Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Showing 16 indoor events

NHSN Council Room 2009



Society Archives Heritage Open Day, Newcastle

11th Sep 2015
Friday 11 September, 11am-3.30pm.

We will be opening the doors of our prestigious Council Room in the Great North Museum: Hancock as part of the national Heritage Open Day weekend. We will be displaying some of our fascinating archive material, including manuscripts and drawings relating to the story of the Museum’s spectacular Giant Spider Crab. Visitors can also see the historic furnishings and paintings in the room.
Bumble Bee © James Petts



Can cities save bees? Insights from the Urban Pollinators Project. Talk by Dr Mark Goddard

2nd Oct 2015
Friday 2 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

There has been much concern about the decline of bees and other pollinators in recent years. The Urban Pollinators Project was set up to explore the importance of urban habitats for pollinators and asks three main research questions: (i) How does pollinator biodiversity in towns and cities compare to that of nature reserves and farmland? (ii) Where are the hot-spots of pollinator biodiversity in cities? (iii) What can we do to improve pollinator diversity and abundance in cities? In his talk Mark will discuss the results of the project and the implications for how we manage our urban green spaces to make cities more pollinator-friendly.

Mark Goddard is researcher at Newcastle University studying biodiversity on urban land. He has been working on nature conservation for over 10 years. Before coming to Newcastle, Mark worked on pollinators in urban environments at the University of Leeds.
Mantis © Steve Smith



Aliens amongst us: how to see the world like an insect. Talk by Dr Vivek Nityananda

9th Oct 2015
Friday 9 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Humans and insects are really different, right? Yet we have a lot of common problems. The world is full of information and both insects and humans have to make sense of it all. Remember trying to listen to a single conversation in the middle of noisy party? Crickets have to do something similar to find out where their mates are calling. Imagine searching for your favourite chocolate in a supermarket with many shelves of products. Bees do something similar every day when searching for rewarding flowers in a meadow full of other flowers. How about deciding how far to throw a ball in a game of basketball? Mantises have to make similar judgements about how far their prey is before reaching out to grab it. We know something about how we manage these everyday problems. But how do insects do this? I will talk about the different solutions they have and how scientists try to get inside insect brains to figure them out. Perhaps, after all, we might sometimes have more in common with insects than we think.

Vivek Nityananda is a researcher at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. He studies sensory biology in several animal systems including crickets, frogs and bees. Right now he's figuring out how mantises see in 3D. He was awarded a Great North Museum: Hancock public engagement fellowship this year.
Marsh Orchid © Dumgoyach



The wild flowers of Orkney and some comparisons with Shetland. Talk by Eric Meek

16th Oct 2015
Friday 16 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Born and brought up in Northumberland, Eric Meek moved to Orkney in 1981 to become the RSPB’s Area Officer in the islands, a post he held until his retirement in 2012. His main area of study has been birds and he co-authored “Northumberland’s Birds”. While in Orkney he has published papers on raptors, seabirds, wildfowl and the effects of wind turbines on birds. Like many birdwatchers, his interests have widened and botany now plays as much a part in his life as ornithology. He has recently co-authored the “Orkney Rare Plant Register” and in this talk he will describe some of the unique aspects of Orcadian botany and discuss the main differences between the plants of that archipelago and those of its northern neighbour, Shetland.
Red Squirrel © Cain Scrimgeour



Mammals through a lens. Talk by Cain Scrimgeour

23rd Oct 2015
Friday 23 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Photographing and filming wild mammals in Britain requires field craft, patience and some luck. Local naturalist, photographer and filmmaker Cain Scrimgeour will show us some of his work and talk about his experiences of capturing mammals through a lens.

Cain is a freelance filmmaker, cameraman, time-lapse photographer, wildlife photographer and editor who grew up in Whitley Bay. His inspiration has always been the suburban wildlife around him and he has recently brought this to screen on BBC’s “Inside Out”. He has produced footage for the BBC, ITV, Northumberland National Park and English Heritage. He won a Royal Television Society Award in 2013.
Blue Tit chick in its nestbox



Make Your Own Bird & Halloween Bat Boxes

26th Oct 2015
Monday 26 October
10.30am - 12.15pm
Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

The Society’s nest box expert Geoff Lawrence will help you to make your own bird and bat boxes. This is a family event and all materials are provided but boxes cost £3 (birds) or £5.50 (bats) and are limited to one per family on a first come, first served basis.
Woodcock © Ronald Slabke



Woodcock in Britain: Migration, Populations and Trends. Talk by Chris Heward

30th Oct 2015
Friday 30 October, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Until recently, many aspects of the Woodcock's ecology were a mystery to us. Now, new technology is helping us answer important questions regarding the origins and habits of our migrant Woodcock. The use of stable isotope analysis, satellite transmitters and geolocators has given us a previously-unseen insight into their incredible journeys. But these migrants are only one side of the story; Britain is also home to a small resident breeding population of Woodcock. This population has undergone marked declines over the last 40 years, raising concerns about its future. The questions that we currently need to address centre on this resident population, about which relatively little is known.

Chris is a research assistant at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust which is leading research into Woodcock. He is also a PhD student at the University of Nottingham. He has worked with Woodcock for the past five years and is currently writing a thesis on the status and ecology of Britain's breeding population.
Sir_Roderick_Impey_Murchison © Wellcome Trust



Northumbrian Geologists of the 19th Century. Talk by Karl Egeland-Eriksen

6th Nov 2015
Friday 6 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

A look into the lives and works of the pioneers of geological investigation in northeast England. Those men with connections to the region and their contributions to the field of geology, both locally and in general. Including geologist such as Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792–1871), George Tate (1805–1871), C.T. Trechmann (1884–1964) and Arthur Holmes (1890–1965).

Karl is heavily involved in the Open University Geological Society and this talk will lead on from a recent paper he published in the OUGS Journal.
Pilot whale © Barnley Moss



British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Talk by Richard Ilderton

13th Nov 2015
Friday 13 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

British Divers Marine Life Rescue’s (BDMLR) volunteer medics were in the national news earlier this year when they helped rescue a pod of Pilot Whales that had stranded on the Isle of Skye.

BDMLR is a voluntary network of trained marine mammal medics who respond to call outs from the general public and the emergency services. They are the only marine animal rescue organisation operating across the UK. BDMLR is operated entirely by volunteers and their rescue teams are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They have a wide range of equipment strategically placed throughout the country to deal with strandings of marine animals, oil spills, fishing gear entanglement and in fact any type of marine animal in trouble.

Richard is the Co-ordinator for BDLMR in the North East and he will tell us about their work saving marine mammals and share his stories of cold wet nights, the highs and lows of volunteering and 101 uses for an old towel.



Lichens in the Attic. Talk by Dr Rebecca Yahr

20th Nov 2015
Friday 20 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Those who study lichens often wonder about the lichen flora of Britain before the industrial revolution; was it very different to now? Some timbers in old houses still have bark on, and on this the lichens that grew on the trees before they were felled are remarkably well preserved. Lichens are sensitive indicators of environmental conditions, so the new science of Archaeolichenology uses this evidence to reconstruct past environments, with some surprising results.

Rebecca is a researcher at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh studying lichen diversity and evolution. She is also a member of the Editorial Board for The Lichenologist and The Edinburgh Journal of Botany



The Birds of Nepal and their Conservation. Talk by Carol Inskipp

27th Nov 2015
Friday 27 November, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Nepal is exceptionally diverse and beautiful with habitats ranging from tropical lowland forests to alpine peaks including some of the world’s highest mountains. It also lies in the region of overlap between the Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan realms resulting in a rich and diverse bird life.

Carol Inskipp is the co-author of the Birds of Nepal field guide and several books on Nepal bird conservation including Important Bird Areas of Nepal and Nepal’s Forest Birds and their Conservation. In this talk she will give an overview of Nepal’s birds and the challenges of their conservation. Donations on the night will go to the Nepalese charity, Go School Initiative which is funding the building of temporary schools in Gaurishankar Conservation Area.



Active tectonics of the central Apennines. Talk by Prof Ken McCaffery

4th Dec 2015
Friday 4 December, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The historical record of Italy shows that many destructive earthquakes have taken place in central Italy. This talk will highlight ongoing work to understand activity on the normal fault systems that are responsible for the present-day active tectonics and to discuss implications for seismic hazard in the region including Rome itself.

Ken McCaffrey is a Professor in Earth Sciences at Durham University. He has made significant contributions to the fields of continental tectonics, particularly basement inheritance and igneous intrusion and fractured reservoir description.



Lichens in northeast England. Talk by Dr Janet Simkin

15th Jan 2016
Friday 15 January, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The study of lichens has a long history in the North East, starting with Winch in the 18th century. This talk will introduce us to some remarkable characters, and will also consider how the lichen flora of the area has changed over the years. Rarely seen herbarium specimens, books and archive material from the natural history society’s collections will be on display. This is a joint event with the British Lichen Society
Adder in Upper Coquet Valley



Adding Adders in County Durham. Talk by Anne Porter

22nd Jan 2016
Friday 22 January, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The Heart of Durham Adder Project was set up in 2011 in response to alarming reports from the south of the UK of Adders being found with genetic mutations. “In breeding depression” was the explanation put forward by scientists as the cause, which was also leading to declining Adder populations in some places. How were Adders in County Durham faring? Over the last four years Durham Wildlife Trust has been trying to find out. In conjunction with Sunderland University, volunteers have been collecting “sloughs”, shed skins which are contributing to a genetic database. In 2016 the project is aiming to map the location of reptile hibernation sites.

Anne is the Project Officer for Durham Wildlife Trust’s Heart of Durham Project. She will give an overview of Adder ecology and the project so far and explain why locating these hibernation sites are crucial, especially on the moorland of County Durham.



Quaternary Fluvial Archives: a new paradigm. Talk by Prof Dave Bridgland

29th Jan 2016
Friday 29 January, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

Work over the past few decades has pulled together geological and geomorphological records from rivers in the Quaternary Period that show interesting patterns of similarity and difference, which can be related to climate, its zonation and fluctuation, and to crustal provinces. Quaternary ice ages have influenced our landscape far beyond the immediate reach of the ice sheets themselves.

David Bridgland is a Professor in the Department of Geography at Durham University, with research interests in Quaternary environmental change and fluvial history, with reference to palaeontology and archaeology. Until recently he was President of the Geologist's Association.
Sea_Ice_North_of_Fairbanks © NASA



The retreat of the North Sea Ice lobe: New seafloor evidence from the Britice Chrono project. Talk by Dr Dave Roberts

26th Feb 2016
Friday 26 February, 7pm-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock

The ice sheet history of the east coast of the UK and western North Sea has long fascinated geologists. During the last glacial cycle the North East was overrun by the British-Irish Ice Sheet (BIIS) flowing eastwards and southwards. In recent years it has become evident that several ice streams including the Tweed, Tyne, and Stainmore Gap ice streams, as well as the late stage North Sea Lobe, played a role in shaping the landscape. Understanding the flow phasing of these ice streams is important for understanding the dynamic behaviour of the BIIS and ice sheet collapse patterns. Here we present new data from the seafloor collected during recent work undertaken by the BritIce Chrono project in the North Sea.

Dave Roberts is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography at Durham University. His research interests centre on glacial sedimentary processes, subglacial processes and controls on ice sheet and ice stream dynamics, in Greenland and the UK.

About Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Indoor Events

From October to March the Society invites regional and national experts in the natural world to give inspiring lectures to our members and the wider public.

Lectures are usually held every Friday evening, starting at 7pm, in the learning suite on the ground floor of the Great North Museum: Hancock. The museum is closed to the public at this time, so entry is via both side entrances.

Entry is from 6.20pm and tea, coffee and biscuits are available and the opportunity to socialise. Speakers give an illustrated presentation for 45mins-1 hour and then open the floor for questions and discussions.

On site parking is limited to blue badge holders only. There is a car park nearby on Claremont Road. The Museum is a 300m walk from Haymarket Metro and bus stations. For directions click here.

Non-members are very welcome to attend but we ask that they kindly make a donation on the night to support these lectures.

Outdoor Events

Throughout the year local experts lead field meetings to explore the natural world and magical landscapes of Northern England.

Outdoor events are free to members and their families. Some trips require us to hire boats or pay entrance fees and details of these costs are included in the information about the event.

For most events you can just turn up at the meeting place but some events must be booked in advance in order to manage numbers and this is stated in the information. You must make your own way to the meeting point. Please arrive early so that the event can start on time. Some activities last all day so you may need to take a drink and packed lunch with you.

In order to visit the best places our trips take place in natural landscapes that can be unpredictable. It is essential that you wear, or take with you, appropriate clothing and accessories to cope with heat, cold, wet, wind, biting insects and to walk on uneven, slippery or wet surfaces. Before you join any of our outdoor events it is essential that you read our Guidance.

Some events are run in partnership with other organisations or groups but otherwise our outdoor events are exclusively for Society members. If you are not a member and would like to attend an outdoor meeting then this can be arranged by contacting the Society office in advance and making a donation.