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The Duchess of Cambridge, Patron of the Museum, visited the Natural History Museum’s Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity today to hear how it is championing and helping protect UK wildlife at a time when it is under a greater threat than ever before.
Her Royal Highness met Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon as well as Head of the Angela Marmont Centre Dr John Tweddle and Head of Learning and Audiences Beth Stone who are jointly spearheading efforts to revolutionise the study of UK wildlife and engage young people with the nature on their doorstep.
The Angela Marmont Centre (AMC) is a unique scientific hub dedicated to the study of the UK’s natural world. It helps public visitors identify their finds, provides vital training in wildlife identification and leads research and citizen science projects that are helping to transform our understanding of the more than 80,000 species of wildlife known to exist in the UK today.
With populations of many UK species declining and a significant proportion threatened with local extinction, the AMC brings together a host of individuals and organisations all dedicated to building understanding of the UK’s wildlife, so that it can be better protected for future generations. These include academic researchers, amateur naturalists, volunteers and practical conservationists. AMC staff work with colleagues from across the Museum to carry out a range of scientific research, from studying how and why the UK’s wildlife is changing, through to applying ground-breaking scientific techniques, including analysis of environmental DNA, to detect and identify the miniscule insects and microorganisms that play an important, if hidden, role in healthy environments.
HRH saw some of the UK insect and plant specimens from the Museum’s vast collection and had the opportunity to see DNA sequencing in action.
With a mission to inspire and support existing and future naturalists, the AMC also acts as a free drop in resource centre where UK natural history enthusiasts of all abilities can further their interest by accessing UK reference collections, library materials, microscopes and expertise.
HRH heard how the Museum is aiming to inspire the more than five million visitors it welcomes each year alongside its national programme of activity to empower people to act for nature. With the likelihood of a child visiting green spaces having halved in a generation, it has never been more important to excite young people about wildlife. The Museum is responding to this challenge by forging partnerships across the UK to empower school children, families and local communities to help protect the wildlife in urban areas.
Notes for editors
The Natural History Museum exists to inspire a love of the natural world and unlock answers to the big issues facing humanity and the planet. It is a world-leading science research centre, and through its unique collection and unrivalled expertise it is tackling issues such as food security, eradicating diseases and managing resource scarcity.
The Natural History Museum is the most visited natural history museum in Europe and the top science attraction in the UK; we welcome around five million visitors each year and our website receives over 850,000 unique visitors a month. People come from around the world to enjoy our galleries and events and engage both in-person and online with our science and educational activities through innovative programmes and citizen science projects.