Join a nature extravaganza with our first ever Wilder Festival and Annual Awards

Sign up and get excited about all things wild with the free virtual Wilder Festival and Annual Awards  on Saturday 19th June and Sunday 20th  June.

We are hosting the virtual two-day festival, bringing people from across our two counties together to celebrate nature and its dedicated champions. The public can sign up to attend the Festival today, and share a wild weekend with the Trust!  

Wilder Campaigns and Events Officer, Marianne Lotter-Jones, says: 

“We are delighted to be able to offer so many wild activities as part of our first Wilder Festival. The range of events will help inspire people to get outside and connect with nature as part of 30 Days Wild, while the Wilder Awards will celebrate our supporters. We would have loved to host a face-to-face event, but the uncertainty over Covid-19 means a virtual festival is much safer for everyone. Hosting the festival online gives us the benefit that everyone will be able to join for as much of the festival as they’d like. All the activities will be recorded, so even if you can’t make it on the day, you can watch back any time.” 

The Trust will also host its inaugural Wilder Annual Awards as part of the Wilder Festival. The eight award categories recognise people from all walks of life including campaigners, community leaders, businesses, and schools, all promoting or protecting wildlife in their local community and sharing our vision of a wilder 2030. 

Since 2019, the Trust has been running its flagship programme, Team Wilder, to engage and support people and groups to take action for nature. The Wilder Annual Awards will reveal some of the creative actions people have taken in their local communities, and the Trust is delighted to be able to celebrate these champions of nature. Anyone looking for some motivation to start their own wilder journey can let their neighbours inspire them! 

The Trust is hoping that the awards will help give people new ideas on ways to make their community wilder. The projects being celebrated in the Wilder Awards will also showcase the real difference these actions can make for nature locally.  

Among those shortlisted for the awards are community groups such as Greener Villages, based in the Test Valley, who are converting a site full of rubbish into a wildlife zone and relaxation area for the neighbourhood, and schools including Medstead C of E primary school who run a class focused on environmental education. They also have wildlife cameras around the school grounds and a very keen group of Young Environmentalists. And finally, campaigners such as Natalie Harris, who has highlighted the problems of plastic pollution to her 20,000 followers on Instagram. But to find out who will win, make sure to tune in to the Wilder Festival on Saturday 19th June! 

Debbie Tann, Chief Executive of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said:  

“When we developed our strategy Wilder 2030 it was clear there were growing numbers of people wanting to take action for nature in their communities working alongside the Trust to create a wilder future. I’m delighted we have been able to put on our very first festival as part of 30 Days Wild to celebrate and share some of our most creative and inspiring local nature champions. I hope we will see lots of people join us online and encourage even more people to get involved in team wilder in future!” 

During the festival, you can look forward to: 

SATURDAY 19TH  JUNE 

Wake up to a live pond dip at 10:30 am at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve hosted by Craig Whitelock, Team Wilder Assistant. Discover the wonderful freshwater wildlife lurking in the depths of the pond.  

At 2pm, our Wilder Annual Awards ceremony kicks off! The very first recipients of our Wilder Awards will be recognised for their amazing work for nature. The ceremony should last around 2 hours. 

And to keep the festival spirit alive, the first day will end at 7pm with a retelling of ‘The Nightingale’ by the campfire with our education officer, Grace Brennan.  

SUNDAY 20TH  JUNE  

On Sunday morning we’ll be up bright and early at 9:30 am with senior reserves officer, Bob Chapman, who’ll be opening a moth trap for us to see which species have visited overnight.  

At 11:30am, former Head of Conservation and current Trust secretary, Clive Chatters will host a talk on the destruction and resurrection of Bartley Heath, a Wildlife Trust reserve since 1987.  

And then round off your Sunday afternoon walking through some of our beautiful nature reserves with us either virtually or in person! 

Throughout the weekend there will be other ways to get involved including a scavenger hunt and citizen science events. Sign up to find out more.  

Sign up here

Follow us on social media to find out more about the events and to take part on the day.