Budding biologists invited to bugs fair

As a University it is important to connect with the community and raise aspirations of schoolchildren in our region. We are passionate about biology and hopefully that enthusiasm will help to inspire the next generation.

Dr Dave Skingsley, Senior Lecturer in Biology

Young scientists are being encouraged to attend a free bugs fair at Staffordshire University this weekend.

Activities for all the family are on offer at the Staffordshire Invertebrate Science Fair which takes place on campus at The Science Centre, Saturday 3 March, 2018.

The day will feature indoor pond dipping, insect identification sessions and a 'mini lab' where guests can inspect bugs under the microscope. There will be readings from 'Little Worm's Big Question' by the book's authors and visitors can even take a selfie with main character Little Worm.

This year, the fair has also joined forces with the Children's University which encourages 5-14 year olds to try new experiences, develop new interests and acquire new skills. Participating schoolchildren can 'travel' to educational locations with their Passport to Learning and the fair will count as one of these learning destinations.

Dr Dave Skingsley, Senior Lecturer in Biology at Staffordshire University, has helped to organise the event with Andy Jukes of the Staffordshire Invertebrate Group.

Dave  said: “We are really excited to be involved with the Children's University and hope that lots of budding scientists will be able to come along.

“As a University it is important to connect with the community and raise aspirations of schoolchildren in our region. We are passionate about biology and hopefully that enthusiasm will help to inspire the next generation.”

Experts from a range of organisations and societies including Alton Towers' Sea Life Centre, the Arachnological Society and the Bumblebee Conservation will also be on hand to offer advice and answer any bug-related questions.

Visitors can attend a range of talks from leading biologists including Darren Mann from Oxford University's Museum of Natural History who will explore the world of poo – from a dung beetle's perspective.

Stan the Stag, a giant model of a male stag beetle will be on display and is just one of the rare species found in association with deadwood, the subject of Dr Sarah Henshall's talk at the fair.

Other talks come from Nurturing Nature's George Pilkington about bee hotels and Dr Dave Skingsley will discuss insects and social media.

Dave added: “The fair is now in its 4th year and we always have a great turn-out. This year's event is even bigger and better with more stalls, more guests and more activities showcasing the wonders of the natural world.

“This is a great opportunity to come onto campus and see our fantastic facilities, learn something new and hopefully have lots of fun!”

The Staffordshire Invertebrate Science Fair takes place on Saturday 3 March, 10.30am – 4pm, 2018 at  Staffordshire University's Science Centre, Leek Rd, St4 2DE. Free parking available on site.

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