University hosts two day nature connections festival with BBC’s Chris Packham

University hosts two day nature connections festival with BBC’s Chris Packham

The University of Derby will host its brand new Nature Connections Festival on Friday September 11 and Saturday September 12, 2015.

The two day spectacle is aimed at increasing the relevance of nature to a wider audience, communicating the value of repairing and reconnecting our natural habits and encouraging people to actively engage with natural landscapes.

Chris Packham, presenter of BBC Springwatch and Vice-President of the RSPB and Wildlife Trustswill open the festival on both days. Chris will chair a Q&A session on nature connections and will also be taking part in a book signing.

Chris will also help judge a competition to find the next junior nature presenter. Children aged 7-16 will be able perform to the camera and work with the University’s experts to produce a show reel in their broadcast studios.  

There will be a special screening of the 2009 film ‘The Age of Stupid’, starring Pete Postlewaite, with the film’s Director, Franny Armstrong, taking part in a live Q&A. Freelance writer, Jini Reddy, will also be holding an exclusive writing workshop to connect words with nature and the senses.      

Professor Chris White, Head of Department of Media and Performing Arts at the University of Derby, said: “There have been a number of recent concerns about the nature deficit for both children and adults. Then, of course, there are the relationships between nature connectedness and health and wellbeing.

“We’re doing something really exciting and different with the Nature Connections Festival; bringing together a whole host of subjects, which are usually taught individually, and connecting them to nature. The aim is to raise consciousness about what we mean by nature, and the inter-connectedness of things.”

The University will showcase its research into nature connections across the two day festival. Dr Andrew Johnson looks at helping to predict the extent of climate change; Professor Chris White details the DerwentWISE project, which aims to protect and enhance the special landscape in and around the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site; and Dr Kate Wells talks about colour, health and wellbeing, and the hidden qualities and properties of natural dyes.

Bev Reardon, Schools Liaison Tutor for the College of Arts, added, “Nature connection has been a passionate area of research for some time and the festival is a fantastic way to engage and interest those people who have not yet discovered the joys and benefits of a closer relationship with the natural world.”

The festival is open to schools and community organisations on September 11 and the general public on September 12. The event is free to attend and parking is also available free of charge.