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Visits that bring a :-)

Just a short note about a couple of heart warming visits we have had recently. One was when some great kids visited us from Oakfield House School for a special hands-on session with the animals. All the pupils  seemed to really enjoy the session and learn loads. They were a fabulous bunch and conducting the session was a real joy.   Thanks for coming all the way from Preston, and hope you come to visit us again soon! http://www.oakfieldhouseschool.co.uk/

Another special visit we have just had was from Bash and Sally Akhtar, whose Daughter, Shazia had come runner up in our ‘Name the Chameleon’ competition.  Shazia, together with her little brother Faris, got to grips with almost every animal behind-the-scenes.  Apparently, Shazia now has some great pictures of her visit to show her teacher and classmates, and Faris, who now wants a snake for his upcoming Birthday, is sounding like he’ll turn out a budding little herpetologist. Great stuff! 🙂

Forthcoming Events

Thought it would be good to highlight some forthcoming events for those people who live locally. On Saturday (13th February), we are having a wonderful open day at the Mueum to celebrate Darwin’s Birthday.  We have an amazing array of wonderful objects and activities lined up, and specialists for you to meet from across the University. It also provides a great  opportunity to come and see some of our amazing animals at close quarters. Why not come along and join in the celebrations – its going to be a great day: http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/whatson/february/ http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/whatson/february/

Over the next month I am also pleased to be supporting the British Science Association and will be representing the Learning Team and The Manchester Museum whilst conducting presentations at two local SciBars.   The first will be on the 1st of March at the Knutsford SciBar and the second will be at the Bollington SciBar on the 12th April. Both talks will focus on amphibian conservation and I will also be taking some very cool frogs along with me. If you live nearby, why not come along – it would be great to meet you!  


Filming with National Geographic

The past month has been an extremely busy period, with a variety of projects underway. One of the things I am pleased to report is that our rainforest exhibit was    stripped out and has now been fully re-sealed. Although further work is required, including fitting a new floor and planting out, its great to know the exhibit will be complete and ready for the animals to go back in at the end of this month. Over the past few weeks National Geographic have also visited us to film. This has been particularly exciting, and filming has taken place in many areas around the University. This week  they captured the remaining footage required in the Museum. It’s been great fun working with the team, several of  whom came all the way from New Zealand especially to film. The day before yesterday I was lifting Chameleons off branches in Madagascar –  well, perhaps I should say in the lab of our Photon Science Institute,  through the courtesy of Mark Dickinson, and with the magic of blue screen technology , where tropical rainforest and lemur calls get added later! 

Earlier in the shoot, the team filmed a variety of our frogs for separate National Geographic programmes. They also got some great footage of the Panther Chameleon on display in the Museum (picture: courtesy of Dave Green). See below for a related video clip. 




Many thanks to Suzanne Grieve for sending the link regarding ‘winterkill’ and what to do to help frogs survive icy spells. Because many frogs hibernate at the bottom of ponds they are prone to dying when the ponds freeze over. With the recent weather changes we have experienced in England, and repeated thaws and freezing, it has been particularly bad for hibernating frogs. Lets hope we over the worst, but if we get further freezing, or for something to remember next year, the advice provided is definately worth remembering:  http://blog.gardenersworld.com/2010/01/26/dead-frogs/