Butterflies, Bugs & Beasties- discover how plants get by with a little help from their friends during summer 'Biodiversity Year at Kew' programme
Kew's Summer Festival runs 29 May – 5 September 2010
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, the Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew says, “This summer at Kew Gardens we are celebrating the fundamental relationship between flowering plants and their pollinators with three butterfly zones in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Pollinators, such as butterflies and bees, are often associated with the crops that we rely on for food, yet they also play a critical role in maintaining the biological communities they inhabit, and ultimately biodiversity – the intricate web of life on which we all depend.
"Displays in the glasshouse and a new children’s interactive landscape will also look at the influence that pollinators have on the shape, form and colour of the plants we know and love. The co-evolution of flowering plants and pollinators is a fascinating field of study still being explored by scientists at Kew and elsewhere today.”
Step into a world of pollination….
The Princess of Wales Conservatory, which boasts 10 different climatic zones under an acre of glass, will be transformed into, 'Butterflies, Bugs & Beasties' a haven for plant pollinators. 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 live bug displays, large scale sculptures of insects, birds, and bats, and 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.
Be adventurous and travel through '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, from its spectacular flowers to the ends of its roots. Tunnel through giant roots, clamber over a solid stem, and explore a leafy maze before reaching the flower head, home to fruits whose sweet nectar attracts bugs that help plants pollinate and produce seed.
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. The exhibition features a series of images – ‘stag nights’ – capturing Britain’s largest ground-living beetle. The Thames Valley is one of the few hotspots where it still occurs.
Whispering in the Leaves…
Chris Watson’s Whispering in the Leaves is an extraordinary sound installation, using recordings and natural history broadcast to transport us to the far-flung, dense rainforests of South and Central America. Throughout the summer festival, Kew’s Palm House will be diffused with the dawn and dusk choruses of the myriad of creatures native to these lush tropical landscapes. A highly sensory experience, Whispering in the Leaves is a remarkable demonstration of the power of sound to evoke captivating locations.
- For more information please contact the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Press Office on 020 8332 5607 or email email@example.com
- Images are available to download from www.kew.org/press/images . Please contact the press office for the username and password.
Kew Gardens 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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/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 visit www.biodiversityislife.net
Whispering in the Leaves
- Chris Watson - 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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