It’s a term you’ve probably come across and think you know what it means but…what exactly is ecology?! Well this year is the centenary of the British Ecological Society (BES) and they want everyone to find out through their ‘Festival of Ecology’, a programme of events taking place all over the country.
Being big fans of the natural world here at Thinktank we decided to get involved in the Festival and celebrate the ecology of our very own city, Birmingham. But instead of the museum staff putting together an exhibition we’ve handed over all control over to our newly established Young People’s Forum, Ignite!
Brainstorming in the first meeting!
Ignite are made up of 17, 16-20 year olds from across Birmingham, all working together to produce a Pop-Up exhibition and range of family activities that will go on display this summer. In fact, the exhibition will be traveling all over the city to some of the sites of Birmingham Museums Trust like Aston Hall and Soho House (see full list of dates). Our friends over at Blakesley Hall have been exploring the ecology of their site already and are looking forward to the exhibition visiting them.
So what is the exhibition about? Well, ecology of course, but in particular the group chose to focus on how humans have shaped the ecology of the landscape around them. The displays are split into four key zones; Canals and Ponds, Gardens and Forests, Food and Agriculture and Urban Wildlife, all features found in Birmingham.
So far, Ignite have been working hard carrying out lots of research, writting all the text for the exhibition and choosing lots of images. We were also joined by three scientists from the University of Birmingham who came to tell the group about their own research in areas relating to the exhibition.
Spot scientists who’ve joined the forum!
Dr Ian Thornhill and Prof Rob Mackenzie talking with their groups
The input of Ian, Rob and Emma has been invaluable in making sure the exhibition contains up-to-date research from local universities. In addition, it was wonderful for the group to meet local academics that they would never usually come into contact with.
The group are currently planning a range of exciting family activities as we wait for the exhibition to come back from the graphic designers. We can’t wait to see what it looks like!
So what is ecology?! Well you’ll have to come along and find out!