Celebrating IW UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status at Mardi Gras

The New Carnival Company’s (NCC) colourful Mardi Gras on Saturday (29 June) brought a carnival atmosphere to the streets of Ryde, while showcasing everything that is special about our beautiful Island.

More than 1000 participants from 35 local schools and community groups were joined by spectators who lined the route in celebration of the Biosphere Island theme. The Island was awarded UNESCO Biosphere reserve status just a few weeks ago, which means it is now recognised as one of the best places in the world to explore the sustainable way people interact with their natural environment.

In the months leading up to the event, each Mardi Gras group was partnered with a local
organisation to help them learn about their topic, and create incredible costumes and puppets representing various elements which make the Island so special.

Frankie Goldspink, creative director at NCC, said, “What a brilliant day. Everyone pulled together as a team to put on a really spectacular show that the Island can be proud of, and we’re over the moon that so many people turned out in support. So much has been achieved through the collaborations between local schools, community groups and partnering organisations, and many of these relationships will continue into the future.”

IW AONB communications and projects officer Joel Bateman worked on the biosphere bid and said, “Wow, the whole day was utterly fantastic and really is the culmination of everything IW AONB have been doing for the last three years. When you’re working in conservation its sometimes difficult to get people enthused about what you are trying to do, but this event brought the local community together to learn all about biospheres. I can’t think of a better celebration for achieving UNESCO Biosphere status. Biospheres are all about ongoing sustainability, so the fact that the Island’s younger generation will now take forward what they’ve learnt is incredibly exciting.”

Next year’s Mardi Gras will take place on Saturday, June 27, with the theme ‘The Story of Carnival’, and before that you can join NCC’s magical illuminated ‘Dark Nights’ event at Brading Roman Villa on Saturday November 16.