Despite rainy weather, more than 1,500 people, including many families, attended the Festival of Wildlife held over the weekend of 27 and 28 July in the beautiful setting of Panshanger Park, near Hertford.
The Festival, organised by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust (HMWT) in association with the HNHS and Tarmac plc, featured a lively mix of wildlife discovery activities, including a mini-beast safaris, dragonfly walks and a demonstration of bird-ringing. As in previous years, the HNHS contribution included the popular 'talks tent' with speakers on topics ranging from bats and raptors to gardening for wildlife and the value of studying animal poo.
Herts Bird Club staffed a bird viewing point over one of the lakes, where the damp conditions were encouraging House and Sand Martins to feed above the resident waterfowl. Our county species recorders were busy throughout the Festival providing walks, talks and demonstrations. These included a 'Bioblitz' tent operated by members of the Herts Invertebrate Group and the local branch of the British Naturalists Association, where artist Alasdair Bright created an art wall of species found during the two days. There was also a steady flow of visitors to the HNHS bookstall, where we were able to sign up a number of new members.
Speaking at the Festival's opening ceremony, Agneta Burton, chair of Hertfordshire Natural History Society, said: "Panshanger Park provides a wonderful opportunity to see how species are responding to management and so many visitors are learning about the fantastic diversity of plants and animals at the site. The Festival of Wildlife is a great event to show people the history and wildlife importance of this great site."
Agneta Burton, chair of Hertfordshire Natural History Society, Mike Master, chairman of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Lesley Davies, chief executive of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Sarah Beazley, High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Stuart White, director of Land & Natural Resources at Tarmac, and Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami.
Photographs are courtesy of Josh Kubale, Emma Matthars and Frieda Rummenhohl of the HMWT.