Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Dung Beetle Knockout, Jellyfish Disco & Festival I-Spy

Happy New Year!
2013 is going to be a really exciting year - it's the BES Centenary, the Festival of Ecology and the year we take the BES on the road to music festivals.
Just before Christmas, the roadies were at the BES Annual Meeting in Birmingham. The entire meeting was great (as always) but the standout event for us was our workshop on 'Creative Public Engagement'.
45 participants spent an hour of their lunch break thinking about how to engage people in ecology and brainstorming fun activities for the BES stall at festivals this summer. Helen lead the workshop with Ruth Murray from AtBristol (with token help from the other roadies) and we all brought a few random props to act as catalysts for ideas.
After a brief intro, Helen got everyone thinking hard about the most important aspect of successful public engagement: the audience.

Participants worked in groups to characterise their audience and think about how to get their attention; then everyone started brainstorming ideas for activities to engage festival-goers with ecology.
The workshop was short but the time pressure seemed to get everyone's neurons working overtime - we had some really fantastic ideas, including dung beetle gladiators, a festival I-Spy, a luminous jellyfish disco, a fossil-hunt and a whole load of interactive, hands-on displays on e.g. food-webs, pollinators, soil fauna, and photosynthesis.
We've captured the essence of the workshop in a short video clip. So if you missed it: here's the whole thing in 2 minutes flat

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