Skip navigation
0

Talking of butterflies

Posted by Rose Jun 7, 2013

Outside the Museum there are now about 700 free-flying tropical butterflies enjoying the exotic undergrowth of our Sensational Butterflies house. 'In 6 weeks there may be more than 1,000,' our butterfly house manager Luke Brown tells me excitedly, with news of the first zebra butterfly larvae appearing. These should metamorphose into 100s of adult butterflies over the next few weeks.

 

The enchanting yet fleeting stars of our butterfly show never cease to captivate us and this Sunday, Luke will be giving visitors to the Museum an extra flutter in his free talk in the Attenborough Studio. The half-hour talk, A House of Butterflies, runs at 12.30 and again at 14.30 on 9 June.

zebra-luke-sfavourite.jpg

Meet Heliconius charitonia commonly known as the zebra butterfly, and Luke Brown (below) commonly known as our butterfly house manager, in our butterfly house and find out more about both at our free talk this weekend. Close up zebra courtesy of Inzilbeth.

luke-fave-butterfly-1500.jpg

Accompanied by colleague Kerry, Luke's talk will explore some of our most-loved species including his own personal favourite, the zebra butterfly, Heliconius charitonia (pictured above). He hopes to bring along some caterpillars, eggs and specimens (but no live butterflies as they might not like the lights in the studio) and talk a little about the history of the butterfly house and the exhbition itself.

 

The first butterfly house arrived here in 2008 and has become a regular spring-summer annual attraction at the Museum, following a brief absence last year. This year's exhibition which opened at the end of March has been the most successful to date.

 

A butterfly fan since he was a little boy, Luke asked for a greenhouse for his sixth Christmas and ended up running his own company, The Butterfly Gardener Ltd and putting on butterfly shows all over the world. He looks forward to the continued success of Sensational Butterflies and taking his passion further afield to places like the Middle East and Brazil, with a personal project planned for the south coast.

 

Drop into the talk if you can and especially if you're visiting the Sensational Butterflies exhibition. Go on your own butterfly trail through the Museum taking in the Cocoon building and the Wildlife Garden nearby.

 

Don't forget to send in any great photos of butterflies wherever you may snap them and from inside Sensational Butterflies to our Pinterest board for a chance to win some butterfly goodies.  My recent favourites are of the glasswing and butterfly shoes, and congratulations to last month's competition winner.

 

Find out about visiting Sensational Butterflies and tickets and other butterfly events

A House of Butterflies is on 9 June and Butterflies in Disguise is on 15 June

Check out The Butterfly Gardener website

 

Get help with identifiying butterflies and caterpillars

 

If you can't make it to the Museum for our free events, we also webcast some live. Look out for these talks next week: The World I Want and Extinct Ice Age Giants

0

This week we're celebrating our wonderful volunteers - about 450 of them at the Museum - as we join in the nationwide Volunteers' Week activities taking place from 1-7 June. As we usually do each year, we're holding a big party just for them in our Earth galleries and adjoining Deli Cafe, with lots of food, drink and entertainment planned, to say a huge thankyou and also to thank our volunteer managers.

 

earth-galleries-volunteer-party-1500.jpg

Last year's party celebrations for our volunteers and volunteer managers, held in the Museum's dramatic Earth galleries.

 

Ali Thomas, our Volunteers Project Manager, reminds us:

 

'Our brilliant volunteers are among the many treasures we hold at the Museum. They are not just a fluffy aside to what we do but are so integral to our work behind the scenes and to our future.

 

'Thank you to all our volunteers, who despite mostly being hidden away from public view, take part with such vibrancy, enthusiasm and dedication. This week's celebrations are in your honour.'

 

If you've visited the outdoor butterfly house this spring, you will have encountered several of the 45-strong group of friendly, informed volunteer staff who help guide the young and old alike through the colourful high-fliers of the Sensational Butterflies exhibition. They do such an amazing job, they've already received 100s of enthusiastic compliments (on feedback forms) since the exhibition opened in April.

butterfly-volunteers-atlas-moth.jpgOne of our much-appreciated Sensational Butterflies volunteers, Rosemary, making friends with a giant atlas moth in the butterfly house.

 

In the public galleries, our Learning volunteers continue to engage with visitors daily, and over the last 12 months have interacted with 119,825 people. Our Learning volunteer programme is now in its 9th successful year and you will see and talk with them throughout the Museum.

 

You can look in on another group of volunteers at work every Thursday in the Darwin Centre Cocoon's Specimen Prepartion Area. These volunteers are currently helping on the V Factor scientific project to collate and digitise our diatom collection. There is a new display of Indonesian coral fossils on show in the Museum's Dinosaur Way, which puts the spotlight on the previous V Factor project and volunteer input.

 

'We so enjoyed V Factor and are so thankful to the Museum for setting up this initiative and making it availalbe to young people such as Hannah, who has a very different style and needs more support than the average young person,' enthused one of the previous participant's mums.

 

fossil-coral-pics.jpgIndonesian coral fossils which V Factor volunteers helped to prepare for research. Some are on show in the Museum's Dinosaur Way.

 

We have 12 Museum volunteers nominated for the Kensington and Chelsea Volunteer Awards this year, so fingers crossed. We will report back on the Volunteers' Week celebrations and activities in our next volunteers' newsletter.

museum-volunteers-kc-awards.jpgMuseum volunteers with their awards at last year's Kensington and Chelsea Volunteer Awards ceremony.