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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. 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 will receive an e-newsletter around the end of August 2018 announcing when bookings for Autumn 2018 education courses will be taken. We will advertise our courses on the website here which will include a link to Eventbrite where you can register and pay for a place.

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

27th
September
2018

Autumn Birdwatching - Durham

Autumn Birdwatching - Durham

Course Tutor Keith Bowey

Thursday 27 September (Durham), 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 5 indoor sessions, 5 outdoor field trips

This ten-week course taught by Keith Bowey offers you the chance to learn more about birdwatching and to 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.

The indoor and outdoor sessions will alternate, with five of each over the ten weeks. Indoor sessions will take place at Shakespeare Hall, Durham, DH1 4SQ. Site visits will include Whitburn, Hartlepool Headland and Derwent Reservoir.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

27th
September
2018

Autumn Birdwatching - Newcastle

Autumn Birdwatching - Newcastle

Course Tutor Keith Bowey

Thursday 27 September (Newcastle), 2.00 – 4.00pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 5 indoor sessions, 5 outdoor field trips

This ten week course taught by Keith Bowey offers you the chance to learn more about birdwatching and to 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.

The indoor and outdoor sessions will alternate, with five of each over the ten weeks. Site visits will include Whitburn, Hartlepool Headland and Derwent Reservoir.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

2nd
October
2018

Birds of the North East - morning

Birds of the North East - morning

Course Leader David Noble-Rollin and class

Tuesday 02 October, 10.15am – 12.15pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips

Join David Noble-Rollin to 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 prepare attendees for each field trip, using videos, sound recordings and diagrams to help learn identification and behaviour patterns. Each indoor session will include a particular topic or species that will be dealt with in detail.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

2nd
October
2018

Birds of the North East - afternoon

Birds of the North East - afternoon

Course Leader David Noble-Rollin and class

Tuesday 02 October, 1.00 – 3.00pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips

Join David Noble-Rollin to 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 prepare attendees for each field trip, using videos, sound recordings and diagrams to help learn identification and behaviour patterns. Each indoor session will include a particular topic or species that will be dealt with in detail.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
October
2018

Northumbrian Botany (Wednesdays)

Northumbrian Botany (Wednesdays)

Wednesday 03 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: approx. 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips (weather permitting)

Through indoor sessions and outdoor field trips, Dr Janet Simkin will cover a wide variety of topics, including plant identification, ecology and evolution, as well as topical items from the news and recent research. Much of this will have a Northumbrian theme and students are encourage to bring in specimens and photographs for discussion. The basics of plant identification will also be covered, and beginners are very welcome.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
October
2018

Astronomy and Observing the Sky at Night

Astronomy and Observing the Sky at Night

Course Tutor Fred Stevenson

Wednesday 03 October, 7.00 – 9.00pm

Course length: 8 sessions
Course structure: mainly indoor sessions with at least 1 outdoor field trip

A general course on all things astronomical, with an emphasis on observations that participants can make themselves. As well as practical astronomy, we will discuss the most recent discoveries in astronomy and space science. At least one class will be a practical observing session in the Druridge Bay area, where help and advice on using telescopes and other equipment will be given.

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 £56.60)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
October
2018

Wildlife Digital Photography

Wildlife Digital Photography

Course tutor David Noble-Rollin

Wednesday 3 October, 1.00 – 3.00pm

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: 11 indoor sessions, 9 outdoor field trips

Photography is in the middle of a major revolution: the modern equipment means that the limits on photography are the imagination of the photographer. The course will introduce members to the basic techniques of how to take close-up, landscape and bird photography. There will be field meetings and practical indoor sessions using lighting equipment and Photoshop on laptops.

The course is aimed at those who have a digital camera, but still tend to use it on automatic settings and would like to understand how to improve their natural history photography techniques.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

4th
October
2018

The Quaternary

The Quaternary

Course Tutor Angus Lunn

Thursday 04 October, 6.15 – 8.15pm

Course length: 16 sessions
Course structure: indoor sessions

Dr Angus Lunn and Derek Teasdale lead 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. 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: £132 (concessions £107)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

5th
October
2018

Northumbrian Botany (Fridays)

Northumbrian Botany (Fridays)

Friday 05 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

N.B. This course is now fully booked, but places on the waiting list may still be available. Follow the link to Eventbrite below.

Course length: 20 sessions
Course structure: approx. 10 indoor sessions, 10 outdoor field trips (weather permitting)

Through indoor sessions and outdoor field trips, Dr Janet Simkin will cover a wide variety of topics, including plant identification, ecology and evolution, as well as topical items from the news and recent research. Much of this will have a Northumbrian theme and students are encouraged to bring in specimens and photographs for discussion. The basics of plant identification will also be covered, and beginners are very welcome.

Cost: £162 (concessions £139)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

8th
October
2018

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Mondays)

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Mondays)

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

Monday 8 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 7 indoor sessions, 3 outdoor field trips

Northumbria’s varied topography, climate and especially bedrock geology help create a range of soil types, including brown soils, stagnoleys and stagnohumic gleys. These in turn influence vegetation types and the quality of habitats and farmland.

Join Derek Teasdale to discover how soils form, what they can tell us, and visit as many soil types as we can in three outdoor sessions.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

8th
October
2018

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Thursdays)

Northumbrian Soils: Causes and Effects (Thursdays)

Course Tutor Derek Teasdale

Thursday 11 October, 10.30am – 12.30pm

Course length: 10 sessions
Course structure: 7 indoor sessions, 3 outdoor field trips

Northumbria’s varied topography, climate and especially bedrock geology help create a range of soil types, including brown soils, stagnoleys and stagnohumic gleys. These in turn influence vegetation types and the quality of habitats and farmland.

Join Derek Teasdale to discover how soils form, what they can tell us, and visit as many soil types as we can in three outdoor sessions.

Cost: £88 (concessions £72)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

3rd
November
2018

Birdwatching Basics and Beyond

Birdwatching Basics and Beyond

Goldfinch © Chris Wren

Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November, 10.00am-4.00pm

Course length: 2 full day sessions

A class aimed at the ‘less experienced’ birdwatcher, the absolute beginner or those who want a ‘bit of a refresher’. This urban-based, weekend course will comprise a combination of classroom sessions supported by local field trips around Newcastle City on both days of the course.

Cost: £60 (concessions £50)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

24th
November
2018

In the Grip of Gulls

In the Grip of Gulls

Young Black Headed Gulls © Mike Reid

Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 November, 10.00am-4.00pm

Course length: 2 full day sessions

Don’t ‘do’ gulls? Why not come along and learn to love them? This class is tailored towards more experienced birdwatchers and will attempt to address the issues (identification and others) posed by some of the bird groups that observers find most challenging. This weekend course is dedicated to ‘seeing gulls’ rather than ‘seagulls’.

This course is led by Keith Bowey and will take place in the Blaydon Youth and Community Centre.

Cost: £60 (concessions £50)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

26th
November
2018

The Holly and the Ivy: the Natural History of Christmas

The Holly and the Ivy: the Natural History of Christmas

Holly Berries Ilex aquifolium

Monday 26 November 2018, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Course length: 4 sessions
Course structure: 2 indoor sessions, 2 outdoor sessions

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-hour 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)

To book a place on this course, please go to Eventbrite here.

How to Book

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

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