STEM Festival 2021

Northumberland National Park Authority is hosting its first Science and Technology ‘STEM’ Festival this September at The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre and at popular locations across the National Park.

The STEM Festival, which is funded by Reece Foundation and supported by Tarmac, will encourage visitors to explore, discover and understand the National Park through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and will inspire people to help protect, conserve and enhance the Park’s special landscape for future generations to enjoy.

The six-week festival, curated by the National Park, will run from Friday 10 September to Thursday 21 October 2021 and will include a wide-variety of STEM-led activities including Little Larks Forest School, clay making workshops, navigation courses and much more. There will also be tours where visitors can find out about the fascinating Victorian history of Catcleugh Reservoir and visit the Black House; the last remaining dwelling that was built to house the reservoir construction workers and their families in the late 19th Century.

A new seasonal exhibition, delivered in partnership with The Common Room, will also feature at The Sill during the STEM Festival. Entitled ‘Graft & Glory – the story of what the region’s engineers invented, innovated and campaigned for’, the exhibition highlights the stories of how the North East’s engineers made mining a safer experience in the region and worldwide, and how this spirit of innovation still lives on through present-day engineering companies.

Sarah Burn, Head of Engagement at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “Science and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are at the heart of everything the National Park stands for and aims to achieve. The STEM Festival provides opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to explore, discover and understand the National Park to help protect, conserve and enhance the landscape for the future. Whether that’s helping children and young people to learn and understand about different habitats, landscape formation or how humans have interacted with the landscape over thousands of years, or to be part of research and technology that can enhance the way we manage the landscape in a sensitive sustainable way; STEM in protected landscapes is key to all aspects of not just maintaining but developing and enhancing the National Park.

“Officers across the Northumberland National Park use advances in STEM subjects to enhance best practise and test out new ways of working, from Rangers who plant willow to provide early pollen sources for bees, to ecologists who use rods to measure peat depths. We can’t wait to showcase what our staff do and inspire the next generation of National Park officers.”

Emily Tench, Programme & Engagement Manager at The Common Room, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with The Sill and bringing our exhibition out to communities in Northumberland to engage with the heritage of this region, and also think about current opportunities in engineering.”

A learning programme will be available for schools and families, where resources including STEM related sessions can be accessed. This will include opportunities to visit sites of special scientific interest (SSI), partake in competitions at school and undertake field work on geology and river walks. There will also be a careers programme, including opportunities to hear from specialists who care and protect for the National Park landscape including Gill Thompson, Ecologist, Chris Jones, Archaeologist and Jen Shaw, Conservation and Environment Manager, in weekly online digital sessions.

To book tickets for Northumberland National Park’s STEM Festival, visit and filter STEM Festival events. For information on the learning programme, contact [email protected].

Stay up to date using the hashtag #NNPSTEMFEST on social media.