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Friday, 17 July 2015

Nature Day at Braintree Museum in Honour of John Ray: 28 November 2015

On Saturday 28th November 2015 Braintree District Museum is holding an exciting nature day to mark the anniversary of the birth of local nature hero John Ray. The day includes a range of talks, workshops and stands, with something for all ages and for nature novices through to wildlife experts. We are pleased to be hosting two prominent speakers — Roger Tabor, TV wildlife and nature presenter, and Dr Roos of Lincoln University - who will be giving us insights into Ray's life, work and scientific travels. Other highlights include a wildlife drawing workshop at 11:30am and the chance to meet Alamanda Therapy's two miniature American horses.

Tickets are £6.50 for adults and £3.50 for children and can be purchased in advance by calling 01376 328868. Places on each talk and workshop can also be booked in advance. Full details of the activity programme are below.

John Ray founded natural history as a scientific, experiment-based and university-worthy subject in Britain. He rose from humble beginnings as the son of the village blacksmith to pursue a successful career at the University of Cambridge, and then an even more successful independent research career after leaving the university in 1662. He developed the first scientific definition of a species and used this to produce the first scientific classification of plants, animals, birds, fish, reptiles and insects. His three-volume History of Plants included over 15,000 species and covered much of the known world. His work helped pave the way for Linnaeus' classification system and Darwin's work on evolution. Ray invented the terms petal and pollen, and was the first scientist to study and record the complete life cycle of the butterfly. Discover more at our John Ray day, and don't forget to explore our John Ray gallery as well. The Museum would like to thank the John Ray Trust for their support of this event.

10:30am Introduction to John Ray with Roger Tabor
Learn more about the amazing work of John Ray from a contemporary naturalist who has been inspired by Ray's work. Roger Tabor is a television presenter, biologist, naturalist, behaviourist and award-winning author. He has broadcast on wildlife, plants and animals, but is particularly known for his groundbreaking BBC series 'Cats'.

11:30am John Ray's European Travels with Francis Willughby and Martin Lister with Dr Anna Marie Roos
During his continental tour of 1663-66, John Ray went to Montpellier, where he encountered Martin Lister, a medical student who would become the first scientific arachnologist (studier of spiders) and conchologist (studier of mussel shells). Lister's travel diary and student notebook were rediscovered in the Bodleian Library, and their travels and natural history observations in the south of France were reconstructed in a British Academy funded website, mapping stages of their journey from England to Montpellier and back via Paris and documenting them photographically. This talk discusses how these images of landscape, natural history specimens, and museums and artifacts were conceived as a form of humanistic fieldwork, allowing us to reconstruct the mental world of Ray and Lister. Dr Roos is a Senior Lecturer in the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Lincoln and a regular public science speaker on the radio.

1:30pm A Year in the Wildlife of Bocking with Alexander Bass
This talk looks at the diverse range of wildlife found over a typical year around a range of habitats in Bocking, including the Bocking Blackwater local nature reserve, The Fennes Estate and the Pant Valley. Alexander is a biodiversity and wildlife tutor for the WEA Eastern Region.

2:30pm John Ray's Legacy for the 21" Century with Malcolm Bryan How scientific discoveries challenge us to take an active part in protecting the Natural World. Workshops

11:30am —12:30pm Wildlife Illustration Workshop Pen and Ink workshop with Alexander Bass — Advance booking advised Suitable for all ages

All day — Drop in nature activities in the John Ray Gallery

• Have a go at our birdsong and animal sounds test - can you identify the bird or animal from their call? • Discover insects under the microscope • Make a seedball for the wild birds in your garden

Drop in Stands
Essex Rock and Mineral Society Fossil Display Essex Mammals, including a book signing with Darren Tansley of 'Mammals of Essex' 2014 John Ray Trust Braintree District Council Landscape Services Braintree and Bocking Public Gardens Meet some local Guide Dogs for the Blind Alamanda Therapy North Essex Badger Group 
Press Enquiries: Jennifer Brown 01376 325 266

Braintree District Museum

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