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Sing-along with the Museum as they launch ‘The 12 Days of Winter Wildlife’

From hedgehogs to starlings and hibernating insects, all winter wildlife will be celebrated in the Museum of Zoology’s new ‘The 12 Days of Winter Wildlife’ event. Over 12 days in December, the Museum will be uncovering an array of winter wildlife related information, including a daily film plus an activity or craft for people to try at home.

The event will be launched at 4.30pm on Tuesday 1st December with a live introduction via YouTube and a preview of the ‘animal line-up’ over the next 12 days. Day one will also include the first opportunity to hear the song ‘The 12 Days of Critters’ which is set to a very familiar tune. The song, recorded by Museum volunteers, staff & friends, has been written especially for the Museum by PhD student, Kate Howlett.

Dr Roz Wade, Senior Learning & Engagement Coordinator said, ‘This will be a fun event, as we have a specially written song, to a tune that everyone can sing along to. Huge thanks to everyone involved in this event, including those people who have gone the extra mile to record the song.  We very much hope that you enjoy the event, and maybe the song will become your latest earworm!’                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The event is aimed at encouraging people to look out for and to look after wildlife during the cold winter months. It will cover a wide range of topics, such as supporting garden wildlife, bird feeding, bird migration, the importance of water for animals over winter and how to spot hibernating insects such as some butterflies and ladybirds.

Professor Rebecca Kilner, Director of the Museum said ‘It’s really important for our wellbeing that we get outside this winter, not only to immerse ourselves in the natural world but also to provide animals with support over the coldest months of the year. There’s a lot we can do to help animals survive the season, and we hope that this event will show people how they can enjoy playing their part.’                                                                           

The 12 Days of Winter Wildlife starts on Tuesday 1st December at 4.30pm – you can find out more by going to our Facebook page @ZoologyMuseumCambridge or our Twitter page @ZoologyMuseum, or find all the details at

The livestream on Tuesday 1st December will be hosted on YouTube Live. Day 2 -12 of the event will be posted each day on the Museum’s blog.

The 12 Days of Winter Wildlife 2020 – full programme 

Tuesday 1st December at 4.30pm via YouTube

Topic:              Live introduction. Get your questions ready for the live Q&A with wildlife expert Rob Jacques from the British Trust for Ornithology.  Preview the 12 days ahead with a series of mini films by Museum staff and volunteers. PLUS the ‘The 12 Days of Critters’ song launch!

Activity:           Spot wildlife near you by downloading our Wildlife Spotter sheet


All the content for Days 2-12 will be posted each day at 9am on the Museum’s blog.


Wednesday 2nd December:

Topic:              Garden birds. Supporting and feeding birds over winter.

Activity:           How to make fat cakes for birds


Thursday 3rd December:

Topic:              Active insects. Which insects stay active over winter?       

Activity:           Make a sustainable winter gift from recycled fabrics.


Friday 4th December:

Topic:              Life underground. What’s living in your compost heap?

Activity:           Create your own compost heap


Saturday 5th December:

Topic:              Hibernation. Which animals huddle away over winter?

Activity:           Make an insect refuge to support winter wildlife.


Sunday 6th December:

Topic:              Winter mammals. Look out for urban wildlife and mammals this winter

Activity:           Is your memory as good as a squirrel’s? Create your own memory game


Monday 7th December:

Topic:              Winter visitors. Which animals visit us over the winter and why?

Activity:           Make your own sustainable sweet treat


Tuesday 8th December:

Topic:              Healthy habitats. Exploring the unsung heroes of healthy habitats.

Activity:           Choosing comfort foods that also comfort the environment


Wednesday 9th December:

Topic:              Winter water. The importance of water for winter wildlife

Activity:           Looking at different types of bird baths


Thursday 10th December:

Topic:              Traces of winter wildlife. How do you spot animal tracks in winter?

Activity:           Make your own footprint wrapping paper


Friday 11th December:

Topic:              Surprising winter animals. Surprising animals from around the world.

Activity:           How to make wrapping winter gifts more sustainable


Saturday 12th December:

Topic:              The 12 Days of Critters. Another chance to hear the song!

Activity:           Create a paper starling murmuration mobile


Notes to editors:

About the Museum:

The University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge is temporarily closed due to the current lockdown measures. It is one of the largest and most important natural history collections in the UK, with an extraordinarily rich history dating back to 1814. In 2018 the Museum reopened after a five-year, £4.1million redevelopment – including nearly £2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund – to reveal thousands of incredible specimens from across the animal kingdom, including whales, elephants, a giraffe, giant ground sloth, insects, corals as well as items collected by Charles Darwin.


About The National Lottery Heritage Fund

Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

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University of Cambridge Museums is a consortium of the eight University Museums and the Botanic Garden, supported by Arts Council England. The consortium includes: Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettle's Yard, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Museum of Zoology, Museum of Classical Archaeology, Whipple Museum of the History of Science, The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and The Polar Museum. The University's collections are a world-class resource for researchers, students and members of the public representing the country’s highest concentration of internationally important collections, all within walking distance of the City Centre.