Thank you!

I would just like to say a big thanks to Jonathon and Arnold, two of our Museum Volunteers, who helped me take out the Darwin related outreach objects last Saturday to the East Manchester Festival. We had a fab day and it was fantastic to meet everyone and contribute to such a great community event.

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Whist on the subject, I would also like to say a big thanks to the following schools who visited the Manchester Museum over the past couple of months. The schools listed below brought in nearly 600 chidren to have  special sessions with the live animals and I have to say its been a real pleasure to teach such great kids.            THANK YOU!! 

William Hulme Grammar, Manchester  

St Marys C of E, Droylsden

Cornerstones, Warrington

Ince St Mary Primary, Wigan

St Pauls school, Rawtenstall

The Meadows, Blackley

Barlow Hall Nursery, Chorlton

Our Lady’s Sports College, Blackley

St Edwards Primary, Rochdale

Swinton High School, Manchester

St Edmonds Arrowsmith, Wigan

Meanwood Primary, Rochdale   

New Moston Primary, Manchester

St Mary’s, Burnley

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Update from George

You may remember me telling you about of my friend George Madani in Australia,   and that I promised to keep you updated on his exploits. Well, George has been way since, and, having only just heard how he has been getting on, I’d like share his latest correspondance and super photos with you:

Dear Andrew,
I hope this email finds you well and that things are a bit warmer at your end of the world. Unfortunately I’ll have to keep this email short as I have only just returned from 5 weeks away and due for another 5 week stint tommorow morning starting at 4 am :s

The Kimberley was great. We had a lot of unseasonal rain (i.e storms in the dry season) which made our work difficult, turning roads to mud and leaving me without dry clothes for a couple weeks. It did however bring out some very special frogs! In particular, Notaden weigeli, the Kimberley Spadefoot!! Finally after 5 years of surveys we managed to find a whole heap of them, across many areas, increasing their known range by at least 100kms! If you remember the glue exuding ant eating frogs I was telling you about, well they are the same sort of fellas, except with a highly restricted range in acid sands amongst sandstone outcrops and only found in the North West part of the Kimberley. When I saw one for the first time I had to sit down as I was so overwhelmed. I sat and watched one eat ants for over an hour before picking it up to see how strong their glue was compared to their cousins. Needless to say I left with one hand glued firmly shut which took days for the dried glue to peel off.

The next adventure will see me acting as an ecological guide on a camel trek through the Simpson Desert. My colleagues were working out there only a month ago and the only word they could use to describe the place after one of the largest rainfall events in recent times was FROGS!! Fingers crossed it will still be wet out there so I’ll do my best to see what I can find!

Below are a few pics of some of the critters we turned up, including a newly described species of skink which we collected the type specimen of back in 2006.
All the best and happy frogging!!

George

 

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FROG AND TADPOLE STUDY GROUP OF NEW SOUTH WALES 

The Horniman Museum

I thought perhaps you might be interested to hear about a place I visited recently –  the Horniman  Museum in London. I was there specifically to meet with Aquarium Curators  to discuss an important amphibian conservation research collaboration but also got the opportunity to check out their new Aquarium.  

Apart from Manchester, there are very few Museum’s in the UK who maintain live amphibians. However, the Horniman, which has recently upgraded all its live displays, is now another which does.  It’s many years since I last visited the Horniman  – and what a difference the new Aquarium development has made to the place. It has been completely re-done and, apart from fish, it now includes live displays of amphibians, corals, and even Jellyfish. It is really wonderful, and following our productive meeting I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the new facilities by the Aquarium Curator and his assistant James. Both these guys are so knowledgable and enthusiastic about the work they are doing at the Horniman that it was a real pleasure to spend the afternoon in their company. One of the amphibian exhibits that particularly caught my eye was one which focused on British Pond Life (pictured above). This was a  super exhibit with species displayed together on full public view. If you would like see more of this exhibit please see the video clip in the updated ‘Live’ section of the blog.

In the ‘Live’ section you can also see other videos of Aquarium Curator Jamie Craggs, who has been hugely instrumental in transforming the place, explaining to me his own interest in jellyfish and his passion for coral conservation.  One of their main current aims is to develop and study the reproduction of native jellyfish in captivity and due to Jamie and his assistant’s skills, the Horniman is now leading the way forward in this area within the UK . 

The Horniman Museum was actually one of the very first places to ever display aquatic exhibits to the public and its history dates back to Victorian times when pioneers such as Philip Henry Gosse were in their heyday. Today, the Horniman proudly acknowledges its roots and even has a replica of Gosse’s Aquarium on display. I would highly recommend anyone visiting London with any spare time on their hands to pay a visit to The Horniman, which is only about a fifteen to twenty minute train journey from London Bridge.     

http://www.horniman.ac.uk/collections/aquarium.php

Good Vibrations!

A link for those who missed a piece in the Telegraph regarding Leaf frog communication, hope it’s of interest!    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/7782831/Tree-frogs-communicate-with-good-vibrations.html