All posts by Monica Frisch

Iberian Lynx

If you enjoyed Harriet Allen’s talk on “Restoring habitat for the Iberian lynx“, or if you missed it and would like some information about Iberian lynx, you might find the following article informative.

Conservation actions see Iberian lynx claw back from brink of extinction

I found it while browsing online and it is quite recent (March 2021) but Harriet thinks it’s well worth adding to our website for anyone who wants to read more. The article says that in the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal) the wild population today is around 1,000 animals, compared with just 94 in 2002. Harriet says that she is hopeful that the project to ‘re-wild’ the Iberian lynx will continue to be a success, which is very encouraging.

Wandlebury visit

On Sunday August 1 Cambridge Natural History Society will be visiting visit Wandlebury Country Park. The aim of this visit is to record in two new meadows that have been acquired by Cambridge Past, Present & Future. The main focus will be on botanical recording, but we will also record other flora and fauna that we encounter. The meeting is suitable for beginners as there will be help with identification.

All welcome, but if possible let Jonathan Shanklin (jdsh [AT] know that you plan to come. Meet at the cycle stands at the Wandlebury car-park (TL492532) at 2 pm. There is a good cycle route from Cambridge, though there is a hill to climb! That’s because Wandlebury is 74 m above sea level (243 ft) compared to 6 m (20 ft) for Cambridge.

For cycle routes see – this shows that the route from the City Centre (junction Sidney Street and Petty Cury) to Wandlebury is 4 1/4 miles (almost 7 km) in an almost straight line and would take 40 minutes.

NatHistFest open

This year, 2020, we had hoped to organise the 101st Annual Conversazione but instead the first ever online NatHistFest is now open for viewing!

Four local organisations and ten individuals have produced exhibits covering a wide variety of topics but mostly with a local angle. Find out about the rare hoverfly found this year, some interesting facts about seasonal plants, the floras of road verges and urban streets and what local organisations have done despite lockdown, among other things.

Unfortunately, technology does not permit any hands-on displays, nor does the event offer the usual opportunities to chat with the exhibitors but we hope you will enjoy the online exhibits.

We hope it will be possible for the 102nd Annual Conversazione to revert to the traditional format with exhibits that can be handled and exhibitors to talk to, but at the moment it is too soon to know what will be possible or when.

The online NatHistFest will remain open into 2021 and late entries can be submitted until the end of December 2020.

Give Bees a Chance! How can we help bees and feed the world?

Thursday 10th December 2020 18.30 GMT  ONLINE

A free on-line event organised by the University of Cambridge. 
Register for tickets here.

We need bees and bees need our help. The decline in pollinating insects is one of the most worrying symptoms of climate breakdown because much of our food production relies on them.  

So, what can we do? Does it help if we make our gardens more welcoming to pollinators? Can scientists breed more bee-friendly plants? What role can farmers and the food industry play? What about the government’s new Office for Environmental Protection? 

Our panel will address these questions and others from the audience, to set out the steps we can all take to give bees a better chance.

Dave Goulson is the author of several popular books about bees, including the Garden Jungle.
Lynn Dicks is a conservation scientist focused on insect conservation and biodiversity in agricultural landscapes.
Hamish Symington researches pollination and plant-pollinator interactions at the University of Cambridge.
Howard Griffiths, Co-Chair of Cambridge Global Food Security IRC, Professor of Plant Ecology, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. 

An #AnnualFoodAgenda event, organised by the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Global Food Security IRC and CambPlants Hub, powered by EIT Food, supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union. 

Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay. 

Seasonal NatHistFest

As we were not able to hold its annual Conversazione and NatHistFest in April we are planning a small online Seasonal NatHistFest at 7:30 pm on 10th December 2020. This will take the form of short, 5 minute, talks, and a quiz. It will also launch the online NatHistFest on the new CNHS website.

Please email if you would like to give a short talk – there will only be time for three or or four talks (by Zoom).

NatHistFest exhibits can be a set of up to six photos with captions or a poster in the form of a pdf. The subject of your display should relate to natural history but does not have to be seasonal or specifically Cambridgeshire. Each exhibit will have its own page on the website with the title of the exhibit, name of exhibitor and any other details you wish to make public. Photos and pdfs should be sent as files smaller than 5MB.

The NatHistFest will be ‘opened’ on 10th December and then remain accessible. As NatHistFest will remain open until at least the end of 2020, exhibits will continue to be added during December. Please send them to as soon as they are ready so they can be added to the website, but they will not be made public until 10th December.

We look forward to seeing a great variety of displays!

The science of pollination Thursday 26th November

The next talk will be given by Hamish Symington. He points out that around a third of our food depends on pollinating insects, but they are in decline, while the global population is estimated to hit 10 billion by 2050. In his talk he explores how food relies on insects, and how research at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge aims to make flowers more efficient at being pollinated.

The talk is ONLINE via Zoom from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Members will be emailed login details nearer the time. To join the Society click here, or contact webmaster [at] to be added to the email list for notification of events. Please make sure that your spam filter (yahoo email addresses in particular) does not reject the messages.

The NatHistCam Project 23rd November

The Cambridge Group of the Wildlife Trust BCN announce that they will be starting a series of online talks later this month. These will be hosted over Zoom and cost £2.50 for all Wildlife Trust members and £4.00 for non-members, with all profits going to the Wildlife Trust. The first talk will be on Monday 23rd November, starting at 7.00pm and is titled “Online talk: The NatHistCam Project, with Mark Hill“.

You will need to book this in advance via the Wildlife Trust BCN events page.   Mark will explore some of the new findings of the NatHistCam Project around Cambridge. NatHistCam was set up in 2016 to study the Natural History of Cambridge. From 2016 to 2019 the project recorded and collated data on a wide variety of organisms, including mosses, vascular plants, birds, butterflies, moths, dragonflies and mammals. It also surveyed the weeds of Cambridge gardens and the plants growing in streets and on walls. We are now writing up the results and this talk will give a flavour of what we found!

Mark Hill came to Cambridge in 1946 and can remember when the New Bit of Coe Fen was covered in Nissen huts to house the families of Polish airmen. He is a botanist and ecologist with a particular interest in mosses. He was president of the Cambridge Natural History Society from 2014 to 2016 and during that time proposed that we should study the natural history of the city.

Poisonous plants – a question of degree 12th November

The next talk will be on Thursday 12th November from 7:30 – 9:00 pm.
Helen Moore will talk about some of the plants found in your garden which you might not thought of as being poisonous, wild plants which may be eaten or touched in error with harmful effects, and plants used in herbal/traditional medicines some of which have given rise to therapeutics used today.

ONLINE via Zoom.
Members will be emailed login details nearer the time.


Highland Wildlife 22nd October

The next online talk is on 22nd October when Roy Atkins, a guide with Speyside Wildlife based in the Cairngorms National Park, will give a talk on “Highland Wildlife” during which he will talk about and show pictures of the special birds, mammals and other wildlife of the highlands of Scotland.

Crested Tit