It will come as no surprise that it was not possible to organise a Conversazione this spring. However, we are pleased to announce that plans for an online NatHistFest in November 2021 are being finalised.
Like last year’s NatHistFest, this will consist of a variety of exhibits on any aspect of natural history, presented as photos with captions, as a short PowerPoint presentation or as a pdf.
Details of the event and how to book an exhibit will be posted on this website, and emailed to those who have exhibited in the past, soon. In the meantime, do start thinking about possible exhibits and taking photos for them, now the days are longer and the weather improving.
‘CambsMammalSpot’ is a major new project from Cambridgeshire Mammal Group to record the wild mammals in Cambridgeshire. This is part of an overarching exercise being undertaken jointly with the Wildlife Trust. It aims to collect data on mammal signs and sightings to create a visual understanding of the population and diversity of the mammal species in the county, and particularly to determine their IUCN’s Red List status. It will increase knowledge of what species of wild mammals are where in Cambridgeshire and how many we have.
Cambridgeshire Mammal Group notes that we cannot hope to conserve and enhance the environment for our wild mammals unless we know what we’ve got, where they are, and how many we’ve got.
Two apps — MammalMapper (https://www.mammal.org.uk/volunteering/mammal-mapper/) and iRecord (https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/) will be used to receive records of wild mammals (alive and dead, native and non-native) however obtained – whether from sightings or signs or trail cams. Anyone can join in — both apps have training built-in — expertise in tracks and signs is not necessary! All the records will be shared, including with the Mammal Society and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre.
Links to further information are on the Cambridgeshire Mammal Group website: http://www.cambsmammalgroup.org.uk/
The spring programme of talks restarts on Thursday 4th February with a presentation on Bees, bee conservation and bee roads.
Rosie Bleet is Kent Wildlife Trust’s Pollinator Lead and she will introduce you to the diverse bee fauna of the UK, highlighting some species that you may encounter. She will talk about the “Bee Roads” project, working to restore and reconnect habitat for bees on road verges in north Kent.
Talks this term will be presented by zoom and will start 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] cnhs.org.uk to be added to the list. Please make sure that your spam filter (yahoo email addresses in particular) does not reject the messages.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 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] cnhs.org.uk 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 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.
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 : Officers 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 AOB
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.
We have continued with limited CNHS field studies over the summer, but these have been restricted to a group of six, so CNHS members have had first call.
With the restriction on numbers for events, regular notification of them only goes to members, so do consider joining the CNHS.
The restrictions will mean that there cannot be any CNHS meetings at the DAB this autumn, and we are planning zoom meetings as an alternative. Again these may need to be limited to members only.
The latest edition of Nature in Cambridgeshire was published in June and contains a wide range of articles and reports on local natural history. These cover microfungi, flora and bryophytes and the Devil’s Ditch, Fen Ragwort, Spotted Flycatchers, Adders and Slow Worms, Coe Fen, the Violet Carpenter Bee and Arthur’s Meadow amongst other topics. See http://www.natureincambridgeshire.org.uk/index.html for information about the publication.