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The Urban Naturalist

Urban Naturalist Moth

I have recently got involved in organising The Urban Naturalist at Manchester Museum.

‘Friendly, practical workshops run by leading naturalists. From wild food-foraging and composting to bird song and insect identification, explore biodiversity on our doorstep’.

Last months edition was hosted in the Collection Study Centre by Dr Michael Dockery, one of our resident entomologists at The Manchester Museum.

We explored survival strategies found within several species of moths, including some species masquerading as bird droppings and those that blend perfectly into their environment.


Dr Michael Dockery © Matthew O’Donnell

Michael had also brought some fascinating examples of moths and butterflies from the museum’s collection to give us a close up view, including the largest species of butterfly in the world – Queen Alexandra’s birdwing (Ornithoptera alexandrae). This certainly trumped the largest British species the Swallowtail (Papilio machao) for size, but perhaps not in beauty!

We also had the opportunity to try our hand at working out the distribution of wingspan variance within a population of moths!

I think I can speak for the rest of the participants in wholeheartedly thanking Michael for his fun and informative session; I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and certainly learnt a lot.

The 27th of March Urban Naturalist will be presented by David Winnard (discoverthewild.co.uk)one of the most respected foragers and naturalists in the North of England. In this workshop he will explore the edible, medicinal and poisonous plants and fungi found in the Greater Manchester area.  We will learn how to locate and identify them from one and other safely. How to forage sustainably, what laws we need to be aware of and a whole lot more!

The 24th of April workshop will take a look at the relationship between people and nature in cities, and explore ideas around community engagement. Join Dr Luke Blazejewski (Vimeo), a local wildlife photographer and conservationist, who will be sharing some of his experiences as an urban naturalist, and encouraging people to develop new ways of helping communities engage with the wildlife on their doorstep.

For those interested in getting involved in future Urban Naturalist sessions;

Keep up to date with the events page on the Museum Website

Sign up via the Museum Eventbrite page

The Urban Naturalist is part of Museum Meets, The Manchester Museum’s year round programme for adults.


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