Unearth the wild side of Watford at family-friendly ‘Wildfest’ event

The festival, organised by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, will take place on Saturday, July 13, from 10am to 4pm.

Taking place in Cassiobury Park, the festival will unite conservation charities to provide engaging activities, educational materials about wildlife, and advice on protecting it.

Rachel Rogers, engagement coordinator at the Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see the appetite that exists within the Watford community to make local spaces and the town wilder.”

Ms Rogers confirmed that several local groups will collaborate with the Trust on Wildfest, and visitors can look forward to inspiring educational activities.

Sensory experiences, craft activities and educational games are planned, with opportunities to observe wildlife species up close.

She added: “There will be freebies to take home, such as wildflower seeds and mini pond kits – all helping to create more wild spaces for wildlife and people to thrive.

“Visitors will be able to discover some of the wildlife that lives in Cassiobury ponds and will be invited to make their own mini pond for a garden or patio.

“If you’re feeling creative, you’ll be able to make stick people, seed bombs and natural arts, as well as getting involved in drumming workshops, using recycled tin drums.

“Younger visitors can burn off some energy by taking part in Animal Olympics, and, at the same time, learn some fascinating facts about the natural world.

“Plus, there may be a chance to see some wildlife species close up.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed for good weather which will also give people the chance to enjoy going on a bug hunt, a guided butterfly walk with Butterfly Conservation or a bird walk with RSPB Watford.

“We hope to see lots of people embracing all that’s on offer at Wildfest and engaging with the natural world – and, of course, to Watford going even wilder.”

For two years, the Trust has coordinated the ‘Wilder Watford’ project, fostering community involvement and encouraging residents to support the town’s transformation into a haven for both residents and wildlife.

Five initiatives have contributed to Watford’s evolution into a “hotbed of wild things”.

Firstly, the Trust introduced the ‘Wilder Schools’ programme, whereby a Wilder School Champion visits Watford schools, offering guidance on creating more wildlife-friendly environments.

Partnering with Watford Borough Council and other nearby organisations in the ‘Rediscovering the River Colne’ project, the Trust also facilitated eight teenager placements.

These young volunteers performed hands-on conservation work along the River Colne.

Another collaboration is making waves; the Trust worked on the ‘Green Heart of Watford’ project alongside Friends of the Earth and Butterfly Conservation.

This initiative is revamping St Mary’s Churchyard in the town centre to promote biodiversity while remaining a welcoming place for human visitors.

Students from St John’s Primary School have been tasked with conducting biodiversity surveys.

Since 2017, Peregrine Falcons have taken residence on YMCA’s Charter House in the town centre, captivating residents and enthusiasts alike.

The birds can now be observed via a live-streaming webcam installed by the Trust.

An additional nesting site was installed at Watford Football Club’s Vicarage Road Stadium anticipating future tenants.

Finally, a restoration project on the Cassiobury Park Local Nature Reserve’s wetlands has recreated former watercress beds into habitats for a diverse array of wildlife.

For more information, visit the Herts Wildlife Trust website at hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/events/wildfest-2024-watford.

Watford Observer | What’s On