Worms at the Festival of Nature

We were thrilled to award Victoria Burton regional funding to take Earthworm Watch to the Festival of Nature 2016.

Victoria Burton at Festival of Nature

Victoria Burton is a PhD researcher at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum, London. Her research investigates how soil and leaf litter biodiversity responds to land use change.

Victoria attended the BES Public Engagement training programme this year and was the very first beneficiary of the BES Regional Funding Scheme, which provides support for researchers to undertake public engagement activities.

As part of her PhD, Victoria runs a citizen science project (Earthworm Watch) with her supervisors at the Natural History Museum and colleagues at the Earthwatch Institute. Funding from the BES provided Victoria with the opportunity to take Earthworm Watch to the Bristol Festival of Nature – the largest UK natural history event.

“This year I applied to the British Ecological Society public engagement training programme to improve my skills and confidence in communicating ecology to the public and attended the BES display in the Discovery Zone at RHS Chelsea.

I then spent two days at the Festival of Nature,  talking with the public about soil health and earthworms, with activities including handling and identifying live earthworms and a ‘count the number of earthworms in the wormery’ competition – with a prize for the winner. Despite torrential rain, I spoke to 200 people over the weekend and also did an interview for local radio show Shepherds Way (see episode 22/06/2016, from 27 mins)

I am very grateful to the BES for making it possible to run this stall to raise awareness of the importance of earthworms and promote Earthworm Watch and would highly recommend those interested in public engagement to apply the scheme.”

Do you have public engagement activities that you would like to attend? Check out our Regional Funding page to see how we can help.