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Two weeks of non-stop wild fun with the Oxford Festival of Nature

Monday 22nd May 2017

The Wild Fair at Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Pic Ric Mellis

The Oxford Festival of Nature from 1 to 14 June promises to be the best-ever with dragons, wolves, bees, wild flowers, swifts, ugly animals, a trip to Northern Mozambique, a treasure hunt and the ever-popular pond-dipping!

This year’s Festival organised by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust in conjunction with Oxford City Council and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History involves more nature and wildlife groups across the city and the county than ever before.

All event listings on www.oxfordfestivalofnature.org

Neil Clennell, the Wildlife Trust’s director of conservation & education for Oxfordshire is looking forward to welcoming thousands of people to more than 60 events: “This is a unique Festival that brings together the people of Oxford and the fascinating wildlife that lives alongside us here in our green city.

“Our main event on Saturday 3 June is the Wild Fair at the Museum of Natural History. This is a great way of showcasing the work of the wildlife groups of Oxford.

"The bat and mammal groups and the urban wildlife group will be alongside Friends of the Earth Oxford and their bee-mapping project. Come and find out how to get involved with the new Oxford Swift City project, and hear from the Museum ‘s experts why beetles and whales are so important for life on earth.”

One of the many fascinating events is a talk on Thursday 1 June by explorer Prof Julian Bayliss from Oxford Brookes University about how he discovered 20 previously unknown species while climbing unexplored Mount Mabu, in the largest rainforest of southern Africa.

“The panda gets too much attention,” says the Ugly Animal Preservation Society who will be performing at the Museum of Natural History on Saturday 10 June. “Oxford needs a minging mascot, one to rival the cute and cuddly emblems of many charities and organisations.” Vote for your favourite stand-up comedians who will each champion a different ugly endangered species; democracy, but more fun!

Nature makes a big difference to all our lives; the River Thames helps to maintain the quality of our air as well as our water. Find out more at events hosted by Thames Water at Pinkhill nature reserve at Farmoor, and the Lower Windrush Project at Rushy Common near Witney, or join a wildlife cruise on the Thames in Oxford.

Take to the hills! Shotover Wildlife Group is running events at Shotover, and the Oxfordshire Mammal Group is hosting guided walks at Wytham Woods.

There’s fun for all the family at the Spindleberry Dragon in Blackbird Leys, pond-dipping on a night-time safari at Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education centre near Didcot, and wild flower walks on Oxford Meadows.

Take the Big Green Treasure Hunt run by Low Carbon Oxford to discover more about Oxford’s wildlife and enter a competition to win a Brompton bike. Join in the Big Green Day Out on Saturday 10 June in Broad Street.

The Oxford Festival of Nature, which is sponsored by Freeths solicitors, is run for the fourth year by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust. Full listings here.