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Froglife Big Saturday!

Come and join Froglife for a fun filled wildlife day at the fabulous Big Saturday on Saturday 9th July!

We are working with Bolton Museum, the Froglife team, and other organisations and experts to host a special event with activities and talks – all on an aquatic wildlife theme.  There will be a chance to meet some of the stunning live amphibians from the Museum’s vivarium, learn about tropical fish conservation from Bolton Museum’s top Aquarists, and inspect aquatic insects with our experts from the Museum’s Entomology department. The day will also feature live rare fish, native reptiles, tortoises, and unusual crayfish. There will be plenty of opportunities to have a go at arts and crafts, and to find out more about local volunteering opportunities and local places to explore.

There will be a selection of fun activities for families, young people and enthusiasts to help spread the message about the value of water for wildlife. Our theme focuses on the fact that some diverse and incredible species depend on aquatic habitats, and this will be a chance to learn more, find out how to spot some of these animals, and see some of them up close and personal.

The Froglife Big Saturday will also include a programme of exciting and informative talks aimed at adults and young people over 12yrs about global conservation. These will include opportunities to watch films about our native toad from Bufo Film Productions, tips on European wildlife spotting by Matt, and a presentation by myself on tropical amphibian conservation. A number of staff and scientists from Froglife and The University of Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences, including Sam Taylor, John Walker, Victoria Ogilvy, Amanda Bamford, Katy Woodburn, and Andrew Dean, will also be sharing their work and research about amphibian conservation, amphibian declines, crayfish, aquatic carnivorous plants, and lake phytoplankton.

Talk schedule and Info Here!

Please come and join in the fun from 11am to 4pm. No booking is necessary and entrance to the Museum and to do most of the activities is free.

Froglife     Bolton Museum Aquarium    Freshwater Biological Association

 British Chelonia Group   Manchester Museum’s Entomology Department

Faculty of Life Sciences  Youth Board  Amphibian Ark

Alive in Asia

Last week I unexpectedly bumped into one of our past vivarium volunteers, Andrew Johnson. It’s several years ago since Andrew worked in the department, but he’s developed such an interest in frogs that after studying for his Zoology Degree here at Manchester he took off to Borneo in search of some very cool species. Chatting with him brought memories of finding unusual Asian frogs flooding back.

It’s been a while since I first went to Asia to look for frogs, but my memories of finding some amazing species are still as vivid as ever. From the minute I arrived on the Continent I could hardly contain my excitement, and I remember waking early the very first morning to witness a very beautiful rising red sun before heading towards the rainforest. The opportunity to enter a new rainforest environment where I had never been before or had any idea of the frog calls absolutely thrilled me to bits ))

Apart from finding some amazing  snakes during that trip I found some really incredible frogs, from the large tree-dwelling gliding frog Rhacophorous nigropalmatus, to the strange looking ground-dweller Leptobrachium hendricksoni (pictured). Below are a few photos of just some of the species I came across during my time researching frog DNA in Thailand . These were found mainly at night in the darkness of the rainforest, where I am always in my element )) If you have ever been in the rainforest at night, turned off your torch, and just stood there silently in the darkness amidst the smells and sounds of nature you will know exactly what I mean – you become nature, you become at one with the forest, you feel truly alive.

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I would love to go back to Asia again one day, and the rainforests of Borneo sound like a true froglovers paradise (I somewhat feel a plan forming )) Andrew told me that during his 3 months trip to the island he found and photographed a huge variety of different species, many rare, and some presumed as yet undescribed. New species of animals are being found in this wonderful area of the world every year, but sadly many are also probably disappearing before ever even being discovered. If you would like to hear more about the conservation of the rainforest in Borneo, or indeed view Andrew’s super website where you can see all the species he found and photographed, please follow the links below.

Find out which frog species were found by Andrew on his trip to Borneo and see his wonderful photographs

Find out how important it is to conserve the rainforest at the Heart of Borneo and what you can do to help

Environmental Awareness!

Dr Alexa Jeanes, Lead Educator

Over the past week we have been busy developing some new student programmes and arranging events linked with our new Living Worlds Gallery and the Environment. Today has seen the first of a new session trialed with students that has been fully developed my colleague Dr Alexa Jeanes. It aims to give a first insight for students doing their GCSE’s into what it entails to be a scientist studying different environments and the sampling techniques that can be used to assess and evaluate the animals contained within. It has been a fantastic session and Alexa is really pleased with how successful the first one has gone.

Tomorrow we also have a super event for all students which is totally free and which starts in the afternoon (12-4) with a Student Allotment Party where students can come for a biodiverse allotment party with live music and workshops to celebrate Manchester Museum’s new allotment. In the evening (6-9), all students are welcome to come to a late night gallery opening  with live music, workshops, and biodiversity related things to see and do, including tours of our Vivarium and an opportunity to see our live animals up close and personal. The Allotment Party and the evening  Student Social has been fully organized by my enthusiastic colleague Naomi Kashiwagi and should be great fun. Adam and I will be joined by our super volunteers Xaali and Elena on the night, and if you’re a student in Manchester, please feel free come along to meet us, our friends, – and other animals!

Please click the links highlighted in the text above to find out more about each.

Find out more about our Key stage 3 & 4 Educational sessions on offer here

Matt in Milos

Milos Viper (90cm long) (c) Matt Wilson

At the moment Matt is on his way back from the Greek Island of Milos, where he has been to see and photograph the endemic Milos Viper, (Macrovipera schweizeri).   The viper, which has been endangered for many years, is a large and highly venomous species that’s extremely formidable.

I know Matt has been wanting to see one in the wild for quite some time, but it’s a species that is now well protected and to even go searching for them has required special permission. He was lucky enough to get this and find several on his trip. Pictured above is the largest specimen he came across.Check out Matt’s superb reptile amphibian blog here: