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With the mass popularity of Pokémon GO – a game that successfully integrates technology with nature and the real world – it is no wonder that the phenomenon has sparked curiosity and created areas of interest regarding the game and how it influences our interaction with nature and technology as a unity.

Concerning this, the University of Southampton are hosting four public talks over the remaining summer weeks that address the topics of biodiversity and conservation in relation to the game. The talks are held as part of the university’s #Zebraversity movement and will take place at The Flying Aubergine cafe in East Park in the city centre. In addition to this, The Flying Aubergine have been kind enough to create an original cocktail for each of the four talks, combining two things that students know all too well – alcohol and education.

#Zebraversity in East Park – Queen’s Peace Fountain will be the rendezvous point before the Pokemon Hunt.

The event is part of the University of Southampton’s aim to engage with the public more and is run by the university’s own BioBlitz team – the same team which are also hosting other family events at the university’s Marwell Zany Zebra, ‘Zebraversity’, over the remainder of the summer.

Georgia Harper is a first year biology student at the university and is coincidentally the first speaker, her speech being held on Saturday the 6th August at 5pm. Titled Nintendo, Nature and Neck Ache: The Pokemon GO Phenomenon, the talk will be held at the aforementioned location in East Park.

Georgia Harper has stated “I’m running this event to encourage discussion about this new cultural phenomenon, and how it can affect our health, and our interaction with nature.”

“Essentially I’m interested in how humans interact with nature, and I want to discuss ideas as to how Pokémon might change our interactions”

Georgia has already thrown herself into the local scientific community, having previously hosted talks for The Science Room – an informal scientific community holding biweekly discussions at The Art House – allowing people from all walks to participate and learn about everything science, which pretty much encompasses everything in general.

The three subsequent speeches will take place on the 20th August, then 3rd September before concluding with the fourth and final talk on the 13th September.

In addition to the talks BioBlitz are also running a PokeBlitz event on the 6th August. This is a group walk through the city whilst playing Pokémon GO and simultaneously using another app called ‘Charity Miles’, an app which allows Pokémon hunters to generate money for WWF based on how many miles they walk. The Pokémon hunt will begin at 1pm at #Zebraversity in East Park at the Queens Peace Fountain and conclude at The Flying Aubergine just in time for the first of the four talks and that much deserved cocktail!

For further information on the talks, click here. For more information on the BioBlitz events and #Zebraversity, click here for their Facebook, here for their Twitter and here for their blog.

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