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School Visits!

Picture 447I would just like to say a really big thank you to the following schools who visited the Manchester Museum over the past couple of months. All the schools listed below had special sessions with the live animals and I have to say that it has been a real pleasure to teach such great kids. THANK YOU!! 


Cribden House School, Rawtenstall

Moston Lane School, Manchester

Cavendish Road Primary School, Manchester

Peel Hall School, Worsley, Manchester

Victoria Park School, Stretford

Oswold Road School, Chorlton

Aysnley School, Stoke on Trent

St Edwards School, Rochdale

St Francis School,  Co. Laois, Eire

St Cuthbert’s School, Withington

Meanwood Primary School, Rochdale

Knutsford High School, Manchester

Valley School, Bramhall  

Bretherton School, Lancashire

Grange School, Oldham

St Mary’s Primary School, Droylsden

All Saints Primary School, Gorton

I really hope all the schools had a very enjoyable trip, and if you were part of one of these visits, please feel free to comment below as I would love to know how your trip went.

Remembering the Lemur Leaf Frog!

lemurAnouk Bikkers, a super artist and animal conservationist based in Canada  has produced a fun and very informative memory game that helps kids to discover some fascinating facts about a wide variety of the world’s most endangered animals. Her new version even features the Lemur Leaf Frog, Hylomantis lemur, from Costa Rica! The game is a great educational tool and hopefully in the future we may stock the game in our Museum shop as part of our Sustainable Planet initiative.

Click below to find out  more about the game and to also watch a past video clip of lemur leaf frogs at the Manchester Museum –  it just jogged some nice memories!

The memory game : http://anouksark.com/blog/?p=709 and http://anouksark.com/blog/?page_id=87

Lemur leaf frogs where they belong: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7597110.stm

Fish to Frogs!


Ron Gagliardo and I looking into the worlds largest aquarium! probably..

Ron Gagliardo and I looking into the worlds largest aquarium! probably..

Well, I’m just about over my jetlag after flying back to Manchester, but what a wonderful visit to America it was. It was such a pleasure to meet everyone at Atlanta Zoo and also the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, who made me very welcome. My talk  seemed to be very well received and I even got to go behind the scenes and meet people at the Georgia Aquarium, which was such an amazing place. Here they have the largest Aquarium in the world – holding approx 6.3 million gallons of saltwater!  

Big SaturdayBack to Manchester, and to water of a different kind :-),  where we had a great ‘Big Saturday’ at the Museum last weekend. It was so nice to see so many interested people attend the session, and great to meet those who came especially for the frog talk. Thanks a million. I would also like to say a quick thanks to the many teachers who came to the learning team’s talk at the Museum yesterday. I hope you enjoyed your visit as much as I enjoyed meeting you all!  

 Manchester Museum: Video and pics from Go Green Big Saturday on the Enquire blog http://is.gd/UQjH:

Atlanta Zoo: http://www.zooatlanta.org/

Atlanta Botanical Gardens: http://www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org/home.do

Georgia Aquarium: http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/

Hunting salamanders in Atlanta!

IMG_6291lrYesterday I had the most amazing day looking for salamanders a couple of hours North of Atlanta in the mountains with my friend Ron Gagliardo and also Robert Hill of ABG, it was wonderful. We set off to look for a very rare species that only occurs in the limestone rock crevices of Pigeon Mountain. The weather’s been really hot and dry since I arrived in Atlanta, which has been great for me, but not so great for finding amphibians. We first searched the streams at the foot of the mountain and to my surprise found several species within a matter of minutes. These creatures are nothing like the newts you find under stones back in England, these move as fast as a lizard and can be really hard to catch as they dive for cover in fast-flowing streams. Anyway, we found some dusky, long-tailed, and even red salamanders living under stones right by the stream, superb. These were swabbed for chytrid by Robert, who commits lots of his own time to important related conservation fieldwork.


Robert Hill taking chytrid swab

Robert Hill taking chytrid swab

We then went up near the top of the mountain, where sheer rock faces dominate, to search the damp crevices for the Pigeon Mountain species that is so elusive. After some searching, Robert’s torch picked out a tiny slimy tail, but there was just no chance of getting a better view. Then we saw another specimen just within reach! After photographing the black and gold little creature we popped him back and headed for the cool cave system. We entered with torches and scanned the walls. Literally within a minute of entering, cave salamanders were everywhere, beautiful orange and black spotted ones, totally unconcerned with our presence. It was amazing!

My sincere thanks go to Ron and Robert for allowing me the experience, cheers Guys! Check out the tab at the top entitled “Salamanders” for a few more photos from yesterday.