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“Sponsor-a-Frog” Thank You’s!

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Our Sponsor a Frog package provides information about local species of amphibians and reptiles, a beautiful ‘Frogs of the World’ book, a unique Lemur Leaf Frog print, as well as a letter of invitation for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Vivarium signed by our Director.

The sponsorship programme offers a chance for people to personally see our behind-the-scenes rare frog collection and also allows us to personally welcome people from all over to our place of work to share in our passion about environmental education and conservation.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all past sponsors for your generous support of our important conservation work and give a special mention of some recent international sponsors, including Thomas from Denmark, Wilma, Daan, and Henk from the Netherlands, and Béatrice and Laurent from France (pictured). Thank you all for making us a part of your visit to Manchester!

claudeWe also received a colourful gift from one of our recent sponsors who visited to have their tour, so thank you Louise and Finlay for providing the most recent addition to our collection – a hand knitted female panther chameleon. She’s settling into her new home beautifully!

Your support and contributions continue to shape and inspire our work here at the vivarium, because after all, it all starts with you!

SPONSOR A FROG

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Local Lancasterians

Over the past few days we’ve been busy delivering a wide variety of animal-related sessions, both in and out of the Museum. On Sunday, it was my pleasure to support the jointly organised herpetological conference at Drayton Manor, which focused on working collaboratively to develop advanced herpetological husbandry.  It was a great conference and so good to meet up with colleagues of the past and many new faces, all so passionate about the subject. I hope they all enjoyed the presentation (post below).

On Monday I also delivered a very heartwarming session in the Vivarium for children from a local school The Lancasterian, where young people with a range of impairments experienced our live collection. These sessions we deliver at no cost and conduct on a one to one basis taking into account the individual requirements of each child. We had signers and teachers from Lancasterian there to support the session, who all do amazing work in meeting the needs of the pupils – It was very special indeed to meet all the pupils and staff, and deliver this programme.

Yesterday Matt also contributed to another ‘Talk English’ session for a group of english language learners from the local community, which went down very well, and we also supported Lucy Burscough to deliver a rainforest themed workshop for local people living with dementia. A thoroughly fulfilling start to the week, and a big thanks for the support of all involved!

 

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Lancasterian                            Talk English                              Dementia support

Herpetology Conference Talk

Events

Following on from the success of last years Herpetology Husbandry Conference, an expanded 2018 event was planned for the weekend of 21st and 22nd April, 2018. This exciting weekend event was again be held at Drayton Manor Park, near Tamworth and was jointly organised by the AHH, BHS and IHS.

Learning Continues

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Becci showcasing the many adaptations of our panther chameleon (Furcifer pardalis).

As many of you are aware Manchester Museum is about to embark on a major expansion entitled the Courtyard Project (subject to HLF funding), which will involve many changes to our teaching output over the next few years.

This will give us an exciting opportunity to develop new ideas and many new offers for the increased number of schools which will be visiting us from 2021.

 

Our most recent educational development ‘Rainforest Investigators – Adaptation and Survival’ has been a fantastic success. Focused on key stage 2 students and supported by the Vivarium’s live animals and the Museum’s extensive taxidermy collection, pupils are given the opportunity to develop and apply their scientific enquiry skills and knowledge of habitats and adaptations of some wonderful rainforest species. This program has drawn from the experience of all our staff here in the Vivarium, including our dedicated volunteers, some of whom have since started working here to help us deliver our educational workshops.

So although there will be a pause in proceedings, we will be working hard to produce even more exciting educational programs, building upon the success of our current offer. However, the show must go on and lots of work is currently being undertaken to provide more resources for self-led study in the Museum, with many ideas and resources now available through our website, and also the Learning blog, not to mention the Learning with Lucy booklets and videos which are free to access!

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Kasia exploring the concepts of habitat destruction and extinction.

ACE day at ASE                             Learning with Lucy                               Volunteers

Zooming into ZIMS

Capture.jpgThis year we’re taking a big step in collection record keeping by uploading all of our records to the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS). ZIMS for husbandry is a widely used data collection system which allows keepers at any institution across the world to upload everything from when a specific animal (or group of animals) joins their collection, to permits, behavioral observations, medical history, treatments, and other valuable specimen information. In addition to being used as a detailed record log, this information is then transferable through ZIMS between institutions if an animal is relocated.

ZIMS allows for a full online life history of any animal in captivity, anywhere in the world. This is an exciting advancement for the vivarium collection and we look forward to being fully digitized very soon.

Digitally cataloging an entire collection however, is quite a task. Luckily for us, we have a highly valued/great team of volunteers at the vivarium that are an enormous help with inputting ZIMS data.

Volunteers, such as John (pictured), have begun collecting specific measurements such as weight and snout to vent length to add even more detail into the ZIMS system. We’re very grateful for this extra help as we work through digitally entering the entire collection. As they say, many hands make light frogs- erm, work!

 

ZIMS                   Volunteers

Pendlebury Pupils

Recently I had the pleasure of delivering another very special animal session to pupils from the Pendlebury Centre.  It was great to meet the staff again and conduct the session for all the pupils concerned, who were a wonderful group of young people and who really seemed to get such a lot from meeting our animals up close.  The Pendlebury Centre is one of three Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) for secondary aged students in Stockport.

The centre is outstanding in providing the necessary support needed by many young people. It provides full-time placements for 40 students with a variety of needs, and it was so good to support this visit to Manchester Museum. Thanks to all the staff and pupils for their enthusiasm and interest in our creatures  – and appreciating the benefits they can bring to all. We look very much look forward to your next visit!

 

THE PENDLEBURY CENTRE

New Year New Frogs

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Lemur leaf frog helping with our record keeping (Agalychnis lemur) ©Matthew O’Donnell

Nothing quite brings in the new year like a group of newly metamorphosed baby Lemur leaf frogs (Agalychnis lemur)! These tiny froglets represent a new bloodline for the program studbook, which helps us manage the ever growing ex-situ population of this critically endangered species.

These fantastic little frogs were spawned last year and spent the next few months as tadpoles, on display in the Vivarium. They began to sprout legs and emerge from the water in November and have been growing rapidly on a varied diet of fruit flies and crickets, supplemented with extra vitamins and minerals.

 

Once these hungry little frogs get big enough they will be distributed between our partner organisations in Project Lemur Frog, Bristol Zoo and Nordens Ark. I have been lucky enough to visit the specialist facilities at both of these institutions and know just how well they will be looked after. Further securing the future for this fascinating frog.

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A group of young Lemur leaf frogs (Agalychnis lemur) resting under a leaf ©Matthew O’Donnell

Every new frog born here at Manchester Museum is very special, and Lemur leaf frogs are no exception! I’m sure 2018 will be another great year for frog conservation here in the Vivarium, we will be sure to keep you up to date with all the exciting work we are involved in.

Project Report                      Frogs for the Ark