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Macaulay Brings Bugs, Birds and Virtual Landscapes to Tech Fest 2006

The Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen invites families to come along to a family activity weekend this Saturday and Sunday (16 and 17 September 2006) at the Beach Ball Room and Leisure Centre, to try their hand at the ‘Grazing Puzzle’ And the radio tracking of ‘beetles’. As part of Techfest, the annual Aberdeen and North East of Scotland science festival, families will also be encouraged to explore virtual landscapes and give their views on possible future landscapes in the Aberdeenshire region.

The Grazing, Bugs and Birds activity is a drop in workshop, and will be held in the Beach Leisure Centre. Families can attend whenever suits them throughout both the Saturday and Sunday. The activity will teach children and adults about what makes a good habitat for bugs and meadow pipits, and also how grazing management affects both the quality and abundance of these habitats.

Wildlife Ecologist at the Macaulay Institute, Dr Pete Dennis said: “Grazing animals, such as sheep and cattle, have had a major influence on shaping our landscape for hundreds of years. EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms affecting the way we farm mean that the once common sight on many of our hillsides of lots of sheep may very soon be a thing of the past. Fewer sheep should help to restore wildlife but a complete loss of cattle may be detrimental to upland biodiversity.”

Exploring Virtual Landscapes will take place in the Beach Ballroom and will be held as sessions running on the hour every hour from ten till two on both days. In the virtual theatre, computers will be used to demonstrate the potential impact of changes in land use on the landscape. The demonstrations will focus on changes in woodlands and prospective windfarm developments, and participants will be given the opportunity to research landscape visualisations and vote on change.

The Macaulay Institute is the premier land use research institute in the UK. Two hundred and seventy staff are based at the Macaulay Institute at Craigiebuckler in Aberdeen. The Macaulay Institute aims to be an international leader in research on the use of rural land resources for the benefit of people and the environment and is involved in research across the globe; from Scotland to Chile and China. More about the Macaulay Institute can be found at www.macaulay.ac.uk.

(Ends)For further information contact: Karen Sage Tricker PR Office 01224 646491 Mobile 07795 522 012 Email ksage@trickerpr.com