Award-winning BBC wildlife TV presenters Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan have become official ‘Owlbassadors’ for Bath’s forthcoming sculpture trail – Minerva’s Owls of Bath.
The two presenters, who currently co-present the BBC’s popular Springwatch, Autumnwatch and Winterwatch series, are both keen owl fans and swooped at the opportunity to be involved with the Owls of Bath event, which begins on 25 June 2018.
Michaela said: “My first wildlife presenting was on a children’s show called OWL TV, which stood for ‘Outdoors and Wildlife’ so it seems very fitting to be an ambassador for ‘Minerva’s Owls of Bath’ sculpture trail. I love the thought of colourful sculptured owls landing all over Bath – it’s a Really Wild idea!”
For Chris Packham, the project has a double attraction, and the opportunity to combine two of his great loves – wildlife and painting. Chris has signed up as an official Minerva’s Owl artist and will be painting one of the giant owl sculptures to help raise funds for the UK Little Owlconservation project.
Chris said: “I’m very flattered to be asked to owl-it for Bath this summer. The Little Owl is not a native species but it has won a place in our hearts and is now in serious decline. So this project is about history and natural history and about time and our perception of it. About our world changing in that time. I was going to go ‘naturalistic’ but now I’m thinking of anthropomorphising my owl. Maybe personalising it a bit, giving it a bit of my own history.”
The Owls of Bath will be nesting on the streets and high spots of the city and surrounding towns for three months this summer. Around 100 large Owl and smaller Owlet sculptures will be on display, each individually decorated by talented artists, and sponsored by local businesses, schools and community groups. Each of the large Owls will be fitted with an interactive beacon which will send information and interactive questions about that Owl to people’s phones as they approach.
At the end of the trail, the sculptures will be auctioned off in aid of four local charities including the new RUH Cancer Centre, Bath Young Carers Centre, Roman Baths Archway Project and the UK Little Owl Project.
Businesses interested in sponsoring an Owl are being urged to act quickly so they don’t miss out on the chance to be associated with this high-profile public art event. Smaller owlet sculptures can also be sponsored for schools, community groups and charities. Sponsorship packs are available on the website at www.minervasowls.org.
Amongst the latest businesses to sign up as Owl sponsors are The Ivy Brasserie Bath, The Silver Shop, Bath Quays, Bath Aqua Glass and Milsom Place. Schools and colleges who have so far confirmed their involvement include Twerton Infants School, Monkton Prep School, The Royal High Junior School and The Paragon School. They join headline event sponsors SouthGate Bath and Gold sponsors MHA Monahans, Allen Ford, Norland College, Bath Per Cent Club and Bath BID.
Packham and Strachan join Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis, wildlife photographer Andy Rouse and BBC historian Professor Bethany Hughes as official ambassadors for Minerva’s Owls of Bath.
Michael Eavis CBE said: ‘We’re great owl fans here at Worthy Farm and have even have owlsliving behind the Pyramid Stage. Seeing giant painted owls all over Bath this summer should be quite a sight and I’m looking forward to an owl-prowl once they take up their perches later in the year”.