Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Showing 7 indoor events

Blue Tit chick in its nestbox



Make Your Own Bird & Halloween Bat Boxes

27th Oct 2014
Monday 27 Oct
10.45am, 11.30am and 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. There will be 3 sessions (each one lasting 30 minutes) on a first come, first served basis.
Nomada marshamella, solitary wasp © Louise Hislop websize



Social and antisocial behaviour in parasitic wasps by Dr Ian Hardy

31st Oct 2014
Friday 31 Oct, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Wasps can be a nuisance when they steal our food and drink, but these are the social wasps. There are many more species of beneficial parasitic wasps. In this talk Ian Hardy from the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham will introduce parasitic, or ‘parasitoid’, wasps, of which there are many thousands of species worldwide. He will go on to discuss species in which adult wasps fight each other directly for vital resources and outline what determines which contestant wins. His talk will also consider some very unusual parasitoids that do not fight, but instead several mothers look after broods of offspring communally (termed quasi-sociality). Both fighting and non-fighting wasps tend to produce mainly females in their offspring groups. The reasons for biased sex ratios in fighting wasps are well understood but the sex ratios of quasi-social wasps require explanations that are novel among parasitoids.
Water Vole © David Gibbon



Water Voles in the North East by Amy Carrick

7th Nov 2014
Friday 7th November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

This charismatic and once common species has declined dramatically in recent decades and is now a rare sight. Amy Carrick will explore Water Vole distribution around the North East, its ecology, habitats and threats. We will learn the field signs of Water Voles – what to look for when out and about and how to get involved with surveying. Amy will also feedback the results of a recent Tees Valley Water Vole Survey and what this is telling us about future populations and the changing face of our waterways.

Amy works for the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust and has co-ordinated the Tees Valley Water Vole Survey Project.




WildWatch North Pennines by Samantha Finn

14th Nov 2014
Friday 14th November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

WildWatch is a 3-year project funded by the Lottery to increase the recording of species in the North Pennines. Over 650 people and almost 20,000 records later, this talk will highlight what species have been recorded in the North Pennines in the last 3 years, including new discoveries, and how people of all experience levels have contributed to a significant surge in biological data gathering in this special landscape.

Sam Finn grew up in Allendale, Northumberland and started out as a volunteer wildlife recorder before leading the WildWatch project for the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership.
woodland May DNR



Wood Pasture - not just a walk in the park by Paulo Muto

21st Nov 2014
Friday 21st November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Wood pasture is a dynamic ecosystem of trees, scrub, open habitat and grazing animals that has many unique and useful features. In this talk we will explore the evolution, history and future potential of wood pasture habitat in the UK and Europe.

Paul Muto is a land management adviser with Natural England. His interest in wood pasture has developed from his work in woodlands, grazing and the historic environment. He is active in the promotion of agroforestry as a sustainable and productive land management system.



The remarkable foraging behaviour of Gannets by Professor Keith Hamer

28th Nov 2014
Friday 28th November, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Gannets are one of the few UK seabirds that has dramatically increased in recent decades, but why? Keith Hamer will describe how studies of Gannets at different colonies around the UK have helped to reveal some of the secrets of this remarkable bird's sustained success and to highlight key dangers for the future.

Keith Hamer is Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on wildlife ecology and the conservation of biodiversity in natural and managed landscapes and seascapes, with a particular emphasis on trophic ecology: what animals eat, how they get enough, and how this determines both their responses to environmental change and their contributions to broader ecosystem-level processes.



Gliding Reptiles, Strange Fishes & Barrier Reefs: Northumbrian Wildlife in the Permian Period by Tim Pettigrew

5th Dec 2014
Friday 5th December, 7-8pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle

Tim will describe the evidence for the catastrophic flooding of the Northumbrian Permian desert by the Zechstein Sea, which then formed the habitat for an amazing diversity of plants and animals. The creatures of the remarkable barrier reef, which developed in what is now County Durham, will also be described, including one animal hitherto un-recorded in the UK. The slow demise of the Zechstein Sea coincided with the gradual elimination of the remaining Permian wildlife. The last fossils in Northumbria were preserved in the rocks around Seaham Harbour, before the world-wide mass extinction at the end of the Period, which is widely believed to have been caused by a global warming event.

Tim Pettigrew was in charge of the geological collections at Sunderland Museum from 1975 until 1991.

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.