Festival of Nature

George Cook

From the 5-12 June, the Festival of Nature is back! Hosted by the Natural History Consortium, this is one of the largest celebrations of the natural world in the UK. Over the week, the festival will provide us with loads of engaging ways to enjoy wildlife and nature this spring!

This year the theme of the festival is ‘Nature’s voices’ as we celebrate nature and how it has supported us throughout the pandemic. 

We’ve seen just how important nature, outdoor spaces and parks are during lockdown. We’ve designed this year’s programme to be Covid-19 safe, and accessible to help everyone in Bristol, Bath and beyond connect with nature, visit more places and discover their own power for change as we take action for nature together.
Savita Willmott
Director of The Natural History Consortium who has produced the event since 2003

With coronavirus restrictions still in place for events, the festival that usually takes place in Millennium Square will take place online. Across the week, the festival will release a whole series of engaging, interesting and, of course, nature-based content for the whole family including online live activities, videos, interviews and podcasts.

On a gorgeous sunny morning last week, I was able to be involved in making some of this content myself at Folly Farm, one of Avon Wildlife Trust’s beautiful nature reserves in the Chew Valley with a film crew from the Natural History Consortium. Lots of wildlife was about enjoying the sunshine with swallows swirling above our heads and woodpeckers enthusiastically bouncing across the cloudless sky. I was interviewed by Kitty Macfarlane, a musician and nature lover living in Bristol, and we were filmed whilst exploring the ancient woodlands and meadows of the reserve.

After nearly 15 months of exploring my local patch in Bedminster, it was lovely to be able to finally explore a bit further afield and visit some of Avon Wildlife Trust’s more rural reserves like Folly Farm. The awe-inspiring views over Chew Valley Lake and the Mendip Hills provided a lovely backdrop to the filming. As we enjoyed the view, we were joined on the hilltop by Wensleydale, Stilton, Mozzarella and Halloumi, the four beautiful Exmoor ponies that live at Folly Farm and help mange the grasslands for wildlife.

Swallow

George Cook

Kitty also asked me about photography, one of my hobbies that I was able to do a lot more of over lockdown and how I use photos to engage people with wildlife. For me, photography is a fantastic creative way of engaging with nature. By slowing down and looking for wildlife to photograph you are much more aware of your senses, listening to every rustle in the bushes and eyes whizzing to every movement overhead. Encountering wildlife can be extremely exciting and it is a great feeling if you are able to combine that with the satisfaction of capturing that moment with a photograph. Social media and photography are powerful tools for engaging people with wildlife and showing that no matter where you live, you can find amazing wildlife on your doorstep. You can follow me on Instagram at @georgecuckoo.

If you want to get involved with the Festival of Nature this year, look out for content across all your favourite social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and Facebook by following the hashtag #FestofNature21.

Or you can visit the online hub to find links to the full range of content as it drops at festivalofnature.org.uk.