On Saturday June 8th, the host of BBC One's 'One Show', wildlife reporter Miranda Krestovnikoff, who is also president of the RSPB, helped to unveil a one-of-a-kind bronze relief model sculpture as part of the launch of the Living Levels 'Gwent Levels Revealed' project.
The sculpture, created by local artist Ruben Enyon shows a cross-section of the Gwent Levels landscape, detailing the historic drainage system and sea defences and their role in maintaining the habitats and landscape so that farming, industry and communities could thrive there. RSPB’s Visitor Experience Manager Helen Gottschalk told the crowds how it been quite a challenge to design, manufacture, deliver and install the 2.4m2 squared model which was cast by MB Fine Arts foundry - South Wales’ only foundry specialising in the production of bronze, iron and aluminium casting for artists and sculptors. Luckily Newport Wetlands have a fantastic network of willing volunteers and after several days of toil, the model was successfully installed!
The event was well attended by local Community Councillors, groups and societies as well as families coming to enjoy the activities on offer during the day including coracle demonstrations, prehistoric flint-making, cave painting and an opportunity to ‘meet a Roman soldier’! Local MP Jessica Morden also dropped in to show her support – it was great to see so many enthusiastic people gathering to discover more about the wonderful history and heritage of the Gwent Levels!
The model is only one of the new exhibits coming to the RSPB’s Environmental Education and Visitor Centre thanks to National Lottery Heritage Funding. Other exhibits include a small exhibition space including an Augmented Reality (AR) interactive map of the Levels by Andy O’Rourke (Malarky Arts), a poem by famous local poet W H Davies and a range of replica prehistoric bones, tools and artefacts from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age for handling.
Later in the year, there will also be live-feed cameras to help visitors see the sometimes-hidden wildlife that inhabits the reedbeds of the National Nature Reserve. We encourage to make a visit to the Wetlands to check out these exciting new exhibits for yourselves!