Glastonbury is on the horizon, and so is Lancaster University’s science outreach project Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll, ready to fascinate festival-goers with woodland wonders and climate change quandaries.
The team behind popular science activities such as their infamous ‘poo game’ will be back for their fourth festival in a row, and this time they want you to present the weather.
Lancaster University’s Dr Emma Sayer - creator of Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll and Reader in Ecology at the Lancaster Environment Centre - will lead a team of ’Festival Bugs’ in a week’s worth of activities that will see expert researchers from the Met Office and the Universities of Oxford, Kent, and Lancaster sharing their fascination for the natural world with festival-goers in the Green Futures Fields.
Revellers have something special to look forward to this year, alongside favourites like the ‘poo game’ and ‘Create Your Ideal Woodland’: Dr Sayer has teamed up with the Met Office to create brand-new activities around climate change.
“I’m very excited about the partnership with the Met Office,” said Dr Sayer. “We’ll be tweeting video clips of festival-goers’ weather forecasts for Glastonbury 2069, complete with the old-fashioned weather map and magnetic symbols.”
The focus for this year’s Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll activities is ’woodlands and climate change’. Visitors will enter a specially-designed tent, featuring artwork by graphic designer Mike McInnerney, whose impressive portfolio includes the cover for Tommy by The Who, and violinist and artist Erica Nockalls who is performing with The Proclaimers on the Pyramid Stage on Saturday.
Visitors can spin the wheels of fortune to learn about uncertainty in weather and climate forecasting, match former Glastonbury headliners to the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration when they took to the stage, find out how much carbon is taken up by trees, and much more.
Festival-goers will even be contributing to the future of woodland in the UK – for each visitor who plays ‘Create Your Ideal Woodland’, Wytham Woods will plant an acorn from an ancient oak tree at Wytham Park near Oxford.
With support from the Met Office, the Universities of Oxford, Kent, and Exeter, the New Phytologist Trust, as well as the Field Studies Council and the Forestry Commission, Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll will have something for everyone at this year’s Glastonbury Festival.
“We’ve got a great team,” said Dr Sayer, “including a newly-appointed MBE (Richard Betts from the Met Office), who is really looking forward to doing some fun things around climate change!”
Professor Richard Betts MBE, Head of Climate Impacts Research at the Met Office and the University of Exeter, said: “The stand at Glastonbury is a fantastic opportunity to bring climate science to life with interactive and engaging activities that highlight how our planet is changing and what the future might look like. It is also a fun way to encourage conversation about what can be done on an individual level to curb our personal contribution to climate change.”
Find Sex & Bugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll in the Green Futures Fields at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, 26th–30th June.
The Lancaster University team includes: Lancaster University’s Dr Emma Sayer, Dr Ali Birkett, and Dr Mike Whitfield all from the Lancaster Environment Centre.