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Department of Zoology


Outreach flourishes in the Department of Zoology 

We believe that sharing our fascination with nature and our understanding of the animal world is a major part of our life as Zoologist whether that is through research, study or just by enthusing about it to a friend. 

Members of the department engage in a wide range of outreach activities with the aim of informing and enthusing children and adults, local and international audiences.  We contribute to research in diverse fields, including conservation, evolution, genetics, ecology, animal behaviour, embryology, palaeobiology, and neurobiology. Furthermore we are proud to welcome over 100,000 visitors annually to our rejuvenated Museum of Zoology. 

Outreach in 2018-19 kicked off with the reopening of the Museum and the first Zoology Live! Festival. The festival was part of a two-day celebration of the reopening and included hands-on activities, live insects and birds, makes and lightning talks, celebrating the amazing world of animals. There will be a second festival will be on Saturday 22nd June 2019. It is suitable for all ages Free. No need to book. 

Find out more about more events in the Museum of Zoology.

The Department of Zoology is fully and enthusiastically committed to a detailed outreach programme, which not only promotes Zoology to a wide, often young, audience but also acts in the longer term to raise aspirations and recruit prospective students to study biology. 

Our graduate students have created ZooCast, a series of short films insight into their research and life in Cambridge.

Some of the highlights throughout the rest of the year included:

  • A “Women in Science Easter Residential” run in conjunction with Pembroke College. Thirty Key Stage 4 females from 30 widening participation schools participated in a 3-day ‘masterclass’, which included hands-on laboratory experience in Zoology and further aspirational seminars.

  • Dr Helen Leggett, represented Zoology at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s Plague Late event, a special evening opening of the museum, with researchers, cocktails and corpse medicine! Helen spoke about how plague is not just a problem from the past, particularly now antibiotic-resistant strains of plague are in circulation; with info on how everyone can reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • In this centenary since the devastating Spanish Flu pandemic, members of the Centre for Pathogen Evolution were involved in several media engagements including BBC Inside Out, Local Cambridge radio and Jesus College’s Intellectual Forum. 
  • The Museum of Zoology introduced “Discovery Talks”.  A free, monthly, half hour, Friday lunchtime session which explores themes from the history of the museum collection to current zoological research.
  • Every year members of the department are involved in the Cambridge Science Festival and this year was no different!  Just Bugs, organised by PhD student, Eva Higginbotham, and Dr Matthias Landgraf brings together several research groups that work on insects and allows people to discover what we learn by looking at insects in the laboratory - from fruit flies to crickets to friendly burying beetles!
  • Conversazione, organised by the Cambridge Natural History Society, is an annual exhibition where exhibits on all aspects of Natural History are displayed in the Zoology Teaching Laboratory. Over the two days, thousands of community members, students and academics attend. There is also a Student Prize awarded every year for “best student exhibit”. This year Danny White one of our Teaching Laboratory Technicians gave a talk on keeping reptiles and brought in from home some of his collection for people to see.

  • We welcomed former members and friends of the department to join us on our annual alumni field trip to a local reserve.   This year went to Totternhoe Quarry, a chalk based landscape and home to the very rare Duke of Burgundy Butterfly.

This is just a small amount of outreach we do.  To keep up to date with our latest events follow us on Twitter or Facebook via @CamZoology. Or the Museum via  @ZoologyMuseum (Twitter) or @ZoologyMuseumCambridge (Facebook)

Please contact Dr Tim Weil, Deputy Head of Department (Teaching) or Rachel Aucott (Communications Co-ordinator) if you have any outreach requests.