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Animal fashion at Tring

Posted by Rose Jun 24, 2011

Some of our most well-known animal specimens at the Museum at Tring have inspired an exclusive fashion collection and also formed the backdrop to a recent fashion shoot in the Tring Museum's galleries.
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Beauty and the beasts: Tring's specimens inspired an exlusive scarf collection photographed and modelled at the Museum at Tring this month. Photos courtesy of Andy Barnham.

The exclusive new collection of fashion scarves is the creation of Royal College of Art (RCA) final-year textiles student, Emily Shipley. Her beautiful print designs were revealed at the RCA's graduate show in London this week.

 

Emma explains, 'I grew up near Tring and used to visit the Museum as a child. I always loved it. It seemed the perfect place to shoot my evolution-inspired scarf collection. Tring is a unique location: the quintessential home of zoology.

 

'The animals served as a perfect background to echo the prints on my scarves and I'm delighted with the final images.'

 

The designs feature gorillas, snakes and a variety of flora and fauna, and are influenced by the Darwinian theory of evolution and patterns in the natural world.

 

Read the news story about the exclusive fashion shoot at the Museum at Tring

Find out about the Natural History Museum at Tring

See Emma Shipley's nature-inspired designs

Enjoy some photos of Emma's designs from the fashion shoot at Tring. Select images to enlarge them

Those who know the weird and wonderful galleries at Tring may be familiar with the animals in the backgrounds and on the prints.

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Who's the daddy of them all?

Posted by Rose Jun 17, 2011

It's Father's Day this Sunday, and so time to salute the male of the species who go the extra mile in parenthood and childcare.

 

Top of the list must be the Pregnant male seahorse, Hippocampus angustus. This new-age man goes further than any other to get involved with parenting. The female seahorse impregnates the male, pumping him full of her eggs, which he fertilises and nurtures, giving birth to 100s of fully formed tiny babies. His reward is guaranteed paternity.

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Homemakers and hunters: Adelie penguins (left) and Swedish wolves (right) set great examples as dedicated dads.

Other dedicated dads are the Adelie penguins, Pygoscelis adeliae, (above left) who are house-proud homemakers. The males arrive at breeding grounds early and build nests from stones, often stealing from each other. When females arrive, the males invite them in and present them with pebbles to demonstrate their position on the propery ladder.

 

There was even a pair of male penguins at New York Central Zoo that hatched an egg and raised the chick together.

 

Then there's the super-heroes like the Midwife toad, Ayltes obstetricans, who keeps his kids tied to his apron strings by wrapping the eggs round his legs until he can take them safely to the water, when the tadpoles are ready to hatch. Or the Swedish wolf, Canis lupus (pictured above right from Sexual Nature exhibition) whose tireless hunting skills are crucial in the rearing of his wolf pups. The pups are born blind and deaf and utterly dependent on dad and mum.

 

For more insights into the world of parenting in the animal kingdom, visit the Sexual Nature exhibition showing now at the Museum.

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Been wondering why there are seahorses adorning the entrance to our Sexual Nature exhibition? Maybe it's because the males are so unique,

In the meantime, Happy Father's Day, human dads!


Find out about the Sexual Nature exhibition on our websiteor

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As Bath and nearby Glastonbury rev up for the festival season, the odds are on that our Wild Planet beech tree tee shirt is set to become a festival fashion hit. Glastonbury Festival owner, Michael Eavis, seemed very chuffed with his.

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Glastonbury festival owner, Michael Eavis, shows off his 'eco-chic' style with a Wild Planet exhibition tee-shirt in Bath. Photo by Lloyd Ellington of the Bath Chronicle

Wild Planet's stunning outdoor installation of wildlife images has been attracting lots of attention in Bath's busy central pedestrianised shopping area near the Abbey Churchyard, since opening in April. And the striking beech tree design, shown above, adorns several of the high-quality exhibition gifts. The design is inspired by 'Beech in the mist', one of the 80 photographs featured from past Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions.

 

The full range of gifts is on sale in the Wild Planet Store next to the exhibition and in the Museum's online shop.

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Wild Planet exhibition in Bath brings wild animals and places to the busy city centre and Abbey Churchyard. Select image to enlarge them

Another amazing photograph featured in Wild Planet is 'Rival kings', (pictured below left) by local photographer Andy Rouse (below right on location). Andy has won seven awards so far in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competitions and will give a Wild Planet lecture in Bath Abbey on Thursday 23 June at 18.00.

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From courting penguins to charging bull elephants, Andy will talk about some of his most extraordinary encounters with wildlife and the top locations he's visited to photograph the lives of animals and birds in the wild. He is known as a charismatic presenter, so all budding wildlife and photography enthusiasts if you're in or near Bath on Thursday, make his lecture a date for your diary.

 

You can book your free advance Andy Rouse lecture tickets at the Wild Planet store, located in Stall Street, Bath, near the exhibition. Or email: wildplanettickets@gmail.com

 

Find out about Wild Planet in Bath

 

Browse Wild Planet gifts online


Buy Wild Planet prints including Beech in the mist

 

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Left: 'Rival kings' by Andy Rouse. Highly commended in the Behaviour: Birds category for Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition 2006.

The photograph was set in the icy and eerily beautiful Falkland Islands landscape and provides an insight into the courtship between two king penguins. 'Kings are such  cool penguins... I love photographing them' says Andy.

See 'Rival kings' on display in Bath's Wild Planet outdoor exhibition.

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Right: Explore the exhibition images further in the Wild Planet book, available at the Wild Planet Store and online
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Do you know what bugs are living near you? Are some spiders more common in cities or in the countryside?

 

Help us find out by joining in the new nationwide Bugs Count survey launched today, 8 June, by the Museum and OPAL partnership. The scientists asking for our help want to know what bugs are out there and the differences between what we find in the cities or rural areas.

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Hunt for bugs in soil, short or long grass. Search on paving and outsides of buildings and on plants and shrubs.small-tortoiseshell-butterfly-crop.jpg

On your bugs hunt, keep a special eye out for six specific minibeasts, including the small tortoiseshell butterfly (right), which is in decline. Use the Species Quest bugs sheet to help in your identification.

 

Find out how to join in the OPAL Bugs Count and what resources you'll need

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You'll be surprised at what buggy creatures you can find in towns and the countryside.

 

On the recent Big Nature Count of our Wildlife Garden, we found over 60 species of bugs in a morning and the final count hasn't been done yet. As well as the unusual drab wood soldier fly, Solva marginata, discovered, there was a new Coleophora glaucicolella moth found, not recorded in the garden before. And just the other day, a Museum volunteer out on a field trip in Surrey's Bookham Common, found a population of scarlet malachite beetles, left, one of the UK's rarest insects.

 

Read the news story about the bug count and which six specific minibeasts you should look out for

 

Come along to the Museum's Attenborough Studio this Saturday, 11 June, to hear two Big City Big Hunt talks at 12.30 and 14.30 with our scientists. Afterwards, you can take part in various bug-hunting activities and pick up a Bugs Count pack in the Wildlife Garden.

What's a bug?

The term ‘bug’ is a widely used name for insects. In our Bugs Count we are including non-insect groups such as spiders, centipedes, millipedes and woodlice. These are all collectively part of the group called arthropods and are invertebrates.

 

True bugs are a specific group of insects that include shield bugs, water bugs, aphids, scale insects and others.

 

More bug information

 

Find out about bug identification in our Nature Online section

 

Join the Bug forum

 

Browse our Young naturalists page and enjoy the Big Nature Day video

 

Discover how to identify the Cockshafer May bug and watch the video


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Last year's Bat Weekend and its stars (see below) was one of our most popular events in the Wildlife Garden in 2010. And this year will be battier and better, because we're celebrating the Year of the Bat.

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Our Bat Festival this weekend on 4 and 5 June promises to be a great family day out. You can go on the bat bed and breakfast trail through the Wildlife Garden to find out what insects they eat and where they sleep, try out things like bat box building, make willow bats and do other batty crafts, as well as see bat specimen displays. I've also heard a rumour there will be bat-shaped shortbreads on the refreshments stalls.

 

If you head over to the nearby Darwin Centre, you can learn about echolocation and bat detection in the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity. And in the Attenborough Studio there are two free bat talks at 12.30 and 14.30 on both days.

 

baby-bats.jpgJune is a particularly active month for bats because it's when the young are born, so it's a good time to find things out about them.

 

As in past years, the Sussex Bat Hospital and the Bat Conservation Trust will be joining us over the weekend and telling us about what they've been doing to help our bat community.

 

About 25 per cent of the world's bats are threatened with extinction. At least 12 species, such as the Puerto Rican flower bat, have already become extinct. That said, there are more than 1,100 species of bats worldwide, making up around  one-fifth of all mammals. And new bat species are

still being discovered.

 

The United Nation's Year of the Bat campaign is spearheaded by the Convention on Migratory Species and EUROBATS. It aims to highlight the unique role bats play in the environment and stress the urgency for global bat conservation. Historically bats have had a bit of a bad press - think Dracula, vampire bats etcetera - and the campaigners also want to give bats a fresh image.


So don't miss our festival, bats are depending on you to show support. And it's free.

Bats
  • are one of the most widely distributed groups of mammals. Flight has enabled them to live almost everywhere in the world. Bats are most numerous in the tropics, and Central and South America are home to almost one-third of the world’s bats. Indonesia has 175 species of bats while here in the UK we have 18 speciesbat-book.jpg
  • can be as big as a small dog or as small as a bee. The largest bats are the flying foxes with wingspans of up to 2 metres and a body weight of 1.5 kilograms. At the other end of the scale is the bumblebee bat or Kitti's hog-nosed bat, weighing only 2 grams – the world’s smallest mammal
  • are not blind
    • help replenish our forests and sustain other important eco-systems from deserts to wetlands. Through insect control, bats reduce crop damage and slow down the spread of disease. Many foods, medicines and other products are created thanks to bats, (including shortbread bats no doubt!)

    If you want to delve further into the world of bats, the Museum has just published a new edition of Bats by bat expert Phil Richardson.