2017-8 Meetings

With the exception of January, meetings are held on the University Of Cumbria Campus, Ambleside, on the second Thursday of the month at 7:30pm. The precise location of the next meeting is given on the home page.


12 October 2017

Endangered or Vulnerable – lessons from snow leopard research in Kazakhstan

Dr Ian Convery and Dr Volker Deeker (University of Cumbria)

Snow leopards have recently been downlisted from endangered to vulnerable status. Illegal killing has decreased in many area, but declines in prey abundance and climate change continue to pose threats. Using camera trap data combined with environmental modelling a team of University of Cumbria researchers set out to investigate the state of a snow leopard population in Kazakhstan’s Ile Alatau mountains.

9 November 2017

Arctic charr:  the Cumbrian ecology and status of an Ice Age relict

Dr Ian Winfield (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Natural Environment Research Council)

The Arctic charr was one of the first fish species to colonise what was to become the UK after the last glaciation.  Having now been with us for c. 10,000 years and being of recognised biodiversity and fisheries importance, its Cumbrian populations nevertheless face a range of environmental threats.  This presentation will describe the local ecology of this remarkable fish and discuss its future conservation.

14 December 2017

Architecture in the Lakes through the centuries

Andy Lowe (former Buildings Conservation Officer, LDNPA)

Andy Lowe will look at the detailed design of buildings from medieval times to the twentieth century and how they contribute to making the Lake District such a special place.

25 January 2018

Jacobs Join supper and Annual General Meeting followed by showing of members’ best natural history photographs taken during 2017 (no more than six each, brought on a memory stick).

Ambleside Parish Centre, St Mary’s Church, Ambleside LA22 9DH

This meeting begins at 7:00pm. Note also the change of location.


8 February 2018

Marine mammals and tidal turbines: what are the issues of concern and how are they being resolved?

Professor Ben Wilson (Scottish Association of Marine Science).

Renewables offer a solution to many of the UK’s energy problems. Among the more attractive options is to harness the predictable energy contained in the tides. Accordingly tidal turbines, a submarine equivalent to wind turbines, have been developed and tested to the point of being deployable in coastal seas in their tens or even hundreds. Putting new technologies into the environment always brings the risk of unintended harmful environmental impacts. In this illustrated presentation Prof. Ben Wilson will introduce the potential interactions that might occur between tidal turbines and marine mammals (seals, whales, dolphins and porpoises), describe the research that his team have been doing to address the concerns as well as other efforts going on in the UK and further afield. He will also describe some of the interesting insights into marine mammal behaviour that have resulted from research in the high energy sites of interest to renewable energy developers. The talk will be illustrated with pictures and sounds.


8 March 2018

Using drones for monitoring biodiversity & mapping the environment

Dr Paul Scholefield (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster)

Dr Scholefield will talk about the wealth of information obtainable about habitats using sensors on drones. This helps us understand how landscapes change over time and how they are affected by people.


12 April 2018

Images From a Warming Planet

Ashley Cooper (photographer)

Ashley Cooper has spent the last thirteen years travelling to every continent on the planet to document the causes and impacts of climate change and the rise of renewable energy, the only photographer to have done so. This epic journey around the planet has taken him to over 30 countries, from close to the North Pole to the Antarctic, from 18,000 feet in the Bolivian Andes to sinking coral atoll islands in the South Pacific. His new book “Images From a Warming Planet” contains 500 of the best images from the project and has come out to critical acclaim, Jonathon Porritt called the book “An extraordinary collection of images and a powerful call to action”. Ashley is an award winning photo journalist whose work is used in newspapers, magazines and books all around the world.


17 May 2018

Evening visit to the National Trust Nature Reserve at Sandscale Haws to explore the unique dune habitats and to observe the colony of natterjack toads.

Because the toads only start calling after sunset, we will leave Ambleside in the late afternoon, have a 1-2h walk followed by a beachside picnic followed by a visit to the breeding ponds at dusk. Bring a water bottle, waterproof, walking boots (or comfortable wellies) and appropriate clothing. For the picnic, please also bring some finger food to share.

We will be meeting in the lower car park on the Ambleside campus at 16:00hrs. Alternatively you can meet us at the car park at Sandscale Haws, LA14 4QJ, at 17:00hrs.

A small number of members greatly enjoyed this visit on a glorious evening with superb views of the distant Lakeland fells. After a shared picnic supper we were lucky enough to hear from a lone natterjack toad. Photos taken during this visit can be viewed at https://photos.app.goo.gl/9CL4ikJCmv3eZ95W7

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