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2015 Shetland Nature Festival Programme Launched

Zoom The programme of events for the 2015 Shetland Nature Festival has been published today, ahead of what is sure to be a successful 6th year for the event.

2015 is the UNESCO International Year of Light, and what better place to celebrate light and all its benefits than Shetland in the summer? The theme of light will be central to this year’s Festival, which takes place from 4th – 11th July in partnership with European Geoparks Week. The International Year of Light is a global initiative which highlights the importance of light and light based technologies for our lives, our future and the development of society.

Another festival focus this year is creativity with a week of workshops devoted to drawing and painting. Wildlife artist and Shetland Ranger Howard Towll will lead an introduction to drawing seabirds from life, by direct observation of the seabirds on the cliffs at Sumburgh Head. Shetland artist Diane Garrick will lead classes in botanical drawing and watercolour painting from live plants.

Diane’s workshops will be complimented by sessions with herbal plant expert Amy Hardie, who will introduce herbs found abundantly in Shetland, and show how to make salves with oil, flowers and beeswax. Festival goers will also have the chance to learn to make their own nature journal with book-binder Lotte Kravitz.

There will be plenty of opportunities to see Shetland from a whole new perspective with coasteering, snorkelling and climbing led by experienced and enthusiastic guides. By popular demand, the education team from Edinburgh science centre Our Dynamic Earth are returning to the festival for a second year running and will be found at venues around the islands with a new range of activities to inspire, entertain and inform.

The festival also looks forward to welcoming an artistic production by Edinburgh based arts agency Vision Mechanics. ‘Drift’ is inspired by the true story of Betty Mouat, the Shetland crofter, who spent eight days drifting alone in the North Sea. Soundscapes and installations on the island of Unst will evoke the feeling of being adrift, isolated and unaided.

Traditional favourites, the Noss National Nature Reserve Open Day and Sumburgh Head Open Day will ‘bookend’ the 2015 festival with fun for all the family. Guided walks will journey through an extinct volcano and a desert landscape, introduce puffin colonies and rare plants and even show how to spot an otter. Festival goers can explore the magical island of Mousa with the RSPB and wait in the Iron Age broch to witness the incredible phenomenon of the tiny storm petrels returning by night under cover of darkness. They can find out why Shetland’s peatlands are so special with the Peatlands Restoration Project, or wander through woodlands at Kergord and unearth the place of trees in folklore and religion, discover the wonderful world of bugs and moths with Shetland Biological Records Centre or have a ‘peerie hock’ for creepy crawlies at the Crofthouse Museum.

While many events are held on a drop-in basis, some do require booking. The programme is now available online at http://www.shetlandamenity.org/whats-on and bookings will be available from Monday 11th May where applicable.