Healthy planet indicator bugs and blubber gloves at UWE Bristol's Festival of Nature display

Issue date: 12 June 2012

Visitors to UWE Bristol's tent at this year's Bristol Festival of Nature will be able to look for indicator bugs, lichens and micro-organisms under the microscope and learn how their presence or absence reveals the health of the environment.

Under the banner Healthy People – Healthy Planet, UWE staff and students are offering a wide range of interactive science and arts activities to school groups on Friday 15 June and family audiences on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 June at Bristol's Harbourside.

Visitors will be able to do some gentle exercises, including step tests, standing jumps, or pedalling on exercise bikes to learn about their bodies and measure their heart rate, pulse or breathing rates. Using exercise bikes will also show how much energy is needed to power appliances.

UWE's activities include:

Forest Food Web - this ever-popular activity will show in an interactive way 'who eats who' in a forest.

Blubber Gloves- visitors can explore why many of the polar animal species have blubber. Participants will use “blubber” gloves to find out how marine mammals stay warm in the icy waters and chilling winds. This workshop run by Di Stone of UWE's Schools and Colleges Partnership Service will use resources developed by explorer Anthony Jinman and Education through Expeditions.

Measuring biodiversity - UWE's associate faculty Hartpury College demonstrates a number of ways of measuring biodiversity to monitor the health of the environment, such as an owl pellet analysis to identify what barn owls have been eating.

Green and Healthy Routes to School – primary school children can use collage, words and images to create a vision of their ideal green and healthy route to school in an activity co-ordinated by Dr Sarah Hills and Rose Bailey from UWE's Institute for Sustainability, Health and Environment.

Recycled Wallets - Film Studies and Media student Agata Frymus will be running a workshop using empty juice cartons and paper to create unique wallets. Chris Price, a Graphic Design student will showcase his Every Bike in Bristol project which collects people's stories about bikes and produces a unique visual record of the shapes, characteristics and variety of bikes in Bristol. To submit a story visit

Tree Woman – PhD student Amy Louise Webber will use street performance to encourage Festival audiences to take part in UWE's science and arts activities and learn about UWE's research.

Meet the Explorers - Dr Darren Reynolds will give a talk in the General Talks Tent on Saturday morning at 11:20 on his worldwide scientific explorations. He will be joined by Nick Jones and Owen King who received funding from the Royal Geographical Society to explore glacial rivers in Iceland and Emiko Phillips and Chris Kidd who have just returned from tropical forest and coral reef survey work off the coast of Cuba.

Living beside the River Frome - UWE's Professor Lindsey McEwen will provide a poster display about her AHRC-funded Multi-Story Eastville project in the Connected Communities Tent, funded by Research Councils UK. This project studies linking local water stories and performance theatre to share the positives or negatives of living beside the River Frome.

Rhythms and Wonder – This exhibit from Owain Jones of the Countryside and Community Research Institute will reveal some of the rich tidal histories and ecologies of Bristol and other aspects of Bristol's water landscapes, to raise awareness of water courses, water processes and water heritage in the city as part of wider developments of sustainability.

UWE's new MA in Wildlife Filmmaking – visitors can find out about this new partnership with the BBC's Natural History Unit.

Editor's notes

Bristol Festival of Nature is one of three major initiatives organised by the Bristol Natural History Consortium, alongside the national Bioblitz and international Communicate Conference. UWE is one of twelve members of the Consortium along with the National Trust, BBC, University of Bristol, Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol City Council, Bristol Zoo Gardens, defra, the Environment Agency, Natural England, World Wildlife Trust and Wildscreen.

The Festival of Nature was voted the best Tourism Event in the Bristol Tourism Awards 2011 and received an Event of the Year Bronze Award in South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2011-12.

For more information visit

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