Springwatch presenter Chris Packham joined hundreds of people at Bournemouth University for the start of the week-long Festival of Learning.
The Festival, which features over 150 free events and activities, kicked off with a family day on BU’s Talbot Campus – with a whole host of activities for all ages.
From Mini Professor Taster sessions to a performance by the Dementia Orchestra and the chance to play wheelchair basketball and get hands-on with fossils from the Jurassic Coast – young and old were treated to a range of free activities.
Chris Packham gave two talks about ecology and conservation as part of the Festival, and took a tour around the campus to get involved with some of the interactive activities taking place.
“To be here at a Festival of Learning is really exciting,” Chris said.
“In fact, I can’t think of anything more exciting than a Festival of Learning, and obviously it’s been really great to attract young people into the learning environment.”
He added: “I think it’s absolutely essential that universities engage with the communities where they are based, the community that’s supporting them and they are helping to support.”
The Festival of Learning is now in its third year, and aims to share the university’s knowledge and expertise with the public in an engaging and accessible way.
Andrew and Jane Diffey, of Poole, came to one of Chris Packham's talks.
They said: “Chris was really good, really interesting. He’s really humorous but he balanced it so well with other information too. The pictures he used were brilliant and amazing that he took them himself.
“It was very good, good that it was free and we had the opportunity to come locally to listen to something like this. It was really great.”
The Festival of Learning runs until Friday 17 July, with a range of free events still to come – from theatre performances to professional development opportunities and the chance to have some fun with food.
BU’s Knowledge Exchange and Impact Manager Dr Rebecca Edwards said: “The opening day has gone really well – the sun has shone and we’ve had lots of people of all ages coming onto campus and getting stuck in.
“It’s fantastic to have an endorsement for the Festival of Learning from someone like Chris Packham. His talks were really inspirational and he has just been fabulous, walking around campus talking to people.”
She added: “There are so many highlights that I think that for everybody there will be something still to come along to – lots of fun events, but also lots of things which can really help you grow and learn.”
To find out more about the Festival of Learning, and book free tickets for events, visit The Festival of Learning website.