Category Archives: Events

How to save the Cam 9 Feb

On Tuesday 9 February 2021 at 6pm-7:30pm, Kim Wilkie, widely regarded as one of the UK’s top landscape architects, will talk about a landscape strategy for protecting a river and lead a community debate, hosted by The Friends of the River Cam, on how to protect the Cam and keep its tributaries and supporting ecosystems healthy.

Cows at Sheep’s Green, by the Cam (photo taken by Tom Turner)

Kim is a prolific landscape architect who works on large-scale projects in the UK and internationally, in both public and private spaces. He works on a scale that is beyond the experience of most designers, for example, designing the green spaces around an entire new city in Oman, he was working with the architects and deciding where the buildings would go.

He worked with local communities to develop the Thames Landscape Strategy, Hampton to Kew, that set out to celebrate and understand the exceptional character of the Thames and create a 100 year strategic vision for the river corridor that would stand the test of time. How can we do the same thing for the Cam?

To join the event, use the link below:

Spring programme 2021

Talks resume, online by zoom, on Thursday 4th February at 7:30 p.m.

Membership costs only £6 (£5 if paid by standing order) and all members will be sent the zoom links for the talks. See our membership page for full details of the benefits of membership and how to join.

To receive information on CNHS events, without the other benefits of membership, join the email list by contacting webmaster [at] to be added to the list. Please make sure that your spam filter (yahoo email addresses in particular) does not reject the messages.

The first talk, on 4th February, is “Bees, bee conservation and bee roads” by Rosie Bleet

11th February: “Monitoring bats at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden” by Chantal Helm

18th February: “Kings College wildflower meadow” by Cicely Marshall

25th February: “Botanical explorations of Haiti” by Paul Hoxey

Speakers for talks in March are still being finalised.

It is currently intended that CNHS outdoor events will go ahead when they are again permitted by the Government.  When they do, advance booking will be required for all meetings to ensure that numbers are restricted to the allowed limit. The first might be the visit to Trumpington Meadows on 14th March which is part of the CNHS field studies for 2021.

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.

River Cam debate 8 December 2020

What does the River Cam mean to you?

Tuesday 8th December at 6 p.m. ONLINE

Feargal Sharkey will lead an online debate about our rivers and saving the Cam.

The Cam and its tributaries, like other chalk streams, are in a very bad way. Sucked dry by water companies and polluted by sewage. This is a Cambridge issue, but it’s a national disgrace too. Feargal Sharkey, the former punk musician, businessman and now trout fisherman has led a remarkable campaign to stop the rot.      

Cambridge Labour Party Environment Forum (CLEF); the Federation of Cambridge Residents Associations (FeCRA); Council for Protection of Rural England (CPRE) Cambridge and Peterborough; Cambridge Friends of the Earth (CamFoE); Cambridge Schools Eco Council are proud to host Feargal’s talk and to discuss water quality and its connections to the climate emergency and economic growth.

The event promises to be exciting. Your voice as citizens is important to help us protect our chalk stream and its landscapes and wildlife

TO BOOK, click on the short link to the eventbrite listing below.

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.



The CNHS AGM will continue on Thursday, October 29 at 7:30pm by zoom.

When you join you will be put into a “waiting room” and will not be allowed in until shortly before the AGM starts.  When you are let in your audio and video will be off.  Please do not try and switch them on, as this may interfere with the sound for participants who have low bandwidth connections.  If you are a regular zoom user make sure that you are on the latest version – you can check for updates when you click on your icon in the top right corner – the latest version is 5.3.2.  It will be possible to ask questions, either by using the “chat” feature, or by “raising your hand”, which can be done through the “participants” button at the bottom of the screen. When asked for your question your sound and video will be set to on for the duration of the question.  If the attendance is low, audio and video will be switched on for all.

This meeting continues the AGM adjourned from 2020 April 30 and covers the year 2019 April to 2020 March.  It is intended that the verbal reports will be no more than 200 words and the written reports are at ‘About CNHS‘ with password protection.  The two reviews will be illustrated with images of or from events.  Members are welcome to nominate additional members to the Council as there are several vacancies.

Apologies – these can be sent to Jonathan Shanklin by email
Minutes of the 2019 AGM
General Secretary’s report – Post vacant
Membership Secretary’s report – Simon Mentha pp Hilary Pounsett
Programme Secretary’s report – Post vacant
Publicity Secretary’s report – Post vacant
Treasurer’s report – Simon Mentha
Election of Council and Officers. These are currently :
President: Duncan Mackay
Vice President: Kevin Hand
Vice President, General Recorder, Webmaster until new website launched: Jonathan Shanklin
General Secretary, Publicity Secretary: Vacant
Membership Secretary: Hilary Pounsett
Programme Secretary: Vacant
Treasurer : Simon Mentha
Archivists: Monica Frisch (also Conversazione/NatHistFest Organiser), Henry Tribe
Zoological Recorder: Toby Carter
Botanical Recorder: Charles Turner
Elected Members
Harriet Allen
Sam Buckton
Anita Joysey
Paul Mardon (Facebook Promotion, Assistant Conversazione Organiser)
John O’Boyle
CUNS & ARUWS representatives
Sophia Upton (Anglia Ruskin University Wildlife Society)
Alice Edney (Cambridge University Nature Society)
Illustrated reviews
Review of the outdoor events – Jonathan Shanklin
President’s review of the Year – Duncan Mackay
The new web pages – Monica Frisch