Bristol Festival of Nature 2012

The annual Festival of Nature is one of the highlights in busy calendar of public engagement events around Bristol, with several tens of thousands of visitors over three days, even when it’s raining! This year was no exception, in either case.

Although we weren’t able to make the School’s Day, traditionally on the Friday before the main weekend, we did have a very busy stand for both Sat & Sun.

Ready to build planets
(l to r) Leonardo Leandro, Miranda Addey (IoP South West Regional Officer) and Beth Cotterell

Sat saw us partnering with the Institute of Physics to ‘Build your own Planet’. Young people were invited to choose between rocky cores, and gas giants to start their very own planet. They were then ‘decorated’ with ice caps, sandy deserts, and fluffy clouds. We also made sure each planet was wrapped in a protective atmosphere (not cosmologically accurate, but the glue wasn’t always dry).

Over the 8 hours of the Festival on Sat we built over 150 Planets!


We changed tack a little on Sun and went with lepidoptery (Butterflies). Everyone was provided with a simple outline to get them started, and a field guide to British Butterfies from the Field Studies Council with over 68 butterflies to choose from.

Some of our fantastic butterflies

Of course, there was also the option of ‘paint your own design’! We had a steady stream of young people (and young a heart) painting their butterflies and adding them to our gallery. Each artist was invited to sign their work so they could collect them once the paint had dried.

We also suggest that they visit the Bee Guardians and Pete with his Big Bug Bag to see more fascinating insects from around Bristol and the world. A couple of hundred butterflies later, we’d had another great festival.

A rare quiet moment captured by Katy Glazer

We had so many paintings that some had to be hung behind the pop-up banners, and we took over some of our neighbours space! You can just see some of them peeking out in Katy’s photo.

Thanks to the Leonardo Leandro, Miranda Addey, Beth Cotterell, Sam Harding, Katy Glazer for helping out on the stand, and to everyone who came for making it a great day.

Thanks especially to Bristol Natural History Consortium for organising everything and making sure we were all well looked after.

Update: After a count of stickers (one to each planet builder and butterfly painter) we constructed 165 planets and 225 paintings!! Explains why we were all so tired and we kept running out of marquee wall to hang the paintings.

1 comment for “Bristol Festival of Nature 2012

  1. Katy
    17 June, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    And many thanks to John for all the time he put into making the stand happen!

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