Incredible Creatures at New Scientist Live 2019

Four action packed days, thousands of enthused visitors, and countless ecological insights. Headlining the Earth Zone at New Scientist Live 2019, the society’s ‘Incredible Creatures’ multisensory photography exhibition was a roaring success.

Chanida Fung amazing young visitors with a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach British Ecological Society


Sights, sounds and smells of the wild

Within our immersive sensory exhibition, visitors were transported into tangled jungle, submerged beneath ocean waves, and cast into the darkest night where creatures prowl.

Stepping inside, real soundscapes and even smells of the natural world accompanied stunning wildlife images. Rain forest cicadas, sonorous whale song, and the uplifting beauty of the dawn chorus washed over observers. Pungent aromas of these environments diffused around them, from the crisp scent of rock pools to the vibrant fragrance of lavender in an urban garden.

“The whole thing was amazing.”


“Informative and fascinating.”


“Please come back next year!”

– Visitors’ feedback

Paul Howden-Leach of Wildlife Acoustics gets visitors capturing their bird call impressions on screen British Ecological Society
Camera trap images quizzed visitors on their mammal identification skills. Researchers from the MammalWeb Ltd. Citizen Science project were kept busy!

Meeting our scientists

Visitors also met BES members and the photographers themselves who work to uncover the secret lives of animals and protect them. Up on towering digital displays, visitors could get a drones-eye-view of the impact of rainforest deforestation, practice their bird calls with real-time sonogram recordings, and deploy their mammal identification skills with camera trap shots.

A huge draw for the exhibition was the chance handle live insects with the Royal Entomological Society. Whether conquering fears or wanting to learn more about the value of these incredible creatures, the Madagascan hissing cockroaches certainly wowed the crowds!

Visitors also met our team of enthusiastic science ‘buskers’ (who got them hands on with everything from our infamous ‘poo game’ to a real warthog skull!), and attended packed-out stage talks by leading ecologists.

“The staff were SO engaging with kids.”


“Variety, accessible, and information for all levels.”


“The volunteers were brilliant.”

– Visitors’ feedback


British Ecological Society
In the People’s Choice vote for best image, ‘Marine Iguanas Warm Up’ by Mark Tatchell claimed the prize, with Mark in attendance to share his insights into the behaviours of these wonderful animals.

The value of ecology, and the role of the BES

But this was more than a photography exhibition appreciating the beauty of animals. Whether through our image captions or demonstrators, ecological issues faced by these species were highlighted throughout. Crucially, they also emphasised that through ecological science there is hope, championing the vital work of ecologists in tackling global environmental challenges.

BES staff shared the important role of the society in reinforcing the impact of scientific research. Our conversations with visitors captured their deep concerns for the state of our environment – from climate change to plastic pollution and deforestation. But they also made it clear that the exhibition left them with a greater appreciation of the value of ecology, and a feeling that the BES can play a vital role in raising awareness to ensure positive change.

“By gaining more information we can learn how to protect the environment and find a way to live alongside nature.”


“I think the BES could be influential in spreading greater awareness of the need to incorporate ecological guardianship into everyday life.”

– Visitors’ feedback

The cross-journal virtual issue ‘Why Ecology Matters’ was produced for the event to highlight the vital work of ecologists in tackling global environmental issues
Our free 'Where can ecology take you?' resource informed future ecologists about the diversity of ecological careers available to them

Where next? Capturing Ecology Exhibition 2020, Belfast, Northern Ireland

We are excited to announce that from February 2020 the Capturing Ecology Photography Exhibition will run for six weeks within Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland, in partnership with National Museums Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Science Festival.

The public engagement events programme at the BES depends on the knowledge, enthusiasm, and hard work of its demonstrators, and we want you to be involved in the future of our Capturing Ecology Exhibition.

Through new collaborations, together we will reach and enthuse new audiences to share the excitement and importance of ecology.

The enthusiastic BES team, complete with Wilbur the Warthog

Find out more about our exhibition via #IncredibleCreatures on Instagram and Twitter!

Do you want our exhibition in your venue? Do you want to get involved in demonstrating yourself? Contact