Today we visited Myerscough College in Lancashire, where Helen Murphy and Caroline Bowden (pictured) were kind enough to show us all around the Animal Academy there. The visit was fresh on the heels of a visit by the Animal Studies team from Myerscough to the museum this past week, which was specially organised by Helen.
This afternoon we was able to see the department at Myerscough that all the staff work in – from seeing the happy snuffling Kune Kune Pigs, that sit when asked, :-), to the colourful and very healthy bearded dragons that seem to have permeant grin on their faces as they meet you at the college’s reception!
Helen herself is a star. She originally started working at the Animal Academy back in 2009, and, after further developing her knowledge of reptiles, has helped extensively improve the reptile room at the college to ensure that all the animals are maintained there under the best conditions they can possibly provide. She undertook much of the development as part of her studies for her FdSc in Animal Welfare, and her additions to the collection have included a Panther Chameleon, more Bearded Dragons and Leopard Geckos, Uromastyx, Plated Lizards, Royal Python, Redfoot and Sulcata Tortoises, and a Crested Gecko. As well as these new additions, the college also has some reptiles that have have been with them for many years, including a European Glass Lizard, which many of the staff worked with when they themselves were students.
Last year a foundation degree group undertook a project to convert an old fish tank in the foyer of the Animal Academy into a poison-dart frog exhibit (pictured above), and both Helen and her colleague Emma Harrison put a lot of time and effort into researching and helping the students achieve their goal. This started Helen’s fascination with amphibians, which led her to contact their former student Adam for some advice with the project. Adam went out to the college to assist in the new venture, and since the unit has started working with more and more amphibians. Although a large revamp for the Animal Academy is on the cards, which all the team are clearly looking forward to, the college currently offers a wide range of Animal Studies courses, from Level 1 to Degree level.
For more information, visit www.myerscough.ac.uk
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