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Vivarium ‘Live’

Anyone interested in what goes on behind the scenes in the vivarium may want to check out a clip filmed minutes ago on Steve’s phone. After the response of the Iguana footage shown live, we thought it might be a nice idea to give a quick overview of a few other animals we have in the collection and what’s going on so you can ask us some questions and have them answered live. It’s not great quality and also not exhaustive, but hopefully there is enough to let you know what we’re doing. So, literally anything you would like to see or find out about please just get in touch and we’ll make a short video clip and try and answer as many of your questions as possible. Your answer will also feature on Youtube and in the ‘Live’ section (at the top of the blog).

Of course I can’t talk about all these different species without mentioning the author of The Origin of The Species – Charles Darwin, and our superb new exhibition based on his life, which opens tomorrow:  (http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/whatson/exhibitions/theevolutionist/)

A-Level study days

Manchester student with Phylomedusine treefrogI have just heard news from Louise Sutherland, our super enthusiastic Curator of Learning (Secondary and Post-16), that due to the massive amount of interest in our newest A-Level offering, ‘Frogs and Physics’, it is to be extended. The sessions, developed in collaboration with Louise and also Dr Mark Dickinson, are now fully booked. However, the decision means many other schools interested in booking the free sessions will a get a great further opportunity.  

The unique session, based in the Museum and the Photon Science Institute at Manchester, allows students to get to grips with the latest hi-tech equipment and to understand how this is helping us investigate the optical and structural properties of amphibian skin:   http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7464437.stm  

 For further details on the A-Level sessions, please see below: 



To keep up to date with all the freshest Manchester Museum news why not keep on eye on our twitter page: http://twitter.com/mcrmuseum

Chameleon Competition!

This coming Saturday is the very start of our year-long ‘Darwin Extravaganza’ at the Manchester Museum. It kicks off with ‘Nature Discovery’, a new exploration area where our younger visitors and their families can explore nature and evolution by handling objects in an environment designed for fun, family learning.

Although we won’t have live animals as a regular fixture in this area,  those people who attend this Saturday between 11am and 1pm will have a great opportunity to get up really close to a wide variety of animals from the Vivarium, including the amazing treefrogs and our beautiful female Panther Chameleon.  It’s a bit sad, but we still haven’t got a name for her – which is where we are hoping you can help us out!

Starting on Saturday, and in line with our ‘Nature Discovery’ opening, we are running a competition to help name our Chameleon (above).  All you have to do is send us the name you choose, together with why you think chameleons are so special (in 25 words or less – this can even be a rhyme if you like!), and you could be a winner.  The competition runs until the end of the month, and the prize for the winner is a copy of David Attenborough’s book ‘Life in Cold Blood’  – and a special personal tour of our Vivarium for you and a friend! Here you will get to hold, feed, and have your photograph taken with the chameleon you have named, together with a fantastic behind- the-scenes tour of our tropical frog collection. Its easy, free to enter, and open to all. Simply call in on Saturday and fill out an entry or post your entry on-line using the ‘leave a comment box’ below this manchesterfrogblog post!  (please include your age and note that your entry and details will not appear on the site) Good luck!  –  and hope to be meeting you soon!

For more information on our Nature Discovery area see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOsNbXQdAUM

and for dates of events of our Darwin Extravaganza see:  http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/whatson/exhibitions/theevolutionist/

School Visits!

Picture 447I would just like to say a really big thank you to the following schools who visited the Manchester Museum over the past couple of months. All the schools listed below had special sessions with the live animals and I have to say that it has been a real pleasure to teach such great kids. THANK YOU!! 


Cribden House School, Rawtenstall

Moston Lane School, Manchester

Cavendish Road Primary School, Manchester

Peel Hall School, Worsley, Manchester

Victoria Park School, Stretford

Oswold Road School, Chorlton

Aysnley School, Stoke on Trent

St Edwards School, Rochdale

St Francis School,  Co. Laois, Eire

St Cuthbert’s School, Withington

Meanwood Primary School, Rochdale

Knutsford High School, Manchester

Valley School, Bramhall  

Bretherton School, Lancashire

Grange School, Oldham

St Mary’s Primary School, Droylsden

All Saints Primary School, Gorton

I really hope all the schools had a very enjoyable trip, and if you were part of one of these visits, please feel free to comment below as I would love to know how your trip went.

Fish to Frogs!


Ron Gagliardo and I looking into the worlds largest aquarium! probably..

Ron Gagliardo and I looking into the worlds largest aquarium! probably..

Well, I’m just about over my jetlag after flying back to Manchester, but what a wonderful visit to America it was. It was such a pleasure to meet everyone at Atlanta Zoo and also the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, who made me very welcome. My talk  seemed to be very well received and I even got to go behind the scenes and meet people at the Georgia Aquarium, which was such an amazing place. Here they have the largest Aquarium in the world – holding approx 6.3 million gallons of saltwater!  

Big SaturdayBack to Manchester, and to water of a different kind :-),  where we had a great ‘Big Saturday’ at the Museum last weekend. It was so nice to see so many interested people attend the session, and great to meet those who came especially for the frog talk. Thanks a million. I would also like to say a quick thanks to the many teachers who came to the learning team’s talk at the Museum yesterday. I hope you enjoyed your visit as much as I enjoyed meeting you all!  

 Manchester Museum: Video and pics from Go Green Big Saturday on the Enquire blog http://is.gd/UQjH:

Atlanta Zoo: http://www.zooatlanta.org/

Atlanta Botanical Gardens: http://www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org/home.do

Georgia Aquarium: http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/

Bank Holiday Talk!

Apart from giving talks for under 12’s in the Museum, over the forthcoming months I am also very pleased to be giving several other presentations. Its always a pleasure for me to talk on my favourite subject – but be warned that its hard to stop me once I start! During some of the talks I will be highlighting the plight of the worlds amphibians and talking from a personal perspective about the conservation of some of the rarest and most fragile species. Most of  the talks will be between 40 minutes to an hour in length and will focus mainly on my work, conserving endangered frogs, and the importance of education and research. If you have the opportunity to come along then it would be great to meet you. At some events I will have some of the live frogs in question with me, but at all of them I will be making plenty of time for a chat afterwards.  The dates for the talks so far are as follows:   

3rd June –  Altlanta Zoo, GA, USA . 12 noon. For further info contact: ron@amphibianark.org

6th June – Manchester Museum, UK,  Go green! (For over 12yr old) 2pm in the Kanaris Theatre: http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/whatson/june/

9th June – Manchester Museum, UK, (For Science Teachers) also see: http://www.museum.manchester.ac.uk/learning/

12th June – Manchester University, UK, Smith Building 6pm (For students, staff and public over 12 years old) Contact richard.preziosi@manchester.ac.uk

23rd June – Manchester Museum, UK, (For secondary students) http://learningmanchester.wordpress.com/2009/05/18/meet-the-scientist-with-his-frogs-and-reptiles/

15th July – Manchester Museum, UK, (For secondary students) see above for details.

16th July – Manchester Museum, UK, (For secondary students) see above for details.

8th August – Manchester Museum, UK,  Nature Discovery Day session (For over 12 years olds) Details to follow.

31st August – SciBar, Didsbury, Manchester, UK. 6.30pm http://www.scibar.info/

Undergraduate teaching 2009

img_5904Over the past month I have had a particularly busy teaching period, which has been great because its something I really enjoy. Apart from contributing to sessions for some of the many schoolchildren who visit the Museum, I have also taught about 180 undergraduate students. The last lesson I ran was on Friday, and I would just like to say a big thanks to all the colleagues and demonstrators  who helped me deliver the session.  Here are some photos taken during the 2009 session

ADDITION: Below are links to photographs taken during other similar undergraduate teaching sessions delivered since:

Zoology student practicals (photos from 2010)

Biology student practicals (photos from 2010)

Photos from 2011