New green initiatives launched as Festival of Nature takes centre stage in Green Capital year

Issue date: 12 June 2015

The UWE Bristol Heathy University stand at the Festival of Nature

13-14 June 2015, Bristol Harbourside

Two major new green initiatives are being launched at this year's Festival of Nature Wild Weekend to celebrate Bristol's year as European Green Capital.

The new Bristol Parkhive app will be unveiled by UWE Bristol and the Bristol Parks Forum, to encourage Bristol visitors and locals to find and explore green spaces throughout the city. Bristol Water will be showcasing their new water fountain in Millennium Square as well as installing a new water turbine which will demonstrate not only how altering the water pressure in our pipes can generate electricity, but how it can also reduce leakage.

The two new initiatives will form part of the annual Festival of Nature Wild Weekend which is expected to attract over 10,000 people to Bristol's Harbourside and will feature a line-up of hands-on activities, live entertainment, a market bursting with local produce and much more.

The Bristol Parkhive app has been developed by UWE Bristol and Bristol Parks Forum volunteers alongside Calvium, the award-winning Bristol-based app building company, to not only showcase Bristol's parks and green spaces, but to actively enable Bristol visitors and locals to find and explore them within the city.

Through the use of the App, the user will be able to find out more about local walking routes, features, wildlife and much more about the outdoor spaces in their local areas. They will also be able to view and upload photos of local parks and thousands of people have already done that, so the app is packed with great content even before launch. One of the key elements of the app is that it enables people to search for parks which match specific characteristic, for example a space with a play area or nature reserve.

Sam Thomson, Director of Civic and Cultural Engagement, UWE Bristol says, “Bristol is blessed with an abundance of beautiful green spaces, but often people are unaware of them or not using them to their full potential and this app aims to help change that. Only five years ago more than 60 of our green spaces were threatened with 'disposal', often due to what was described as a lack of use. By creating a database of all of our parks, making them really visible and showing them at their best through a photo gallery, we hope to encourage their use and protect them for future generations.

“We've already had numerous enquiries from other local authorities who are eager to develop something similar, as people can see that it really is a valuable tool that could have a lasting impact on urban green spaces.”

Over at the UWE Bristol tent, there will be a range of interactive activities for visitors of all ages. Highlights include:

Bug Booth, Your Green City, Avalon Marshes, Hydrocitizenship Project and Robots vs Animals

If your interest is in biosciences and health come to our Bug Booth with bioluminescent bacteria or do some exercises on specially designed bikes. If your thing is environment and sustainability, you'd love activities, such as Your Green City, Avalon Marshes and Hydrocitizenship Project exploring our relationship to water and how it is important to our sense of self and identity. Visitors to Robots vs Animals will have a chance to see how high-tech robotic engineering seeks to copy the behaviour and capabilities of some animals and insects and hear about this fascinating collaboration between zoologists and engineers.

Bristol Parks talk

Come to a talk about Bristol Parks by Sam Thomson in the Talks Tent, 16:00 on Saturday, and keep an eye on the Big Screen to see films made by the MA Wildlife Filmmaking course.

Savita Custead, chief executive, Bristol Natural History Consortium which organises the festival says,“It is fantastic that these two major organisations are making these huge announcements to kick off the festival, for what looks likely to be our best year yet! Not only does this year's event take on greater significance as it is green capital year, but we have such an incredible line-up including the famous birder Bill Oddie and Andy Day from CBeebies who will be doing more of his dinosaur raps.

“There is so much to do at this year's event, from wildlife filmmaking with the BBC Natural History Unit to going rockpooling with the Aquarium or meeting Big Bugs at Bristol Zoo, so come along to meet the nature in your neighbourhood.”

All events are free to enter and visit for a full listing and more information.

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