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Education courses

Learn more about the natural world from local experts in an informal and friendly atmosphere and meet other people who share similar interests.

Northumbrian Botany class field trip, Long Byres, Shaftoe Crags © Janet Simkin

Courses cover a range of topics including geology, botany, astronomy and ornithology. Courses vary in length from 4-20 weeks, with many consisting of indoor classroom sessions and outdoor field trips. NHSN is fortunate to have experienced and knowledgeable course tutors. Student feedback has consistently rated the course content, teaching style and lecturers’ knowledge very highly.

Current and upcoming courses

NHSN members will receive an e-newsletter announcing when Autumn 2019 education courses are open for booking. We will advertise our courses on the website here, each of which will include a link to Eventbrite where you can register and pay for a place.

Education courses are only open to NHSN members.  Everyone is welcome to join NHSN.

26th
September
2019

Autumn Birdwatching - Durham

Autumn Birdwatching - Durham

Starting Thursday 26 September, 10.30am-12.30pm – at Shakespeare Hall, Durham

Course tutor: Keith Bowey
Course length: 10 weeks
Course structure: 5 indoor sessions and 5 field trips

A chance to learn more about birdwatching and how better to identify the birds you see, with a seasonal autumn theme. This course will cover a variety of topics designed to bring you greater enjoyment and understanding from watching birds.

Please note that indoor sessions will take place at Shakespeare Hall, Durham, DH1 4SQ.

Cost £88 (concessions £78)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

26th
September
2019

Autumn Birdwatching - Newcastle

Autumn Birdwatching - Newcastle

Starting Thursday 26 September, 2.00 – 4.00pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but there may still be places on the waitlist. To join the waitlist, follow the link to Eventbrite below, click on ‘Tickets’ and follow the instructions.

Course tutor: Keith Bowey
Course length: 10 weeks
Course structure: 5 indoor sessions and 5 field trips

A chance to learn more about birdwatching and how better to identify the birds you see, with a seasonal autumn theme. This course will cover a variety of topics designed to bring you greater enjoyment and understanding from watching birds.

Cost £88 (concessions £78)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

1st
October
2019

Birds of the North East - Morning

Birds of the North East - Morning

Starting Tuesday 1 October, 10.15am – 12.15pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but there may still be places on the waitlist. To join the waitlist, follow the link to Eventbrite below, click on ‘Tickets’ and follow the instructions.

Course tutor: David Noble-Rollin
Course length: 20 weeks
Course structure: 10 indoor sessions and 10 field trips

The course will cover the identification of species in the area including their winter call notes. Particular emphasis will be given to new material becoming available on migration and identification. The indoor meetings will be used to prepare for each visit with extensive use of videos, sound recordings and diagrams to help in the learning of identification and behaviour patterns. Each indoor session will include a particular topic or species that will be dealt with in detail.

Cost £180 (concessions £168)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

1st
October
2019

Birds of the North East - Afternoon

Birds of the North East - Afternoon

Starting Tuesday 1 October, 1.00 – 3.00pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but there may still be places on the waitlist. To join the waitlist, follow the link to Eventbrite below, click on ‘Tickets’ and follow the instructions.

Course tutor: David Noble-Rollin
Course length: 20 weeks
Course structure: 10 indoor sessions and 10 field trips

The course will cover the identification of species in the area including their winter call notes. Particular emphasis will be given to new material becoming available on migration and identification. The indoor meetings will be used to prepare for each visit with extensive use of videos, sound recordings and diagrams to help in the learning of identification and behaviour patterns. Each indoor session will include a particular topic or species that will be dealt with in detail.

Cost £180 (concessions £168)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

2nd
October
2019

The Sun and the Stars and their Observation

The Sun and the Stars and their Observation

Starting Wednesday 2 October, 7.00 – 9.00pm – at Percy Building, Newcastle University

Course tutor: Fred Stevenson
Course length: 7 weeks
Course structure: Indoor sessions

In this course, we will discuss all aspects of astronomy from the Earth to the Universe. The course will begin at planet Earth and discuss how the sky appears to change from our moving platform in space. As well as an introduction to the stars (including the Sun as a star), we will go on to discuss recent space missions and their discoveries as well as other recent space news – in particular the obtaining of the first-ever image of a black hole.

The course will be flexible and ideas for topics to discuss from participants are welcome as we go along. The course will take place on the university campus but at least one of the evenings will be used to put theory into practice and observe the night sky from a dark location. No previous knowledge or experience is necessary.

This course will be held in the Percy Building on Newcastle University Campus. For a map of Newcastle University Campus, please click here.

Cost: £70 (concessions £60)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

2nd
October
2019

Northumbrian Botany - Wednesday

Northumbrian Botany - Wednesday

© Ron Bowe

Starting Wednesday 2 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

N.B. One place left!

Course tutor: Janet Simkin
Course length: 20 weeks
Course structure: Indoor and field-based

The class will cover a wide range of topics, from succession to seaweeds, but with plenty of time being spent on plant identification and the ecology of local species. We will also keep in touch with topical items from the news and recent research. Beginners welcome.

Cost: £180 (concessions £168)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

2nd
October
2019

Northumbrian Botany - Friday

Northumbrian Botany - Friday

© Ron Bowe

Starting Friday 4 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but there may still be places on the waitlist. To join the waitlist, follow the link to Eventbrite below, click on ‘Tickets’ and follow the instructions.

Course tutor: Janet Simkin
Course length: 20 weeks
Course structure: Indoor and field-based

The class will cover a wide range of topics, from succession to seaweeds, but with plenty of time being spent on plant identification and the ecology of local species. We will also keep in touch with topical items from the news and recent research. Beginners welcome.

Cost: £180 (concessions £168)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

2nd
October
2019

Wildlife Video for Beginners

Wildlife Video for Beginners

Wanderer © David Noble-Rollin

Starting Wednesday 2 October, 1.00 – 3.00pm

CANCELLED – we apologise for any inconvenience of disappointment caused.

Course tutor: David Noble-Rollin
Course length: 10 weeks
Course structure: 7 indoor sessions and 3 field trips

Most modern digital cameras boast a HD video capacity. Many photographers don’t seem to use this very exciting part of the camera’s ability. This course is aimed at showing how to take video and then edit it into a reasonable and interesting short film. The course will consist of presentations of techniques for both capturing video and then editing the result into a film. There will be field meetings to practice taking video in different circumstances, then practical sessions for the participants to learn editing skills and finally a presentation of students work taken during the course. This will be discussed and suggestions made on extra techniques that could have been applied to improve the final result.

The course is aimed at people who have a digital camera with HD video facility. Students will need Adobe Premier Elements 9 or higher on their laptops for the editing sessions. Other free programmes, in general, do not give the range of editing tools needed and often are more difficult to get the results required. There will be two laptops available for the editing session for those who do not have the programme.

Cost: £88 (concessions £78)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
October
2019

The Quaternary

The Quaternary

Starting Thursday 3 October, 6.15 – 8.15pm – at Percy Building, Newcastle University

Course tutor: Angus Lunn and Derek Teasdale
Course length: 16 weeks
Course structure: Indoor sessions

Dr Angus Lunn and Derek Teasdale will lead attendees on a 16-week journey through the last 2.6 million years. Students will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary, with particular attention to Northern England. Some knowledge of the subject is helpful, but not essential.

This course will be held in the Percy Building on Newcastle University Campus. For a map of Newcastle University Campus, please click here.

Cost: £148 (concessions £138)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

7th
October
2019

The Geology of South Durham - Monday

The Geology of South Durham - Monday

Starting Monday 7 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course tutor: Derek Teasdale
Course length: 8 weeks
Course structure: Indoor and field-based

Join Derek Teasdale on this popular field-trip based course, which explores the varied geology and landscape of our region.  This term, attendees will visit Pike Law in Teesdale to look at the industrial archaeology of the North Pennine Ore Field, examine the Cleveland Dyke and Roseberry Topping, and explore the Durham Coast at Hawthorn Dene and the Easington Raised Beach.  All are welcome – there is always something new to learn!

Cost £78 (concessions £68)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

10th
October
2019

The Geology of South Durham - Thursday

The Geology of South Durham - Thursday

Starting Thursday 10 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course tutor: Derek Teasdale
Course length: 8 weeks
Course structure: Indoor and field-based

Join Derek Teasdale on this popular field-trip based course, which explores the varied geology and landscape of our region.  This term, attendees will visit Pike Law in Teesdale to look at the industrial archaeology of the North Pennine Ore Field, examine the Cleveland Dyke and Roseberry Topping, and explore the Durham Coast at Hawthorn Dene and the Easington Raised Beach.  All are welcome – there is always something new to learn!

Cost £78 (concessions £68)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

20th
October
2019

Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling

Sunday 20 October, 11.00am – 3.00pm

Course tutor: Jenna Clake
Course length: 1 day
Course structure: Indoor session

Learn to capture the beauty of nature, the changes that unfold with the seasons and the behaviours observed in the natural world in the written word. In this short course with nature writer Jenna Clake, attendees will aim to better their creative writing skills and create their own nature journals.

Cost: £35 (concessions £30)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
November
2019

Writing about Climate Change

Writing about Climate Change

Sunday 3 November, 11.00am – 3.00pm

Course tutor: Jenna Clake
Course length: 1 day
Course structure: Indoor session

The written word is vital when it comes to inspiring others to take action on behalf of nature. Join nature writer, Jenna Clake, for a crash course designed to boost your writing skills and help you craft sentences capable of encouraging others to take a stand for the natural world.

Cost: £35 (concessions £30)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

16th
November
2019

Cracking Cones

Cracking Cones

Saturday 16 November, 11.00am – 3.30pm

Course tutor: Alison Cutts
Course length: 1 day
Course structure: Indoor session

Learn to master the seemingly complex form of cones in time for Christmas! It’s all about the spiral.

In this day session with artist Alison Cutts, you will explore the structure of cones to produce a observational drawing. Suitable for all levels of drawing experience, including beginners. Drawing materials and a selection of cones will be provided.

Cost: £35 (concessions £30)

Booking essential. To book, please go to Eventbrite here.

How to Book

To book a course please follow the Eventbrite link in the course description.

To enroll on our courses you must be a member of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. For details of membership click here.

Our courses vary in length, costs and the amount of time spent on field trips or in the classroom, so please check each course for details. All our courses are suitable for beginner and intermediate level unless stated otherwise.

For outdoor classes you will need to make your own way to the meeting point (although we encourage car sharing where possible). You will also need to be physically able to walk on unsurfaced paths and up steps/slopes.

Unless stated, classroom sessions take place either in the Great North Museum: Hancock or the University of Newcastle campus, both in central Newcastle upon Tyne.

Terms and Conditions

If you have questions about any of our courses, please contact us and we will be pleased to help, or you can download our full terms and conditions.

What Others Say

I really love being able to get to grips with specimens indoors, and then having the opportunity to see what we had studied actually growing outdoors. Fascinating!

Fiona Aungier, LOWER PLANTS STUDENT

I enjoy the course very much. Really, it’s just getting together with knowledgeable friends!

Barry McWilliam, QUATERNARY STUDENT

I like everything about my course! Our tutor is great, I really enjoy the field trips and you make friends with people who have the same interests.

Sylvia Jones, BIRDS OF THE NORTH EAST STUDENT

Having the courses in the Society’s home at the Great North Museum: Hancock enables us to look at the actual fossil specimens and appreciate them more.

Rose Kay, ORIGINS OF MAN STUDENT