Category Archives: News

The archives of CNHS

On Wednesday 11th May, the Society for the History of Natural History are holding an online meeting: Pioneer Naturalists: Champions of Conservation and Environmental Engagement The afternoon event consists of seven talks, one of which is The Archives of the Cambridge Natural History Society.

Some of the early minute books in the CNHS archives.

In her presentation, Monica Frisch will talk about the CNHS archives, which date back to the Society’s formation, as Cambridge Entomological Society in 1857. These contain a wealth of information about the Society, its history, its activities and the many naturalists who were involved with it. Many were pioneers in their fields and many were prominent naturalists.

See the SHNH programme for details of the other talks and how to register, which is free.


The Cambridge Natural History Society programme of talks starts on Thursday 27th January, at 7:30 p.m.

Jonathan Shanklin, astronomer, meteorologist, naturalist and past president of Cambridge Natural History Society, will offer a choice of talks. The audience will choose at the start of the meeting. The options are

The Natural History of Comets” (pretty much what it says in the title, but with brief excursions into the ozone hole and climate change)

Marvel at the Moon” (a tour of some of the things seen in the night sky with simple equipment, bringing in some links with natural history, with a brief excursion again) OR

An astronomer in Antarctica” (mostly ozone hole and climate change, with a bit of natural history and atmospheric phenomena). 

The talk will be presented online via Zoom, and CNHS members and those on the mailing list have been sent the Zoom link, which is specific to this meeting.

You will join the meeting in a waiting room and will be let in at 7:30 p.m.  Your video and audio will be off when you join.  You will be able to use chat to ask questions at the end of the talk, or you can raise a virtual hand from “reactions”. 

The event will be recorded and Society members who cannot join the event on Thursday will then be sent a link to allow them to hear it at their leisure.  If you are not a member this is a good reason to join.  Details of how to join the Society are at

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.

Sewage Saturday

On Saturday 4th Sept from 11am, by the footbridge on Jesus
Green, Little Blue Dot will be floating a number of giant model poos
down the Cam to raise awareness of river pollution in Cambridge and across England. The idea is to have an event that’s funny, shocking and with a serious underlying message. See Twitter for updates: @lil_blue_dot

You are invited to take part:

1) Come and take photos and put them on social media
2) Hand out leaflets to passers-by
3) Join the procession along the river bank to accompany the floating sewage – music, dress-up, bring signs

The event is to highlight how bad river pollution is. Every single river in England is polluted beyond legal limits.

To find out more, including what you can do about this problem, go to:
Friends of the Cam
River Action UK
Watch the film by George Monbiot at

Volunteers wanted

The Museum of Zoology is looking for Visitor Engagement Volunteers, who are based in the galleries when they are open.

Visitor Engagement Volunteers play a valuable role in maintaining museum security during opening hours by supervising visitors in the galleries, and supporting the front of house staff. They

  • Provide a warm welcome to visitors
  • Interact with visitors in a helpful manner
  • Act as a guide to the Museum
  • Help with museum special events
  • Maintain security in gallery spaces and follow health and safety procedures
  • Participate in light cleaning tasks in the galleries
  • Support other volunteers

For more information and to apply visit

Creeping Thistle Rust Fungus

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire are running a trail to monitor the effectiveness of using Creeping thistle rust fungus Puccinia punctiformis to manage the spread of Creeping thistle Cirsium arvense on their nature reserve.

They would very much appreciate it if when you are out and about on a walk or talk you could have a quick look at the local creeping thistle and see if you can spot the Rust fungus in question.

If you do find it, please contact with good quality co-ordinates for the plants.

Details are in the attached document which will open in a new window.


The AGM takes place on Thursday, 17 June at 7:30pm by Zoom.

As well as the formal business of electing the Officers and Council there will be reports from the Treasurer, Membership Secretary and Programme Secretary and on the Conversazione and Website. In addition the President will present his illustrated review of the year.

CNHS members have been sent the Zoom link.

If you wish to join the Society, please do so and you will be sent the link.

NatHistFest 2021

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.

Cambs Mammal Spot

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 ( and 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:

Talks restart 4th February

The spring programme of talks restarts on Thursday 4th February with a presentation on Bees, bee conservation and bee roads.

Bee roads: a flowery road verge

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] to be added to the list. Please make sure that your spam filter (yahoo email addresses in particular) does not reject the messages.

Poster for the talk.