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10th Shrewsbury Darwin Festival 10th - 23rd February 2013 (10th January 2013)

An exciting programme of events for all ages is on offer at the 2013 festival, which runs from 10th to 23rd February 2013. The festival, which has been arranged by Shropshire Wildlife Trust, aims to inspire people with curiosity about the natural world and awaken understanding of the marvellous wildlife with which we share our world.

People can walk in Charles Darwin’s footsteps on guided visits to a remnant of the Darwin family garden, which Shropshire Wildlife Trust is hoping to purchase in the near future. Town tours and boat trips will also take place, bringing the Darwin family history alive.

Scientific lectures and discussion sessions led by academics and experts will be held around Shrewsbury, with the Darwin Memorial Lecture delivered by Jim Moore, Professor of the History of Science at Liverpool University, on the subject of Alfred Russel Wallace.

Café sci events will take place at the Shrewsbury Coffeehouse on Castle Street, with lively discussions on a range of subjects.  Dr Jeremy Pritchard of Birmingham University makes a welcome return with an evening of evolutionary chat covering randomness, Boeing 747s and Kylie Minogue;  Dr Simon Spencer, who has travelled all over Europe studying butterflies shares his thoughts on how farming affects butterfly populations; Brian Goodwin of Shropshire Beekeepers Association talks about the delights of beekeeping and Luke Neal invites you to join him to discover the sinister wildlife inhabiting the meres and mosses of north Shropshire.

A documentary film, the Vanishing of the bees, will be shown at the Hive, revealing the multiple problems faced by these creatures, on whom we depend for the pollination of a third of our food.  Find out what you can do to help bees survive and flourish at a special event at Shropshire Wildlife Trust on wildlife gardening and beekeeping. 

An imaginative and fun series of activities for children will take place to coincide with half term, including the chance to make a beetle costume and explore Shropshire Wildlife Trust’s garden from a beetle’s perspective.  A workshop on evolution and the human connection to apes will give children an opportunity to meet Dr Jeremy Pritchard, while an appearance by the Animal Man will enable them to meet and handle some beautiful creatures.  Darwin was fascinated by earthworms and a worm charming event and craft session will entertain and amaze children about the extraordinary value of these creatures.

The festival will close with a grow-your-own food fair and a chance to stock up on seed potatoes and onion sets, with demonstrations and advice on vegetable growing.

For further information look out for the Darwin Festival events brochures distributed around town or see www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk.  The programme for the 10th Shrewsbury Darwin Festival is now available to download from www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/darwinfestival. Booking is essential for all events.