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Cambridge Nature Festival features 50 events to get us in touch with nature on our doorsteps

By Siobhan Middleton

A new festival is under way that looks to connect the people of Cambridge with the nature on their doorsteps – from those who spent lockdown walks wishing they knew the names of the flowers they passed to creepy crawly-loving children.

The Cambridge Nature Festival, organised by charity Cambridge Past, Present and Future (PPF) in collaboration with a host of other local and environmental organisations, began last Friday and runs until June 30.

Cambridge PPF estate manager Ed Wombwell with Cambridge Nature Network officer Natalie Lambert at Wandlebury Country Park. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge PPF estate manager Ed Wombwell with Cambridge Nature Network officer Natalie Lambert at Wandlebury Country Park. Picture: Keith Heppell

Natalie Lambert, event organiser and Cambridge Nature Network officer at Cambridge PPF, said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have ventured out on more daily walks. If they come along to our events, they will hear experts explain what they have been seeing.

“The Cambridge Nature Festival will give people the knowledge with which to support the natural environment in their daily lives – whether that’s in their back garden or a windowsill garden, or by volunteering for organisation.

“I’m excited about all the events, and I genuinely think there’s something for everything here.”

There are about 50 events taking place, including night-time discovery of bats and glow-worms, a trail across the Botanic Garden from the viewpoint of the creatures there, wildlife walks hosted by the RSPB, bee- and beetle-inspired craft activities, and online talks with wildlife experts. More events are being added to the schedule.

James Littlewood, CEO of Cambridge PPF, said: “By putting on lots of nature-based events as part of the festival, we hope to reach people who might not consider themselves interested in nature, to make them more aware of the wildlife around them and get involved with work to improve the environment.

“It’s been really pleasing to see so many different organisations agreeing to put on nature-orientated events. The response from those we approached was absolutely fantastic.”

Claire Elbrow, head of marketing at Cambridge Science Centre, an organisation that encourages children and young people to discover science and which will support the festival through summer activities with similar themes, said: “We are excited about the nature festival, as children are naturally drawn to nature and will love to get involved.

“It is vitally important that children and young people have a solid understanding of subjects such as climate change and biodiversity, as they are the future.”

Five to look out for this week

For full details and booking, visit http://cambridgenaturenetwork.org/naturefestival/

A pipistrelle bat
A pipistrelle bat

Butterfly Feeder Workshop

4pm, June 2, Cambridge Science Centre - free

Explore the different stages of the life cycle of butterflies and make a special flower that will help to attract them into your garden.

Bat Detecting Evening

9-10pm, June 4, Wandlebury Country Park - free, but booking required

Following a short introductory talk, the group will go for a walk armed with bat detectors to see what can be found.

Early Morning Nature Wander

6.30-7.30am, Cambridge University Botanic Garden - £5, book online or via 01223 336265

Join a guided nature walk around the garden before anyone else arrives.

Eddington Ecology Walking Tours

9-10am, and 10.30-11.30am, June 7, meet at picnic benches at the northern end of the Madingley Road Park and Ride - free but booking required

Discover new areas of natural habitats in Cambridge and hear about Eddington’s progress in this informative tour led by project ecologist Mike Dean.

Wednesday Wander

10am-12.30pm, June 8 - RSPB Fen Drayton Lakes - £3.50-£8, tickets available online

Join knowledgeable volunteers for a walk around the reserve lakes and trails, taking in the seasonal highlights.

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