Connect to nature with ’12 Days of Winter Wildlife’

Researchers and staff at the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge are getting ready to share their enthusiasm for winter wildlife in a special 12-day online event.

The ‘12 Days of Winter Wildlife 2020’ aims to encourage everyone to get involved in spotting wildlife over winter, and helping to look after it.

With fascinating facts, films and activities to do at home, the event – which runs from 1st to 12th December 2020 – is suitable for all ages. Experts will cover a range of topics including how to support garden birds and spot winter visitors, and how to find hibernating insects like butterflies and ladybirds.

“There’s so much we can do to help animals survive the coldest months of the year, and we hope this event will show people how they can enjoy playing their part,” said Professor Rebecca Kilner, Director of the Museum.

With activities such as how to make a winter insect hotel, and a test to find out whether your memory is as good as a squirrel, this celebration of winter wildlife will even share tips on creating animal-inspired gifts.

“There’s a lot more winter wildlife in the UK than you might expect – and we hope this event will not only be educational but a lot of fun,” said Dr Roz Wade, Senior Learning & Engagement Coordinator at the Museum of Zoology.

She added: “Lots of interesting birds can be spotted in the UK at this time of year – and for some, winter in the UK is an escape from much colder conditions further north. And despite some of our native animals going into hibernation, many others stay active through winter – from moths to water birds to foxes and squirrels. Not to mention what’s living in the compost heap.”

‘12 Days of Winter Wildlife’ launches at 4:30pm on 1st December 2020 with a YouTube Live event. Bird expert Rob Jaques from the British Trust for Ornithology will be on hand to answer questions from the public, and there will be a virtual tour of Cambridge University Botanic Garden wildlife.

To add to the fun, the launch includes a festive sing-along with a wildlife twist. Written by PhD student Kate Howlett and recorded by Museum volunteers, staff & friends, ‘The 12 Days of Critters’ will be making its debut at the event.

Films, animal facts, activities and more will be posted daily at 9am on the Museum’s blog.

The University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge is temporarily closed to visitors due to the current lockdown measures. Updates on its opening status will be posted on the Museum’s website and Twitter and Facebook pages.

The Museum holds one of the largest and most important natural history collections in the UK, with an extraordinarily rich history dating back to 1814. In 2018 it reopened after a five-year, £4.1million redevelopment – including nearly £2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund – to reveal thousands of incredible specimens from across the animal kingdom, including whales, elephants, a giraffe, giant ground sloth, insects, corals as well as items collected by Charles Darwin.