Swan on the river viewed through willow branches

Five Minutes in Nature: A mindful journey through art and nature

Museum Volunteer Tani Gill writes: Art and classical dance have been the core of my education and passion. In order to explain how art and nature keep me mindful and grateful for the life I have, it is important for me to remind myself of what inspired me in the early years of my life. It is these influential years that form our character and … Continue reading Five Minutes in Nature: A mindful journey through art and nature

Dimetrodon illustration by Alastair age 7 3/4

On the Trail of a Creature…

There’s lots of animals to be found in the Museum of Zoology. Our Young Zoologist Club members show and tell you about their favourites and welcome you to explore the collection online and create your own. Download the trail and then use the links below to explore the collection online. Choose your creature to fill in the trail gaps! Delve into the collections online to … Continue reading On the Trail of a Creature…

Five minutes in nature: A river near me

Museum Volunteer Charlotte Dufferwiel writes: A short journey from the centre of Durham, the River Wear meanders through the open fields and wooded glades on the outskirts of the city. Walking along the country lane, the stubby green shoots of winter barely tentatively pop through the earth on either side. Skeletons of hogweed act as gateposts along the farmer’s fields and frozen droplets cling to … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: A river near me

Amphioxus against a black background

Reconstructing ancestors: insights from the ocean

Giacomo Gattoni, PhD Student, writes: When we look at the natural world we are often in awe at the richness and diversity of life forms that we can observe. As an undergraduate student, I became fascinated by evolution, the process through which this diversity originated during the history of life. I am particularly interested in reconstructing ancestors of modern animals, organisms that lived in the … Continue reading Reconstructing ancestors: insights from the ocean

Black locust tree in summer and autumn

Five minutes in nature: Certainty in trees

Museum PhD student Kate Howlett writes: As we approach having been in lockdown, in some form or other, for almost a year, I’ve come to be incredibly grateful for the gentle giants I can see through the windows of my flat—the trees. There is something comforting in watching the same trees every day for a whole year; watching them change colour through the seasons provides … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: Certainty in trees

Portals to the World: resources for adults with dementia and their care partners

Join us as we explore five species with Museum staff and Department of Zoology researchers, then have a go at a different art activity inspired by the featured animals. These videos and resources have been created in partnership with Dementia Compass, for adults with dementia and their care partners in mind. While they were initially created for participants of our Portals to the World course, … Continue reading Portals to the World: resources for adults with dementia and their care partners

A muntjac in the receding water

Five minutes in nature: A daily, identical photo

Assistant Director Jack Ashby writes: Like many people, since March 2020 I’ve been spending a lot of time in whatever countryside I can find near my home. When the UK government specified in those initial, strict covid lockdown guidelines that we were permitted just one hour of exercise outdoors a day, something psychological was triggered in me that made me eager to make sure I … Continue reading Five minutes in nature: A daily, identical photo

Heliconius butterfly

Exploring Chemical Signals in Butterflies

Kathy Darragh, PhD student in the Department of Zoology, writes: Due to the visual nature of humans, when we think of communication in nature, we tend to focus on things we can see. In many groups, however, other types of signals, such as chemicals, are the main form of communication. These chemical signals are harder to detect, and therefore to study, meaning they have received … Continue reading Exploring Chemical Signals in Butterflies

Redwing amongst winter berries

Our Feathered Friends

With the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch taking place from the 29-31 January, we have chosen to celebrate our fine feathered friends with a special Nature Classroom all about British birds. We will be uncovering what it is to be a bird, unfurling an amazing world of feathers, and creating a key together for common garden birds. Get your eye in by trying some of our … Continue reading Our Feathered Friends

Starling on a branch

Five Minutes in Nature: Starlings

Winter is a tough time of year, with its short days, long nights, and often overcast skies. But there is still wildlife to be enjoyed, and spending time in nature has been shown to improve wellbeing. With these posts, the team at the Museum of Zoology are sharing how they like to spend five minutes in nature and get reacquainted with the wildlife on their … Continue reading Five Minutes in Nature: Starlings

Owl pellet dissected to show the bones and fur of its prey

Owl Pellets

Museum Volunteer Ian Harvey writes: We’re all familiar with owls and for many people, they’re their favourite animal. And we know owls from literature; the owl and the pussycat, owl in Winnie the Pooh and the owls in the Harry Potter books. Owls are birds of prey or raptors meaning they feed on other animals. They have certain features making them great hunters; excellent eyesight … Continue reading Owl Pellets

Herbie the Hedgehog’s winter hidey hole

Matt Lowe, Collections Manager at the Museum of Zoology, writes: A couple of months ago my wife and I were tidying up the pots of herbs we keep next to kitchen door when we heard a shuffling noise and what sounded awfully like snoring. That was when I realised I had succeeded in giving an overwintering hedgehog a home. In 2019, not long after we … Continue reading Herbie the Hedgehog’s winter hidey hole