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Talks, field trips, events & activities

Welcome to our action-packed programme of talks, outings and activities.

Upcoming events

25th
January
2020

Conservation Volunteering at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Conservation Volunteering at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Every Wednesday + Saturday 25 Jan, 29 Feb, 28 March, 10.00 am-1.00pm

At the reserve, there are always more tasks than there are people to do them. Each week, a handful of volunteers work for a few hours to make the reserve a better place for everyone, including wildlife! Tasks include:

  • building and maintaining boardwalks to increase accessibility
  • improving the hides for greater comfort and bird-watching potential
  • woodland management and restoration of native woodland
  • removal of invasive species to support and conserve our local species

There is something to do for members of all ages (teen & up) and abilities, and every little bit helps to ensure the short, medium and long-term success of our beautiful nature reserve. Whether you would like an opportunity to get active, to pick up new skills, meet new people, or add something to your CV, we need you at the reserve.

Training (and biscuits) will be provided, please wear sensible clothing and footwear.

21st
February
2020

1829 Talk: Roads through rainforests: using camera traps to uncover mammal responses to infrastructure

1829 Talk: Roads through rainforests: using camera traps to uncover mammal responses to infrastructure

Friday 21 February, 18.29-18.45, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Laura Braunholtz, Newcastle University

Infrastructure such as roads contribute to over 14% of global forest fragmentation and roadless areas are getting smaller and disappearing faster than ever. In tropical regions, road networks are expanding particularly rapidly, often creating conflicts between development and biodiversity conservation. To provide guidance on ‘biodiversity-friendly’ development, we must first understand how and why species and systems are impacted. This project uses camera trapping to assess medium-large mammal communities in tropical forest sites. In this talk, I will be introducing my research in Brunei, Borneo, a country that retains much of its forest cover alongside well-maintained paved roads.

21st
February
2020

Britain’s Rarest Plants

Britain’s Rarest Plants

Coral Root Orchid © Paul Drummond

Friday 21 February, 7.00pm-8.00pm, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Fred Rumsey, Natural History Museum

Fred will travel around the British Isles making a very personal selection of the plants he believes to be the rarest, and looking at the reasons behind their rarity. The notion that special plants frequently grow in special places, often leading to hotspots of biodiversity, will be explored and some of those special areas looked at in more detail.

Fred Rumsey is Senior Curator in Charge: British & Irish fern and historic herbaria, Natural History Museum, London.

 

28th
February
2020

1829 Talk: The life of a Plastic Microfibre

1829 Talk: The life of a Plastic Microfibre

Friday 28 February, 18.29-18.45, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Max Kelly, Newcastle University

Plastic is now ubiquitous in the marine environment with around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste entering the Ocean each year. The consequences of larger plastic debris are well described with devastating ecological impacts. However, the fate of smaller microplastics remains largely unknown. A major source of these plastics is laundry via the release of plastic microfibres when we wash our clothes. Our latest research shows that a delicate cycle actually increases the release of plastic microfibres compared to normal cycles. This presentation describes the life of a plastic microfibre, from today’s unprecedentedly high production of textiles, to what happens when we wash our clothes, how these plastics enter the environment, and their ecological influence.

28th
February
2020

CSI: Birding – the contribution of forensic genetic techniques to ringing and migration studies

CSI: Birding – the contribution of forensic genetic techniques to ringing and migration studies

Arctic Tern, Farne Islands © Mike Reid

Friday 28 February, 7.00pm-8.00pm, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Prof. Martin Collinson

Martin has been at the forefront of work using DNA-based identification of birds to expand knowledge of identification, migration patterns and breeding ranges. In this talk, he will outline the background to DNA-based identification and show how it can and is being used. Importantly, he argues that DNA based identification augments but does not replace ‘proper’ birding skills…

6th
March
2020

Geology and Geomorphology of the Lambourn Valley, Berkshire

Friday 6 March, 7.00pm-8.00pm, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Lesley Dunlop, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Northumbria University

The Lambourn Valley is perhaps most widely known as the Valley of the Racehorse with many stables based there making the most of the chalk downland for the training gallops. The valley runs for about 20km from the chalk escarpment of the Ridgeway into Newbury over bedrock of Cretaceous Chalk, and Palaeogene sands and clays. For about one-third of its length it is a dry valley and there are a network of dry valleys leading to it.  Geologically there are 3 SSSIs associated with chalk pits and demonstrating key features of Chalk stratigraphy. The Palaeogene sands have, in places, been hardened into silcretes (sarsens) and the Quaternary river terraces have been worked for gravel.

This talk will cover the general setting of the Lambourn and concentrate on some key research areas such as the fields of sarsens in the upper reaches of the valley and recent digital mapping and geophysical work to locate these. There are some peat deposits in an area of water meadows about halfway along its length and a range of techniques from geophysics, palynology and geochemical has been used to give an explanation for the evolution of this area.

6th
March
2020

1829 Talk: Investigating the Flora and Fauna of Manu National Park

1829 Talk: Investigating the Flora and Fauna of Manu National Park

Friday 6 March, 18.29-18.45, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Jennifer McFarlane, Alex Lowe, and Lauren Barnes, Newcastle University

Understanding key ecological processes is important to help conservation challenges and inform management. With the aim of deepening our understanding of these processes, we travelled to Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station in the heart of Manu National Park. The park has had little impact by man, providing insights into the biodiversity and processes of a healthy, intact rainforest.

The aim was divided into four projects:

  • Factors affecting the habitat use of jaguars and their prey
  • Insect herbivory
  • Palm tree distribution in successional stages of the forest
  • Factors affecting strangler fig tree distribution

7th
March
2020

Goshawk Walk at Kielder Forest

Goshawk Walk at Kielder Forest

Saturday 7 March, 9.30am – 2.00pm

N.B. This event 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.

March is a great time to look for some of the specialist birds to be found in upland conifer forests, in particular, Goshawk and Crossbill. Join Martin Davison, Ornithologist for the Forestry Commission, on this easy walk along forest tracks with frequent stops to scan for displaying Goshawks, raptors and other birds of the forest.

Non-members – £5.00. If you would like to join NHSN, please go to http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

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

13th
March
2020

British helleborines: an object lesson in plant taxonomy

British helleborines: an object lesson in plant taxonomy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Friday 13 March, 7.00pm-8.00pm, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Prof. John Richards, Newcastle University

In the British Isles we have eight species of Epipactis, four of which are outbreeding, pollinated by wasps, and the other four primarily self-fertilize. Our concept of species boundaries differs fundamentally between the two groups. Many of the recent developments in our understanding in the genus result from studies of populations in Northumberland. In several cases there is a sharp incongruity between the findings from DNA and those from morphological analysis which raises interesting philosophical questions.

Professor Richards is Emeritus Professor of Botany at the University of Newcastle. He is Joint County Recorder for Plants for South Northumberland for the BSBI, and is a past President of the Alpine Garden Society.

13th
March
2020

1829 Talk: Using games to understand human-lion conflict

1829 Talk: Using games to understand human-lion conflict

Friday 13  March, 18.29-18.45, Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

with Becca Sergent, Newcastle University

Human-wildlife conflict represents a key threat to wildlife across the globe, particularly for large carnivore species such as lions. In order to develop effective ways of managing these conflicts, it is important to understand the acceptability of different mitigation methods for local stakeholders. Experimental games can be a potentially powerful tool for offering insights into the behaviour and decision-making of those affected by conflict. While games are necessarily simplified, they may act as a lens into real-world choices and create a friendly environment to discuss sensitive issues. Recently I completed my PhD fieldwork in Ruaha, Tanzania where I trialled this method using a game to explore how people would like to protect their livestock from lions. This talk will highlight the challenges faced when implementing and interpreting games with local communities, as well as possible insights into attitudes and the use of incentives to reduce conflict.

20th
March
2020

NHSN AGM and Social Evening

NHSN AGM and Social Evening

Full house for our AGM © NHSN

Friday 20 March, 7.00pm-8.00pm

Join staff, supporters, trustees and members for a friendly social evening as we look back over another exciting year in the life of NHSN, celebrate the achievements of the past 12 months and look forward eagerly to future plans.

Our AGM provides the perfect opportunity to catch-up with friends and fellow NHSN supporters, all while listening to a series of interesting talks on all aspects of the organisation: from our thriving sections and bustling education programme to our Lantern Fund and nature reserve.

The event will be held in the Clore Suite of the Great North Museum: Hancock (doors open 6.30 pm). Refreshments will be available. All are welcome – no booking required.

 

21st
March
2020

An Introduction to Small Mammal Monitoring

An Introduction to Small Mammal Monitoring

Bank Vole by Edward Appleby © NHSN

Saturday 21 March, 10.00 – 11.30am

With Chris Wren

N.B. This event 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.

Join NHSN Conservation Lead, Chris Wren, as you get to grips with the monitoring and identification of small mammals. This event will provide a demonstration on the use of Longsworth live-capture traps and will provide an opportunity to view a range of seldom-seen mammals in the field.

Small mammal species found at Gosforth Nature Reserve include Wood Mouse, Common Shrew, Bank Vole, Water Vole and Water Shrew.

Places are limited to reduce disturbance to the animals.

NHSN members ONLY. You will be asked to provide your NHSN membership number during registration. If you would like to join NHSN, please go to http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

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

21st
April
2020

A Beginner's Guide to Bumblebee Identification

A Beginner's Guide to Bumblebee Identification

Moss Carder Bee © Louise Hislop

Tuesday 21 April, 6.00 – 7.30pm, – Great North Museum: Hancock.

With the NHSN Bee Group

The emergence of bumblebees is one of the most eagerly anticipated signs of spring. Ahead of the new season, join the NHSN bee group for an informal evening workshop designed to provide a gentle introduction to bumblebee identification. Attendees will learn how to recognise bumblebees and identify the different species found in the North East, while also learning more about how to submit their own bumblebee records and contribute to our knowledge of these iconic insects in our region.

NHSN members – FREE. You will be asked to provide your NHSN membership number during registration.
Non-members – £5.00. If you would like to join NHSN, please go to http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

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

25th
April
2020

Bioblitz and Exploration Day at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Bioblitz and Exploration Day at Gosforth Nature Reserve

Saturday 25 April, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Discover the wildlife thriving in the heart of the city as you join local naturalists for a day of wildlife-recording and educational activities at Gosforth Nature Reserve

All are welcome to visit the reserve and enjoy range of activities designed to bring you and your entire family up close with the best of North East nature. Activities include insect-hunting, mammal identification, bird ringing, moth trapping and, perfect for younger visitors, a tree trail and dedicated pond-dipping area.

All activities will be hosted by friendly local naturalists, all of whom will be more than happy to help you identify your finds and tell you more about your local nature reserve.

This event will contribute to this year’s City Nature Challenge – an international event to encourage people to find and document as many plants and animals as possible in cities across the globe. Visitors will be encouraged to record the wildlife they see and hear throughout the day, with your records helping us gain a better understanding of wildlife at the reserve, and across the wider North East.

Bumblebees, birds, flowers, fish; every record counts and following the success of last years event, the time has come to once again put Newcastle on the map for the right reasons!

Parking will be available outside the reserve in the layby on Salters Lane. Please note that no dogs are allowed on site.

27th
May
2020

Gone Cuckoo: the Compelling Tale of a Bird's Journey

Gone Cuckoo: the Compelling Tale of a Bird's Journey

Wednesday 27 May, 6.00 – 7.30pm.  Clore Suite, GNM: Hancock

With Tom Cadwallendar, Malcolm Green and Joshua Green

For millennia, the cuckoo’s call has inspired countless songs, stories and poems. Does he bring the spring? Does he tell our fortunes? Was he the shapeshifter that became a hawk? Now the voice of the cuckoo is fading, where has he gone?

Join us for a short talk on Cuckoo ecology by BTO ornithologist, Tom Cadwallender, before enjoying an extra special performance from father and son, Malcolm and Joshua Green, who will use story and song to tell a compelling tale of an iconic bird’s journey.

Gone Cuckoo is the enchanting and captivating hour-long tale of this iconic bird’s journey – told through story and song – a tour de force of environmental art. ‘Gone Cuckoo mixes Josh’s enchanting voice, hilarious acting and wonderfully improvised music making with Malcolm’s spellbinding gift for telling tales. Their shared story blends wonder, humour and joy with a profoundly serious message about the loss of British wildlife. Above all Gone Cuckoo is a love song to the most celebrated bird of the northern summer.’  – Mark Cocker (author of Crow Country).


NHSN members –
£5.00. You will be asked to provide your NHSN membership number during registration.
Non-members – £7.50. If you would like to join NHSN, please go to http://www.nhsn.ncl.ac.uk/join-us/become-a-member/

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

18th
July
2020

Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Gosforth Nature Reserve Exploration Day

Saturday 18 July, 10.30am-3.30pm

Discover the North East’s oldest nature reserve at our annual exploration day. Everyone is welcome, drop-in anytime between 10.30am and 3.30pm to learn about birds, plants, mammals and insects from friendly local naturalists. Activities this year will include pond-dipping, birdwatching, moth trapping and mammal monitoring, while our popular tree trail and insect biohunt will also make a triumphant return.

Gosforth Nature Reserve is the jewel in the crown of Newcastle’s remaining green space sites and is home to a range of rare and elusive species. On a typical visit, there is the potential to encounter bittern, roe deer, kingfisher, red fox, red squirrel, willow tit and more.

Sorry, dogs are not allowed on the reserve, even on leads, to avoid disturbing wildlife. Paths can get muddy if it rains so please wear suitable footwear.

About Talks, Field Trips, Events & Activities

Outdoor Events

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

Outdoor events are free to members, while non-members are asked to provide a small donation. Some outdoor events – those requiring monetary support – will be charged, with NHSN members receiving a significant discount.

For many events, you can just turn up at the meeting place, but some events must be booked in advance and this is stated in the event information. You must make your own way to the meeting point. Please arrive early so that the event can start on time.

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 the 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.

It is always advisable (and likely cheaper) for non-members wishing to attend multiple NHSN events to join us.

Friday Night Talks

From October to March, NHSN invites experts in the natural world to give inspiring lectures to our members and the wider public. We also have a series of shorter talks, ‘1829’, presented by early-career scientists and current researchers in a variety of topics before the main talk each week.

Due to popular demand for our talks, Newcastle University has kindly made available a larger venue at their Ridley Building. A map to the new venue and parking details are below.

Entry is from 6.00pm for our new 15-minute 1829 talks (starting at 18:29). Tea, coffee and biscuits are available and the opportunity to socialise. Speakers of our main talks (7.00 – 8.00pm) give an illustrated presentation for 45 mins-1 hour and then open the floor for questions.

On site parking is limited to blue badge holders only. There is a public car park directly opposite the Ridley Building on Claremont Road.

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

View Previous Events

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Follow us on Twitter…

Britain's Rarest Plants | We're super excited to welcome Fred Rumsey for the next of our #NHSNTalks. https://buff.ly/2uratOh

Join us for a botanical journey around Britain as we test the idea that special plants most frequently grow in special places. @BSBIbotany 🌺

Get ready for @NorthPennAONB #invertebrate season by checking out our list of 20 Special Invertebrate Sites. Each webpage includes habitat & species summaries, plus full invertebrate species lists for all sites: https://bit.ly/31ZF5mq
@WeardaleWild @AllenvalleyWild @VisitBowlees

Hairy-footed flower bees are one of the first solitary bees of the year to emerge & are frequent visitors to gardens, parks & urban woodlands. The females are distinctly black with orange back legs and fly in a quick, darting motion. http://ow.ly/Mxhu50xZQle
#solitarybees

Beavers cut flooding and pollution and boost wildlife populations https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/17/beavers-cut-flooding-and-pollution-and-boost-wildlife-populations?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco

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