A special celebration event of film, music and storytelling about insects and invertebrates will be held in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO Global Geopark.
Everyone is invited to join the North Pennines AONB Partnership for a ‘Bug Ball’ as the Cold-blooded and Spineless project comes to an end. The event is being held to offer artists, naturalists and school children a chance to share their achievements through the arts and citizen science activities over the five years of the project. It was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to raise awareness of invertebrates and their importance to our environment and lives. It is a free event, taking place from 6 to 9pm on Saturday 5 October at Bowlees Visitor Centre in Upper Teesdale.
Entertainment will start with a talk from naturalist and Country Diarist for The Guardian, Phil Gates, entitled ‘Tigers and Stilettos.’ This will be followed by a torchlit walk to the ‘Molluscarium,’ a specially commissioned dry-stone wall seat in the form of a snail shell which is set in the grounds of Bowlees Visitor Centre. Middleton-in-Teesdale Primary School pupils will recount the story of Dubia the door snail, a local species they have seen during education sessions. Storytellers from ‘A Bit Crack’ will also weave a spider’s tale by the campfire.
Samantha Tranter, the North Pennines AONB Partnership’s Cold-blooded and Spineless Project Officer, said: “Hundreds of people across the North Pennines have helped us to share the exciting stories of insects and other small creatures that are so important to our survival. Most people aren’t aware of how fundamental invertebrates are to all other life on Earth. We have trained naturalists to help identify and record them, worked with artists and schools to share their beauty and value, and created four outdoor art trails.
“To better understand invertebrates in the North Pennines, we have gathered over 7000 records for national databases and put 20 special invertebrate sites on the map. Without the help of people from the North Pennines and beyond, the project would not have been possible. The ‘Bug Ball’ is a chance for everyone to enjoy the success of Cold-blooded and Spineless.”
There are 30,000 different species of invertebrate in the UK. According to the State of Nature report, 66% of invertebrates studied in the uplands have declined in the last 50 years. Yet for many species there is insufficient data to predict population health. Invertebrates are underappreciated for their contribution to the function of our ecosystems, from soil nutrient cycling to pest control and pollination. Many invertebrates are a vital food source for all types of birds, fish and mammals.
A live performance by ‘Invertebrus’, musicians from Allenheads in Northumberland, will accompany a film created for the project called ‘Microcosmos,’ incorporating sounds of underwater invertebrates.
The event is free, but booking is essential. Anyone wishing to book places should go online to www.northpennines.org.uk.