An estimated 3,000 people came together over the weekend of 29 and 30 July to celebrate the variety of local wildlife. The Festival of Wildlife in Panshanger Park near Hertford was organised by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, in partnership with Hertfordshire Natural History Society, and hosted by site owners Tarmac.
The family-friendly Festival, which was free, featured guided walks and expert talks as well as a whole host of conservation activities.
Visitors enjoyed bird watching with Herts Bird Club, getting up-close to aquatic wildlife of the River Mimram and mini-beast hunting with nets. In a Discovery Area, children were able to learn more about wildlife through a mammal talk, wild story time and an 'animal olympics'. Local conservation groups talked to families about bees, bats, badgers and hedgehogs.
Tarmac provided visitors with the chance to take a 'Lifecycle of a Quarry' tractor tour. visiting an active quarry site and past quarry sites that have been restored, to discover the wildlife now thriving there.
Lesley Davies, Chief Executive of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust said: “We were thrilled to see visitor numbers double from last year and welcome so many new faces to a Trust event. The Festival has hugely grown in success and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing volunteers, our partner, the Hertfordshire Natural History Society, and kind hosting from Tarmac.
“The Festival really showcased the incredible wildlife we have all around us and we hope to welcome individuals and families to many more of our future events. It was wonderful to see so many children getting close to nature.”
Agneta Burton, Chair of Hertfordshire Natural History Society, added: “We were delighted with the amount of visitors to this year’s Festival. Our talks were very well attended and so many people were asking questions and were really interested in their local wildlife. The talks and activities feed directly into the Natural History Society’s aims of promoting the study and recording of wildlife in Hertfordshire, while encouraging a wider interest in natural history.
She added: "It was a joy to watch so many children get excited about finding bugs, learning about mammals, bird ringing and identifying our local river wildlife. We're looking forward to the next Festival!”
Stuart Wykes, Director of Land & Natural Resources, Tarmac, said: “Tarmac were pleased to support Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and The Hertfordshire Natural History Society in delivering this fantastic event. We are proud of our stewardship of the park and the carefully planned, award winning restoration to agriculture, wetland and nature conservation, which is still being delivered through the final stages of gravel extraction, and hope that visitors over the weekend enjoyed the beautiful surroundings of the park and will visit again soon.”