Somerset Wildlife Trust, in collaboration with National Trust, Natural England, RSPB, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Exmoor National Park, Blackdown Hills AONB, Mendip Hills AONB, Quantock Hills AONB and Somerset Rural Life Museum, is proud to announce the return of the Somerset Festival of Nature – which aims to celebrate the natural environment here in Somerset.
The event this year comprises two elements – an invite only stakeholder debate held at the Bath and West show on Friday 31st May, followed by a special range of public activities across the weekend (31st May, 1st and 2nd June) provided by the partners. These are for the public to get involved with to experience and enjoy nature, recognise its value in our lives and to nurture a desire and commitment in us all to protect our environment in our everyday lives.
Friday’s event will bring together a distinguished panel of speakers and environmental, farming and conservation luminaries, which will discuss how, in deeply challenging times for the natural environment, we can best secure a positive future for Somerset – as a place where farming, nature, business and communities thrive. The discussion will be chaired by Stephen Moss, author and President of Somerset Wildlife Trust, and the guest panellists will include Tony Juniper CBE, one of the UK’s most outstanding environmental champions and newly appointed Chair of Natural England.
Throughout the weekend participating organisations have come together to offer a varied range of nature-based activities and events for everyone to get involved with across the county. These range from wild foraging, outdoor theatre, camping out under the stars and beach exploring, to photography sessions for those who want to capture their dose of nature in a creative way. Find out more by visiting the website.
Georgia Stokes, newly appointed Chief Executive Officer for Somerset Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re really excited to bring back the festival for a second year, and to an even larger stage with the launch event at the Bath and West Show. Never has it been more important to champion the importance of the natural environment to address some of the urgent issues it faces. We are facing an ongoing reduction in biodiversity, species decline and fragmented green space – all in a melting pot of climate change. While that sounds dire, we can all actually turn this around by really valuing what we have here in Somerset. If more people experience nature and value it, then the more people we have fighting its corner into the future. “It is great to be working in partnership with so many great organisations across the county who all share a common goal. Working together in this way, we can have a significant impact. We hope you get involved with the events taking place across the county and to help experience the value of Somerset’s natural world in all our lives.”
Somerset Festival of Nature was originally conceived as a celebration of Somerset’s natural environment; its enduring and stunning landscapes and seascapes, its vibrant green spaces and inspiring natural places, and all the rich and diverse wildlife that lives in this wonderful county. The Festival is modelled on kindred Festivals across the UK, with the same shared ambition – to find as many ways as possible to put people of all ages back in touch with nature and help us all recognise and appreciate its value in our lives.
Take a look at the full programme of events here and see what you can get involved with in your area.