Discovery Planet sessions in Ramsgate will share amazing qualities of spiders

Spider workshops with Discovery Planet Image by Ted Erski

Are you scared of spiders?

Lots of people are, but in the UK you are extremely unlikely to be bitten by a spider and even less likely to experience any negative effect as a result.

Spiders are actually very useful creatures. They are predators and their main prey are insects, so they help keep our homes free of flies and lower the spread of insect-borne diseases. They also protect our crops and livestock. In Britain alone, it has been estimated that spiders eat more than the weight of the human population in insects each year! As natural pest controllers they are second to none.

Spiders are now also providing benefits for medical research and product development. Spider venom has the potential to act as a safer painkiller and may be able to treat strokes or muscular dystrophy. Their venom can be used to manufacture eco-friendly pesticides and beauty products and can be used for antivenom supplies in cases of harmful spider bites in other countries.

Discovery Planet’s next set of free workshops, funded by the Royal Society of Chemistry and Discovery Park, are all about spiders, exciting developments in biotechnology, and how we can learn from our eight-legged friends.

To devise the workshop content, Dr Vicky Mason has teamed up with Venomtech, a global leader for venom research enterprises, based in laboratories at Discovery Park in Sandwich. Through a series of hands-on activities, you’ll be able to find out more about how spiders can help us make pioneering advances in drug discovery, crop protection and cosmetics. You’ll also find out how the Venomtech laboratory works and can ask a staff member any questions you like.  There is no need to go near a spider if you don’t want to!

The workshops will take place at the Discovery Planet shop, 47 High Street , Ramsgate CT11 9AG, on  February the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and the 23rd and 24th.

Sessions on Thursdays and Fridays are for school and home educated groups and must be booked in advance by contacting Nikki at [email protected].

There are still free spaces left for school groups at the following times:

Thursday 1st Feb at 2PM

Friday 2nd of Feb at 12 NOON and 1PM

Friday 23rd Feb at 11AM, 12 NOON and 2PM

Sessions on Saturdays for everyone take place on the hour, every hour, from 10am to 3pm (which is when the last session starts). It’s completely free of charge to attend and there’s no need to book. Just drop in.

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