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April 2011

Explore Nature at St Fagans!

Posted by Hywel Couch on 26 April 2011
Explore Nature at St Fagans launch!
Daniel cutting the ribbon at the bird hide
Watching the Lesser Horseshoe bats on the batcam
Watching a nuthatch from the bird hide
» View full post to see all images

After months of planning and preparation, the Explore Nature at St Fagans project was officially launched earlier this month. On April the 2nd, we had a day filled with nature and wildlife activities. The weather was fantastic and hundreds of visitors to the museum participated in bird spotting, bat watching, pond dipping and arts and crafts activities. I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as we did! I’d like to thank everyone who came along, especially Daniel who can be seen cutting the ribbon at the bird hide in the photo.

 

As we are well into spring now, St Fagans is alive with wildlife once again! The lesser horseshoe bats have returned to the Tannery, yesterday I counted around 25 of them! Later this summer the females will give birth to their pups, as this is their maternity roost. Why not come along to the Tannery and watch them on our special infra-red batcam?

 

The pits at the Tannery are once again teeming with life. There are countless newts, water boatmen, pond skaters, dragonfly nymphs and much much more. The Tannery is perhaps the best building on site for wildlife. Last week saw the return of the swallows who nest here every summer. It really is fantastic to see so much wildlife so close.

 

As part of the Explore Nature project we will be holding events and activities throughout the spring and summer months, from early morning bird walks to evening bat walks. Keep an eye on the museum website for more information.

 

As the Tannery is so good for wildlife, I will be spending the day there on Saturday the 30th of April. Come along and learn more about the bats, the newts and all the other wildlife that have made this building their home!

http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/whatson/?event_id=4792

pockets

Posted by Sian Lile-Pastore on 8 April 2011

More pictures of some of the decorated pockets we made last half term

A dedication to those whose flowers didn't open.

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 4 April 2011

The cold weather this year resulted in a few schools not getting any flowers.

I'd like to make a special dedication to the schools whose flowers didn't open. This is always very disappointing. Despite their flowers not opening each of these schools still worked hard sending in their records. I am very proud of all the schools that carry on despite their disappointment - it shows what excellent scientist they are! Each school will receive a certificate and some seedlings. Many, many thanks Professor Plant. 

Below you will find many of the questions and comments that have come in over the past few weeks.

Ysgol Clocaenog: Yn anffodus dydy ein bylbiau ddim wedi tyfu. Rydym wedi edrych yn y potiau ac mae'r bylbiau wedi pydru. Ond mae'r bylbiau oedd dros ben a blannwyd yn yr ardd wedi tyfu. Mae pawb yn drist iawn iawn!! Rydym ni yn meddwl eu bod wedi rhewi yn y tywydd oer. Oes ysgolion eraill wedi cael yr un broblem a ni? Ans: Roeddwrn i yn teimlo yn drist iawn yn darllen y neges yma. Gobeithio bod y plant yn teimlo yn well nawr. Fel i chi yn gallu gweld wnaeth hyn digwydd y rhai ysgolion erail hefyd. Diolch am eich gwaith galed. Athro'r Ardd.

Ysgol Nant Y Coed asks: My daffodil has got a lovely flower but it's really short. I wonder why? Ans: Sometimes some bulbs are very small which makes smaller flowers or sometimes you just get a short flower in the same way that some people are short and some people are tall. It sounds very cute!

Murch Junior School reported: "6 flowers from one bulb!". Ans: This is amazing not heard of this many before.

Ysgol Deganwy reported: "Only 2 of our crocuses flowered this year and none of our daffodils. Maybe the hard winter killed them off. Ans: Yes this winter has been very hard for our flowers and this has unfortunately meant that some schools didn't get any daffodils this year. I'm really sorry to hear this it must be very disappointing. 

Ysgol Nant Y Coed:  My leaves grew to 42cm but there's no sign of a flower. Ans: This happened with one of my flowers too, it can be very disappointing. It may flower next year. Take a look at the bulb if it's very large try to divide it before you re-plant it.

Ysgol Rhys Pritchard: The bulbs rotted. We dug them up to look at them. Ans: I'm really sorry to hear this. So disappointing :-( It was probably due to the frost or perhaps they got to damp. Obviously you will all still get your certificates as you have done everything that you could to look after your bulbs. Thanks for letting me know.

St. Mary's Catholic Primary School: We only had the one flower that opened. Ans: Really sorry to hear this, again you must be very disappointed. Obviously you will all still get your certificates as you have done everything that you could to look after your bulbs. Thanks for letting me know.

Milford Haven Junior School: We've had a fantastic week of sunshine. Really, really warm in the quadrangle where the plants are. HUGE problems with our internet, so sorry that these records are late. Ans: Sorry to hear about your problems with the internet but glad to hear about the sunshine!

Tynewydd Primary School: Unfortunately the same situation that arose last year has happened again this year, none of the bulbs have grown over the last few months, even though some bulbs showed some shoots coming through during January there appears to be no growth again and there are not even any shoots visible this week. We will continue to collect the weather records and monitor any growth within the bulbs. Some of the pupils are disappointed with the project as they have said how they have still seen daffodils growing strongly within the school grounds, however this has provided useful discussion points once again. Ans: This extremely unlucky! I chatted to the teacher on e-mail and the school has done everything correctly. This winter and last winter were very cold and this has killed off the bulbs in the pots. It may be worth planting the pots in the ground next year so they are kept a little warmer.

Eyton Primary School: None of the crocus came up this year. Ans: Sorry to hear this Eyton :-(

Lower Natural History Galleries re-opening soon

Posted by Peter Howlett on 1 April 2011
Butterfly display
Moving the butterfly display up to the Insight Gallery
Cleaning the displays
Cleaning the natural history dioramas
Insight gallery
Entrance to the new Insight gallery
Red Fox
The Fox in the Natural History gallery
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The west wing natural history galleries have now been closed for well over a year. This has been due to the building works replacing the west wing roof and installing the new contemporary art galleries on the top floor. These works are completed and we are now working hard to get the ground floor natural history galleries back into shape.

The front gallery remains mainly the same but we have taken the opportunity to give the dioramas a deep clean, replace the carpet and redo the lighting. As a result the space is looking much brighter and fresher.

The remaining ground floor gallery space has seen some big changes. We are currently installing a new display area called ‘Insight’. This is a series of modular displays, many with interactive touch screens, which will explore the science that goes on behind the scenes at the museum.

Beyond this is another new display area that looks at evolution, and provides a linking space to the newly refurbished science education room.

These spaces will all be fully open to the public on April 16th when we look forward to welcoming you back into these gallery spaces.

Unfortunately the mezzanine area gallery spaces, where the Leatherback Turtle and Humpback Whale can be found, will remain closed a few months longer. Once the ground floor is open we will be cleaning and redoing some of the displays in this area in preparation for the BBC Wildlife Photographer exhibition which opens in mid June.

And the winner is....

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 1 April 2011
Professor Plant

Congratulations to Saint Roberts Roman Catholic Primary School, winners of the Spring Bulbs for Schools competition 2011.

They will be awarded a day trip to St Fagans: National History Museum for a fun-packed day of nature activities on the 25th of May.

Standards were very high this year and I was overwhelmed by the number of schools sending in records, so I would also like to congratulate the following schools.

Runner's up: These schools came very close to winning. Each will be sent a special prize with their certificates by the 3rd of May 2011.

  • Morfa Rhianedd
  • Ysgol Bro Ciwmeirch
  • Ysgol Clocaenog

Highly commended: These schools demonstrated excellent record keeping. All to be sent certificates and prizes by the 3rd of May 2011.

  • Murch Junior School
  • Ysgol Nant Y Coed
  • Ysgol Deganwy 
  • Ysgol Pencae
  • Ysgol Y Ffridd
  • Lansdowne Primary School
  • St. Mary's Catholic Primary School
  • Ysgol Gynradd Glantwymyn
  • Ysgol Penycae (Ystradgynlais)
  • Ysgol Rhys Pritchard
  • Eyton Primary School
  • Ysgol Bodfari
  • Ysgol Cynfran
  • Cwm Glas Primary
  • Milford Haven Junior school
  • Oakfield Primary school
  • Tynewydd Primary School
  • St Joseph's Primary School
  • St. Joseph's R C Primary (Penarth)
  • Windsor Clive Primary
  • Ysgol Porth Y Felin
  • Glyncollen Primary School (2nd)
  • Coleg Powys

Special recognition: Is awarded to these schools. They will each receive Super Scientist Certificates together with a few seedlings by the 3rd of May 2011.

  • Maesycwmmer Primary School
  • Bishop Childs CIW Primary School
  • Coleg Meirion Dwyfor
  • Laugharne VCP School
  • Glyn Hafod Junior School
  • Howell's School Llandaff
  • Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn
  • Pembroke Dock Community school
  • Ysgol Gynradd Brynconin
  • Ysgol Brynffordd

Not too late! If your school isn't listed here and you have some records to send in then please do so. You will receive recognition for your work.

Many thanks.

Professor Plant

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