TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham was given a special helping hand as he officially opened the Joseph Banks Laboratories at the University of Lincoln on April 14.
The host of BBC’s Springwatch series unveiled the new laboratories before delivering his inaugural lecture since being appointed Visiting Professor at the university to around 300 students.
However, the broadcaster was upstaged by university tortoise Charles Darwin, who ignored traditional ribbon-cutting etiquette in favour of chewing through a chain of rocket.
The presenter also sowed the first seeds in the new wildflower meadow at the back of the laboratories.
The award-winning conservationist, photographer and environmental campaigner will deliver lectures and workshops to students in Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, sharing his expertise and insights on wildlife conservation.
As a Visiting Professor, Chris will work with undergraduates on a range of science subjects, including Biology, Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Zoology, Biomedical and Bioveterinary Science.
He will also deliver sessions for Photography and Media Production students.
Chris said: “I’m very flattered and privileged to have been appointed to the role of Visiting Professor. I don’t see myself as a traditional ‘professor’ but I will approach the role with a degree of energy and ambition and will focus on attempting to inspire the natural science students that are here.
“Education can sometimes be a torturous path – not everyone is equipped to pass exams with flying colours. I’m interested in reaching out to the great breadth of students and hoping to fuel that spark which has ignited their interest in natural sciences so that they continue to be productive in that field, prosper in that trade and use the knowledge that they gain and put it into practice with conservation.”
Dr Libby John, Head of the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, added: “Students have the opportunity to work closely with world class academics on real research projects, engage in international fieldtrips and conduct a wide variety of project work.
“Chris will bring a hugely valuable perspective to our conservation teaching which will further stimulate and challenge students.”