Keeping our gardens wild

A problem with some modern gardens is that they are kept very neat and tidy. Nature tends to do well with variety and one of the worst things you can do for wildlife is have a garden with four bare walls and nothing in between but short grass or paving. This session will explore ways to help wildlife by doing a bit less; from leaving leaf litter to build up for overwintering animals or leaving a patch of nettles to grow for hungry caterpillars. It’s a great excuse to do less work in the garden and do your bit for nature at the same time!

To learn more about how you can help protect and engage with wildlife where you live, check out the Cambridge Zoology Museum blog, which includes advice on gardening for butterflies, making your own mini pond and becoming a helpful hedgehog hero. You might also be interested in the many garden activities and wild makes available from the Wildlife Trusts.

Matt Hayes

Matt Hayes is a research assistant working at the Department of Zoology in Cambridge. His work focuses on UK butterflies and he collaborates with the local Wildlife Trust to improve management on their reserves.

Over the last few years Matt has been working with historical insect specimens stored at the University Museum of Zoology. The Museum displays thousands of specimens spanning the entire animal kingdom, from elephants, giant ground sloths and giraffes, to birds, reptiles, insects and molluscs. These historical specimens allow Matt to study species that lived in the past, compare them with species that are still around today and see how much things have changed.

This work is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund run by the Museums Association.

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