Sign in

Natural History Talks

On Friday evenings from October to March, we invite experts in the natural world to give inspiring lectures on a broad range of topics.

Friday Night Talks

Join us Friday evenings from October through March for inspiring lectures on the natural world.

Friday night talks are preceded by shorter lectures in our 1829 Talks series, presented by early-career scientists and current researchers in a variety of topics.

See Talks, Events & Activities for upcoming talks.

Join us for a talk

Talks are held in the Ridley Building, in room RIDB2.1.65, at Newcastle University. Please see map for details.

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

Entry to the Ridley Building is from 6.00pm. Please join us for tea, coffee and biscuits and an opportunity to socialise before the talks.

Our 1829 talks begin at 18:29 and are 15 minutes.

Our main talks are from 7.00 – 8.00pm. Speakers  give an illustrated presentation for 45 mins-1 hour and then open the floor for questions.

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


Ridley Building, Newcastle University

Previous talks

Thanks to our collaboration with Newcastle University our talks are now being recorded. Talks are available as slideshow presentations with accompanying audio recordings.

NHSN members can browse all previous talks through the Members’ Area of the website.

Not an NHSN member? Here are some recent talks that can be viewed by everyone. Please join us for a future talk.

Plants Behaving Badly

One for the botanists and plant lovers: take a tour around some of the taxonomic terrors and sulky teenagers of the plant world with North East botanist, Chris Metherell. This talk digs into the sex lives of some of the most ill-mannered members of the vegetable persuasion to find out what makes them so unruly.

Watch the talk here

Dead Nettle

Bucking the Trend on Coquet Island

Coquet Island is an important seabird colony off the Northumberland coast which is home to the UK’s only substantial colony of Roseate Terns, and the number of pairs breeding there has increased steadily over recent years. Join Paul Morrison, RSPB warden for Coquet Island, to hear about the way in which the island is managed for breeding seabirds.

Watch the talk here

Roseate Tern

Back from the brink – Pine Marten in Northumberland

In the ancient wildwoods that once blanketed much of Britain, the pine marten was one of our most common carnivores. Today the story is rather different.

This talk by Kevin O’Hara will focus on the history and future of the pine marten in northern Britain, and will explain what the future plans for the species are and how people can be involved and help. Kevin is the project officer within the Back from the Brink programme, Vincent Wildlife Trust, which aims to pave the way for the recovery of the pine marten in northern England.

Watch the talk here

Pine Marten

Prioritising conservation action under a changing climate

Climate change is already altering the populations and distributions of species, but how should conservationists respond to these impacts? Dr Colin Beale is working to identify the species and spaces that might be changing in conservation status due to climate change across the UK and worldwide. 

This talk is our annual ‘Hancock Lecture’, named in honour of John Hancock (1808-1890).  The Hancock lecture provides an opportunity to invite a speaker with an international reputation to talk to NHSN about their special interests which coincide with our own.

Watch the talk here

Silver-washed Fritillary

Building Peace to Save Nature: the importance of studying human-human interactions in conservation

Are we studying the wrong species? In trying to address environmental problems, we often overlook the relevance of studying and managing people. Conservation conflict researcher and mediator Dr Isla Hodgson explains the importance of understanding the social and political sides to saving nature, and how we can draw on the principles of trust- building and negotiation from humanitarian conflicts to solve wars over wildlife. She reflects on her own experiences “on the front-line”, including her most recent work studying the conflict over raptor conservation and driven grouse shooting in Scotland.  (talk starts at 1:56)

Watch the talk here