basketcrossdownloademailerrorfacebookgoogleplushomeleftnavphonerightsearchsubnavsuccessticktwitteryoutube
Sign in

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. The Society 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

Society members should have received an e-newsletter announcing that the bookings for Autumn education courses will be taken from Monday 4th September when the course information will go live on our website.  From Monday 4th September please email or phone the office to check availability on your chosen course.  Once your place is reserved please pay for your course, preferably online to reduce administrative costs.

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

12th
September
2017

Birds of the North East

Birds of the North East

Course Tutor David Noble-Rollin

NB: BOTH THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON BIRDS OF THE NORTH EAST COURSES ARE NOW FULLY BOOKED.
There are still spaces available our other bird watching courses.

Tuesdays starting 12 September 2017, 10:15 or 13.00

This 20-week course will cover the identification of species in the area including their winter call notes. Particular emphasis will be given to the study of migration 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.
Led by expert ornithologist, David Noble-Rollin

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

28th
September
2017

Autumn Birdwatching

Autumn Birdwatching

Thursday mornings starting 28 September 2017, 10.30 – 12.30 (Durham).
Thursday afternoons starting 28 September 2017, 14:00 – 16:00 (Newcastle)

This ten-week course offers you the chance to learn more about bird watching and better identify the birds you see, with a seasonal autumn theme. The course will cover a variety of topics, all of which are designed to bring you greater enjoyment and understanding from watching birds in their habitats. Led by one of the region’s best-known ornithologists,
Keith Bowey.

The indoor and outdoor sessions will alternate, with five indoor sessions and five outdoor
field trips over each ten-week course. Field trips will include visits to Whitburn Steel,
Hartlepool Headland and the Derwent Reservoir. Indoor classes take place in
Durham (mornings) or Newcastle (afternoons).

Cost £88 (concessions £72)

2nd
October
2017

Three Pennine Rivers: Geology and Industry

Three Pennine Rivers: Geology and Industry

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

NB: THE MONDAY OPTION FOR THIS COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED. PLACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE ON THE THURSDAY OPTION

Mondays starting 2 October 2017, 10.30. Thursdays starting 5 October 2017, 10.30.

Join Derek Teasdale on a field-based course to look at the landscape, geology and industries associated with the Allen, Wear and Derwent Rivers. We will visit Carboniferous outcrops in the Allenbanks / Staward and Derwent Gorges, quarries in the Frosterley Marble and
Great Limestone, and explore the beginnings of the iron and steel industry in Consett.
Three outdoor field days and four indoor session

Cost:£88 (concessions £72)

4th
October
2017

Northumbrian Botany

Northumbrian Botany

Course Tutor Janet Simkin

NB: THE FRIDAY NORTHUMBRIAN BOTANY COURSE IS NOW FULLY BOOKED.
There are still spaces available on the Wednesday option.

Wednesdays starting 4 October 2017, 10:30. Fridays starting 6 October 2017, 10:30.

Explore the fascinating world of plants, their identification and ecology in this course on botany with a local flavour, led by Dr Janet Simkin. 20 sessions including several full day field trips.

 Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

4th
October
2017

From Newcastle to the Stars and Beyond

From Newcastle to the Stars and Beyond

Wednesday evenings starting 4 October 2017, 19:00, for 7 weeks.

For the first time in history we know that there are planets similar to Earth orbiting stars beyond our solar system. Led by Fred Stevenson, we will consider how these extraordinary discoveries are changing our views as to the possibility of life existing beyond Earth.
Other recent developments in astronomy will also be considered – from the space probes currently exploring our solar system to observations of the very distant universe using the world’s largest telescopes. We will take a journey from here to the farthest objects in the universe and see what they can tell us about the origins of both the universe and ourselves.

If weather permits, a practical observing session will be arranged at some point during the course. No previous knowledge or experience of astronomy is required.

Cost: £60 (concessions £50)

4th
October
2017

Wildlife Video Course for Beginners

Wildlife Video Course for Beginners

Course Tutor David Noble-Rollin

Wednesday afternoons starting 4 October 2017, 13.00

This six-week course with David Noble-Rollin is aimed at people who have a digital camera with HD video facility, but have yet to explore this exciting and useful part of their camera.
The course will show participants how to take video and then edit it into a reasonable and interesting short film. The course will consist of techniques for capturing video and editing the results.

There will be two demonstrations of capture techniques and editing, two field meetings to shoot video, a practical editing session and end of course showing of the results. David Noble-Rollin has been teaching courses on digital photography for the Society for the last five years and has been enthusiastically making short videos for over 10 years on everything from birds to insects.

Cost £44 (concessions £36)

10th
October
2017

An Introduction to Bird Watching

An Introduction to Bird Watching

Hop, Skip and a Jump: Grey Heron ©Terry Cavner

Tuesday mornings starting 10 October 2017, 10:00 – 12:00 – first session is a full day with a field trip in the afternoon. Packed lunch recommended.

This eight-week course aims to engage the less experienced birdwatcher or the absolute beginner who wants to learn more to enjoy and understand their birdwatching. Led by
Keith Bowey, one of the region’s best-known ornithologists.

The classroom sessions (held at Blaydon Youth & Community Centre) will provide participants with background knowledge about birds and birdwatching. They will include:

·         using and choosing binoculars, buying field guides and other equipment

·         bodies, bits and biology: what makes a bird ‘a bird’

·         from wildfowl to warblers: an introduction to the main bird groups

·         basic field craft for better birdwatching; and, of course,

·         ways to identify the birds you see

On the four 3-hour field trips, participants will visit a range of bird-rich habitats, including wetlands, woodlands, coastline and upland, to build on their developing skills. Most of the field trips
will be in relatively easy travelling distances of Tyneside.

Cost £65 (concessions £55)

12th
October
2017

The Quaternary

The Quaternary

Course Tutor Angus Lunn

Thursday evenings starting 12 October, 18:00

Dr Angus Lunn leads a 16-week journey through the last 2 million years. Students will investigate the most significant climatic, geological and biological events of the Quaternary,
with particular attention to northern England. The subject is so vast that the course itself continues to evolve and is suitable for new and previous students. Some knowledge about
the subject is helpful but not essential.

Cost: £132 (concessions £107)

28th
November
2017

The Holly and the Ivy: the Natural History of Christmas

The Holly and the Ivy: the Natural History of Christmas

Holly Berries Ilex aquifolium

Tuesday afternoons starting 28 November 2017, 14:00 – 16:00

Is there a time of the year with a richer folklore, a more mysterious mythology, and a larger litany of lively legends than Christmas? The season’s facts and folklore woven together form a complex cultural tapestry detailing many fascinating customs and a rich ceremonial history.
A constant thread in this is the role of the countryside and its wildlife in developing our modern Christmas customs.

In four two-hours sessions (two class room and two outdoor), the course explores the natural history and countryside origin of so many of our Christmas customs, how these have informed our past and present beliefs, and how they enrich the mid-winter world of Christmas.

Cost £38 (concessions £30)

How to Book

To book a course please call 0191 208 2790 or email nhsn@ncl.ac.uk we will reserve your place and advise you how to make your payment. Once you have reserved your place, you can make an online payment by clicking here.  Receipt of payment will confirm your place.

To enrol 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.

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