The Science of Survival

Do you have what it takes to survive in the wild? How do animals forage for food and keep safe? At this year’s Glasgow Science Festival, we’re exploring the science of survival with the RSPB.  We spoke to Learning Officer Hannah Grist about what’s in store.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Hannah, and I’m a Learning Officer for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, based in Glasgow. I am part of a team called the Giving Nature a Home in Glasgow Project, which involves working alongside schools, community groups and the public to celebrate and improve all the amazing green spaces across the city.

What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

We are an enthusiastic bunch, and spend a lot of time thinking up new and exciting ways to get everyone outside and interacting with nature. Our event this year is called the Science of Survival, but could generally be described as giving not-so-grown-ups a chance to play in the mud, build dens, make fire and toast marshmallows: who wouldn’t be excited about that?!

The Matrix, District 9, Moon… what sci-fi classic floats your… uhh… spaceship?

I recently watched Alien for the first time (I know, I don’t know how I missed this classic either). It’s a brilliantly eerie film with a female scientist and hero, which is always great to see.

2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and among other things, we’re exploring how eating insects might be the future. What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve eaten?

I previously worked tracking rhinos in the Namib desert, and we ended up eating something like corned beef hash every night, with anything else we could find during the day added in: I haven’t been able to look at a tin of corned beef since.

Impress us with your favourite science fact or joke.

That’s a really difficult one! I’m currently being excited about swifts. Did you know they eat, sleep and mate whilst flying, catch raindrops in the air to drink, and make nests out of spit?

Look out for Hannah and the RSPB team on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June from 1-3.30pm in Kelvingrove Park. Learn survival tips, build a den, cook outdoors and more! These events coincide with our weekend of science activities at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. For details visit our website.


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