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Dates announced for Orkney Nature Festival 2020

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Popular festival to have marine theme for Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters

The 8th Orkney Nature Festival will take place from 9 – 17 May 2020, the RSPB has announced this week.

The festival, popular with Orkney locals and visitors alike, is an annual celebration of the unique wildlife and natural heritage of Orkney with events across the Mainland and islands. The programme is made up of a variety of nature-themed events run by local organisations and individuals and co-ordinated each year by the local RSPB team.

Eleanor Davison, RSPB Scotland’s Events and Communications Officer for Orkneysaid: “The Nature Festival is a fantastic opportunity for people to learn more about the special wildlife of Orkney, take part in activities, and maybe even discover an island they’ve not visited before. 2020 being the Visit Scotland Year of Coasts and Waters certainly works well for Orkney and we look forward to providing even more coastal-themed events and activities than usual!”

The festival is a chance for the people of Orkney to showcase and celebrate the natural wonders that Orkney has to offer and for local businesses to raise awareness of what they do. Any organisation or individual who would like to provide an event for the 2020 festival can contact Eleanor at the RSPB office in Stromness on 01856 850176 or email orkney@rspb.org.uk.

The 2019 festival saw over 1500 people enjoying a range of events, from looking out for orca from the Marwick cliffs, trying new crafts and attending storytelling sessions, to learning some wildlife-themed sign language and discovering more about nature in Orkney at birdwatching sessions and guided walks.

Hoy hosted a ‘Viking Hiking’ trip to Rackwick to experience Viking culture and stories, and local children ran an Eaglewatch open day to tell visitors the story of the Hoy eagles and provided guided walks to the Dwarfie stone. Events were also held on the island of Stronsay and on the RSPB Onziebust nature reserve on Egilsay.

The festival ended with a special Sunday service at St Magnus Cathedral on the connections between faith and nature, and the traditional Nature Cruise finale on board Northlink Ferries’ MV Hamnavoe, which took in the spectacular scenery of the west Mainland coast. Those on board enjoyed spotting puffins and other seabirds and even a pod of Risso’s dolphins!

Eleanor added: “We know many people plan trips to Orkney each year to coincide with the festival week, and we aim to provide a range of events, activities and new experiences for all. We are keen to highlight Orkney’s spectacular wildlife and get people interacting with nature. With growing awareness of the huge threats facing wildlife and habitats in the UK and across the world, it would be great to have more festival events which focus on the importance of looking after our environment and give people the opportunity to get involved on a local level to help save nature.”

For more information on the festival as it becomes available you can check the website at orkneynaturefestival.org and the Festival Facebook page.

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