Henley’s Great Big Green Week is Back from 8–16 June!

Join organisers Greener Henley and friends for a week packed full of walks, talks, film, art, exhibitions, poetry and workshops that explore how, together, we can tackle climate change and restore nature and wildlife in the local area – and beyond.

Kicking off the week on Saturday 8 June is the Nature Discovery Day held at Mill Meadows for all ages and interests. From 10.00am – 2.00pm you can take part in a range of drop-in activities including a wildflower walk, butterfly sweep and bug hunt to reveal the nature living all around us – from beetles and bats to buttercups. You can also get the chance to chat with conservation groups about your exciting finds and a multitude of local expert naturalists about the area and its river.   

Keen gardeners can collect free native wildflower seeds from the event and learn about Greener Henley’s ‘Nature Squared’ campaign, helping Henley plant a total of 500m² of plants for pollinators, plus budding photographers can take part in a wildlife photography session. Across the meadow, visitors can pop into the River & Rowing Museum to see Pollution, an exhibition of local students’ work, in response to Greener Henley’s Schools Environmental Science Challenge, alongside work from the wonderful waterside arts and ecology project, The Beautiful Blue. Both exhibitions run from 23 May to 17 June. 

Over in town on Saturday, come and tickle your tastebuds at the Plant vs Beef Burger Taste Test outside Pavilion Foods between 12.00 – 2.00pm and tell us which burger is best. Later you can let your creativity and love of nature entwine at The Gardening Drawing Club, a family friendly art and gardening session hosted at Henley Library from 2.00 – 4.00pm. 

Sunday 9 June’s activities begin at 10.00am with the Paddleboard River Clean with Warriors on Waste and Go With The Flo paddleboarding who’ll be leading a big green clean up on our stretch of the river. Afterwards come down to the Regal Picturehouse cinema at 2.00pm for a screening of Elephant Mother, a documentary following Thai conservationist Lek Chailert who takes on the powerful tourist industry to rescue abused elephants, and stay for a live Q&A with Lek herself. For an engaging evening discussion, head to Our Moral Obligation? Faith, Climate & Displacement talk at Henley Town Hall Council Chamber, with the Bishop of Reading and Dr Krish Kandiah from 7.00 – 9.00pm. 

 If you’d like expert feedback to your questions on climate change, come to In Our Hands: Our Climate Future talk and Q&A on the evening of Monday 10 June from 7.00 – 9.00pm, at the Town Hall Council Chambers. Presenting the key science on this formidable challenge, our guest speaker, Professor Chris Merchant (University of Reading), will explore how ingenuity and determination can meet the net zero target. If creativity and words are more for you, why not write a poem on the theme ‘Tread Gently on the Earth’ for this year’s Greener Henley Poetry Competition? Submit your entries before 31 May and a Poetry Reading session at Henley Library from 6.00 – 7.30pm on Tuesday 11 June will showcase some of the best entries. 

Nature lovers are in for a special treat at the Regal Picturehouse cinema on Wednesday 12 June from 8.00 – 10.15pm with a special preview and panel discussion of Wilding, based on the book of the same name by author Isabella Tree. It follows the journey of a young couple who set the land of their failing, 400-year-old farmed estate back to the wild. Local business owners can get involved in the interactive Greening Your Business workshop at the River & Rowing Museum on Thursday 13 June from 5.30 – 7.30pm. During the session you can learn how the green agenda will help your business cut costs, reduce waste and inspire customer loyalty. Garden lovers can round off the week exploring the wonderful green spaces at Badgemore School Open Gardens from 11.00am – 2pm on Sunday 16 June. 

All week long there will be a family-friendly Scavenger Hunt around 10 Henley shop windows, where crafted flowers and letters hidden inside them spell out a mystery word. For the whole of June, you can join in Henley’s Big Green Read and choose from eight enlightening books on nature.  

Kate Oldridge, Greener Henley’s Chair said: “Great Big Green Week is a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate and stand up for nature and fight climate change. There are a whole host of activities for everyone across the community to get involved in, and we anticipate events to be even more popular this year as people become increasingly aware of the need to protect our planet. We can all do something to help – whether that means taking part in our Nature Squared campaign, sharing something you’ve learnt at Great Big Green Week, or asking our local decision-makers to support climate and nature action. Let’s make this the biggest and boldest Great Big Green Week so far – so come out and meet us, get involved and take action!” 

More information about individual events and how they can be booked can be found on the Greener Henley website, https://greenerhenley.org.uk/great-big-green-week-2024/. Events are being updated all the time, so please check back for the latest updates, and to plan your day. 

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