Common Blue Butterfly

Zoology Live! 30 June – 2 July 2021

Join us online for this year’s Zoology Live! Festival. We were live on YouTube at 7pm every evening from Wednesday 30 June to Friday 2 July. Missed it? Fear not – you can still catch up on all the livestreams. Just scroll down and you can find them in this blog post. You can also take part in our challenges all summer.

Photograph of a goldfinch
Goldfinch (c) John Howlett

This year we broadcast Zoology Live! from the Museum galleries and explored the animals of the land, sea and sky. We had some amazing questions from the audience, and you can catch up on anything you missed on our YouTube channel. Just scroll down this blog post and you can find all the links you need.

And this year we are looking for you to get involved, recording insects and making a plastics pledge to protect the planet. The challenges we set during the festival are running throughout Summer 2021, so there is plenty of time for you to get involved. Find yourself a cowpat and tell us the dung beetles you see in our Cowpats About Cambridge (and beyond) Challenge. Pledge to use less plastic and create a Protest Plastics Sculpture to share and tell the world about the issue of plastics in the oceans. And help us to record butterflies and their behaviours with our Butterfly Challenge 2021. We have prizes and the chance to feature in our Community Gallery, so get making and recording!

Have you been enjoying Zoology Live!? We would love to know what you think. Our online survey takes about three minutes to complete. Include your email address and we will enter you into our prize draw. (For prize draw terms and conditions, scroll to the end of the page).

Wednesday 30 June, 7pm: Land

Join us at 7pm on Wednesday 30 June as we launch the Zoology Live! Online Festival 2021

To celebrate the Cows About Cambridge trail, and the Moostery sculpture at the Museum of Zoology, we are going on a voyage of discovery into… cowpats! Join us as Curator of Insects Dr Ed Turner dissects a cowpat to reveal the creatures living inside, and ask him your minibeast questions. Then find out about the wildflower meadow that is being established behind one of Cambridge’s most iconic buildings – King’s College Chapel – as we talk live to botanist Dr Cicely Marshall about how meadows support our local wildlife.

Why not take part in Cowpats About Cambridge (and Beyond), as we record the dung beetles and dung flies that make their homes in these brown splats. Upload your sightings and you could be entered into our prize draw for a mini wildlife explorer kit.

Thursday 1 July, 7pm: Sea

Join us at 7pm on Thursday 1 July as we go on an underwater exploration to find the animals of the sea

Take a trip underwater with us today as we dive into the oceans and explore the animals of the sea. Find out about our iconic Fin Whale and ask your questions to Collections Manager Matt Lowe about how we moved it when the Whale Hall was built. Discover the temporary exhibition and its theme of sustainablity opening soon in the Museum, and hear from artist Mella Shaw about the works going on display. Then uncover the secrets of coral reefs by asking your questions to Department of Zoology researcher Dr Katie Dunkley.

Show your love of the oceans by joining in our Plastics Challenge.

Friday 2 July, 7pm: Sky

Join us at 7pm on Friday 2 July as we take to the sky and discover things with wings

Today we launch our Butterfly Challenge for the summer, where we would love you to watch for butterflies and tell us what you see – which types of butterflies there are and what those butterflies are doing. Butterfly expert Matt Hayes will be joining us to answer your questions about British butterflies. Prof Chris Jiggins will also be joining us live and sharing the fascinating research taking place in the Department of Zoology into the evolution of Heliconius butterflies from Central America, so get your questions ready for him too.

And keeping with the theme of ‘things with wings’, we will be exploring some of the British bird superstars in our collections with members of staff across the Museum.

Upload your butterfly pictures to our Butterfly Challenge and you could win a butterfly-themed prize.

Cambridge Wildlife Safari Trail

Want to keep the Zoology Live! feeling after Friday 2 July? We have put together a new edition of our Cambridge Safari highlighting some top places to spot urban wildlife in the city.


We hope you are enjoying the Zoology Live! festival. We would love to know what you think of these online events. We have set up an online survey to get your feedback. It takes no more than three minutes to complete, and if you include an email address we will enter you into a prize draw for a mini wildlife explorer kit.

Common Blue Butterfly
Common Blue Butterfly (c) John Howlett

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