Butterflies, Bugs & Beasties - discover how plants get by with a little help from their friends during summer 'Biodiversity Year at Kew' programme
Press release, May 2010
Summer Festival 29 May - 5 September 2010
SAVE THE DATE: Press Preview and photocall 10am, 27 May
In 2010 the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is celebrating the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity and throughout the summer we’re inviting visitors to not only explore the stunning Gardens in full bloom; but to also delve into the hidden world of plant pollination and discover how plants work together with animals and insects to sustain life.
Stephen Hopper, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says, “This summer we are celebrating the relationship between flowering plants and their pollinators with a stunning butterfly collection in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Pollinators play a critical role in maintaining their biological communities and ultimately biodiversity – the intricate web of life on which we all depend. This fantastic display in the glasshouse and a new interactive play area will teach children the influence that pollinators have on their favourite plants, down to their shape and colour. Learning whilst they play in Kew’s beautiful surroundings, they will embark on a biodiversity adventure, gaining a glimpse into a field of study still being explored by scientists at Kew and elsewhere today.”
Butterflies, Bugs and Beasties…
Kew’s Princess of Wales Conservatory will be transformed into a haven for Butterflies, Bugs & Beasties. See the spectacle of three butterfly zones, one steamy and flourishing with tropical orchids, another bursting with lush ferns and the last planted with sweet nectar beds. All will host clouds of fluttering butterflies and moths.
Throughout the rest of the glasshouse, among the exotic plants visitors will encounter giant outsize sculptures of bugs and beasties, that seem to hover, swoop and dive into the plants they pollinate. These large scale sculptures of insects, birds, and bats, with visual and audio interpretation, will explain the amazing relationships between flowering plants and their pollinators. There are over 30,000 different flowering plant species in the world, all unique and pollinated in a variety of ways.
Burrow like a worm and hide between the fungi in PLANTastic Play…
Young explorers can discover the new children's landscape, shaped like a plant, and nestled in the grounds of Queen Charlotte’s Cottage in Kew's Conservation Zone. Journeying through this interactive landscape aimed at encouraging natural play, kids can learn about the importance of every part of a plant. They can enter via the roots, walk through the stem, hide between the fungi, get lost in the leaf maze, spin seeds, and watch birds make homes in the bird houses. At every turn, there is something new to learn – hunting for clues, solving puzzles, and enjoying science in a fun and interactive environment.
The wildness of Kew revealed…
The Nash Conservatory hosts a photographic exhibition of stunning images from leading wildlife photographer Heather Angel's book, Wild Kew. The book is a seasonal exploration of the rich diversity of wildlife found in Kew Gardens. While Kew’s 300 acres are filled with over 19,000 different species of plants, what is less well known is that it is also a haven for wildlife, such as the threatened stag beetle.
Whispering in the Leaves…
Chris Watson’s Whispering in the Leaves is an extraordinary sound-art installation that will transport visitors to the dense rainforests of South and Central America through the recorded sounds of their native wildlife. Diffused through 80 speakers, situated within the tropical foliage of the Palm House, Whispering in the Leaves will immerse visitors in a dynamic, spatial soundscape of primate calls and birdsong, backed with a shimmering wall of insect sounds. Animals appear to move around and call to each other, while visitors on the floor will find themselves in an entirely different environment to those on the canopy walkway. A highly sensory experience, Whispering in the Leaves is a remarkable demonstration of the power of sound to evoke captivating locations.
Free Tours for all…
Join one of the free daily tours, "Biodiversity - What's it all about?" to discover the importance of biodiversity, from the air we breathe to the food we eat. Tours start from Victoria Plaza at 12 pm daily, and can take up to 20 people.
- For more information on what Kew has to offer this summer, please go to www.kew.org/summer
- For more information please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Images are available to download from http://www.kew.org/press/images/index_kew.html - Please contact the press office for username and password.
- Opening hours: 9.30am – 6.30pm (weekdays), 9.30 – 7.30pm (weekends)
- Last entry to the Gardens, the glasshouses, galleries and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway is 30 minutes before closing
- Admission: Adults £13.50, Concessions £11.50, free for children under 17 (with an adult)
- Visitor information: 020 8332 5655 or email@example.com
- Website: www.kew.org
Get involved and upload your images on Flickr...
As part of the Summer Festival and the International Year of Biodiversity we're asking visitors and their families to get involved and do something to support biodiversity in their local area (making a compost heap, planting butterfly-friendly flowers etc). We've set up a new group on Flickr where people can share photos of what they've done. This group can be found at http://www.flickr.com/groups/1462768@N22/
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew's country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract nearly 2 million visitors every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew and its partners have collected and conserved seed from 10% of the world's wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species) and aim to conserve 25% by 2020.
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership has already achieved so much, and its enormous potential for future conservation can only be fulfilled with the support of the public and other funders. Kew needs to raise significant funds both in the UK and overseas. Members of the public can support the work of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership by getting involved with the ‘Adopt a Seed, Save a Species' campaign. For £25 an individual can adopt a seed or for £1000 anyone can save an entire species. www.kew.org/adoptaseedhttp://www.kew.org/adoptaseed
‘Biodiversity Year at Kew’ in 2010 will celebrate the importance of plant diversity in underpinning biodiversity through a programme of themed and seasonal horticultural displays, art exhibitions, educational activities for all the family and scientific announcements. For a full programme of events see www.kew.org/press/2010.html
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is part of the world-wide celebrations of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, and is one of over 300 UK organisations, charities and groups supporting this global awareness campaign. The diversity of life on earth is crucial for human well-being and now is the time to act to preserve it. For information on events, initiatives and exhibitions across the UK during 2010 visitwww.biodiversityislife.net
Whispering in the Leaves
- Originally commissioned by AV Festival '08
- Presented by Sound and Music www.soundandmusic.org and Forma www.forma.org.uk
- Produced by Forma
- Supported by Arts Council England
Chris Watson is a sound-recordist specialising in natural history, with a passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmosphere from around the world. He has won awards for his exceptional recording work for BBC natural history programmes by Sir David Attenborough and others, and has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of West England for his outstanding contribution to sound recording.
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