Category Archives: Public engagement
In the Gallery
We’ve just returned from Glastonbury 2017, where we ‘launched’ our brand new woodland-themed stall. We wanted to make it as visually exciting as possible and approached a photographer, an artist, and some ‘arty’ scientists about displaying their work at our stall.
We had an amazing response from our visitors, so here’s a brief introduction to the artists behind the images displayed at our stall – with links to much more of their work:
- Woodland Inspiration – Images courtesy of James Jackman.
Paintings inspired by Wytham Woods. Oxfordshire artist James Jackman creates his paintings by unpicking, editing and reassembling elements of landscape and place. He explores the border between realism and abstraction through layering, marking, and colour. A level of abstraction allows the viewer to create their own interpretation of the image and complete the creative process. See more of James’ art on his Facebook page.
- Life in Middle Earth – Images courtesy of Andy Murray
Taking a closer look at soil mesofauna is like discovering a whole new planet. Mesofauna simply means “animals of intermediate size” and they also often thrive at the boundary between above- and belowground worlds: in the surface soil, leaf litter, and under dead wood on the forest floor. Andy’s blog A Chaos of Delight reveals the beauty of the mesofauna in their intermediate world.
- Plugging into the wood-wide web – Images courtesy of Merlin Sheldrake and Magnus Rath
Merlin and Magnus have developed a technique to show mycorrhizal fungi growing inside plant roots. They offer a rare glimpse of the ways that plant roots ‘plug in’ to the ‘Wood Wide Web’. A laser-scanning microscope was used to capture the images and then colours were applied to different layers to highlight the differences in plant and fungal structures. The techniques used to obtain these images are new, and allow the visualisation of the plant and fungal structures with a clarity that has not been possible before, revealing the extraordinary intimacy of this ancient symbiosis.
- Microbial Art – Images by Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob, courtesy of Microbial Art.
A series of remarkable patterns that bacteria form when grown in a petri dish. The colours and shading are artistic additions, but the image templates are actual colonies of tens of billions of individual microorganisms. The colonies form the different structures as adaptive responses to laboratory-imposed stresses that mimic hostile environments faced in nature.
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 http://youtu.be/Bau-W72uwKE