A Christmas of “weird creatures” with Nick Baker

For their Christmas Science Show Oriel Science and S4 (Swansea University’s Science for Schools Scheme) found someone exceptional to match the special time of year, British Naturalist and TV Presenter Nick Baker!

Always on the lookout to prove just how accessible and interactive science and nature can be, the Oriel Science team organised two free shows in the Taliesin Arts Centre, offering schools (Years 5, 6 and 7) the chance to come and see Nick Baker’s amazing “Weird Creatures”.

Nick talked about his experiences travelling the world in search of the weird and wonderful, bringing lots of fun and fascinating wildlife facts to Swansea, from the Andes and the baggy frogs of Lake Titicaca, to the darkest depths of Slovenia’s caves to meet the Olm.

Nick Baker's Weird Creatures

Damian Dalton, teacher at St Illtyd’s R.C. Primary School said: “The pupils from St Illytd’s were mesmerised, entertained and thoroughly enjoyed hearing about Nick Baker’s animal adventures at his show at Swansea University.  Thanks to Oriel Science for inviting us to such as inspirational talk.”

Julie Miller, teacher at Sketty Primary School said: “Our Year 5's and 6's had a fantastic morning at Nick Baker's show. They were fascinated by the unusual animals he had discovered, especially the Pink Fairy Armadillo. The show was really fun and really educational too, and Nick was so easy to listen to. Thanks for a great morning.”

Oriel Science is a unique exhibition centre where Swansea University’s STEMM research can be showcased to the community. Their main goal is to ignite scientific curiosity amongst the public, and events like “Weird Creatures” allow Oriel Science to achieve this. With 11 schools and 638 pupils in attendance, both shows were sold out, highlighting the demand for centres like Oriel Science within the community.

Ivor Lewis, Year 6 pupil at Sketty Primary School said: “"It was interesting and very exotic. I loved learning about the pink fairy armadillo."

Mary Gagen, Associate Professor of Geography and Deputy Director of Oriel Science said: “the students were clearly enthralled by Nick’s amazing stories of weird and wonderful creatures. You could hear a penny drop as Nick described being left in the pitch darkness in a cave, 4km underground, to look for Olms, a fabled Slovenian salamander once believed by local people to be baby dragons!”

“As well as hearing Nick talk about exotic creatures though, it was wonderful to hear his stories of exploring rivers and rock pools right here in the UK, as a child, something I hope will inspire our students to study nature and see where it takes them too!”

Nick Baker and Oriel Science Staff

Mary Gagen (Oriel Science Deputy Director), Gemma Woodhouse (Oriel Science Student Ambassador), Alicia Petersen (Biology Outreach Tutor), Kristi Pracki (Physics Outreach Tutor), Nick Baker and Hannah Williams (Biology Outreach Tutor).

With the help of renowned guests like Nick, Oriel Science hopes to continue encouraging young students to develop their interest in science, to start being more aware of nature and the world around them, and to inspire them to consider studying science and nature subjects later on in their education.