into Queen Square means that visitors will be able to get hands on with nature with our brilliant exhibitors in one of Bristol’s most beautiful green spaces.

“The launch of the digital festival is truly groundbreaking and we’re thrilled to be able to invite the world to Bristol to share in the wonders of nature through this impressive digital platform.”

The Big Weekend is free of charge, with tickets for all other events and more information can be found at www.festivalofnature.org.uk.

You can follow the festival on Twitter: @FestofNature Facebook: @BristolFON and Instagram: @Festofnature