Posts Tagged ‘Sorby NHS’

Networks: data & experienced experts?

February 21, 2016

Treeton was the venue for the annual South Yorkshire Natural History Day, organised and delivered by the Sorby Natural History Society.  It was, as usual, well attended with perhaps somewhere between seventy and eighty people.  A mixed or should one say ‘diverse’ bunch, and I could for a change be considered to have been one of the ‘middle aged’ attendees.  It was good to see and hear ‘youngsters’ taking up projects with enthusiasm.  It was particularly refreshing to hear one such speaker express appreciation about the help and support received from experienced experts in the Sorby NHS.  Would that more grant funded projects would adopt a similar philosophy.  When the hardened amongst us, who remember black and white televisions and a time when there were two hundred and forty pennies in a pound, drift back to those days of wanderings, of discoveries and of the difficulties involved in putting a name to the more unusual finds without the benefit of t’internet or digital images and emails one might be forgiven for wondering how it was the necessary field skills were acquired?


Break time at South Yorkshire Natural History day, organised and facilitated by Sorby NHS in Treeton.

But, when youngsters seek out help then it is generally offered.  Sadly there are a few who seem to consider that it is a right, after all they paid their university fees ….

The Forum have been lucky, we have links with a number of academic institutions and are keen to encourage students to make links and are happy to help where we can.  Last year three such individuals benefited from our help and support.  This coming year another two have linked up with us and one is ongoing from 2015.

All these links, all this networking ought to build a cohesive network able to defend habitats and sites under threat?  All the recording going on should deliver robust evidence to safeguard sites from inappropriate development?

We pose the question, posed by many others as well, where does an aspiring amateur naturalist pass on their observations and records?  Melissa Harrison asked BBC Wildlife magazine readers in the January edition a similar question, she also raised the issue of  charities and organisations competing for data, our money etc.

Back to the destination of data issue …. which presupposes (a) they want to and that (b) they are accurate identifications.  Assuming that the second part is accommodated through making contact with local, regional or national experts in the case of difficult species and validation or determination achieved then what should the new amateur naturalist do next?  Chances are if they live in a town then there may well be a local group or natural history society.  There might be a regional or national one, but do you record by groups or by geographical area?  There are local records centres (LRCs) keen to take your data, it is after all worth money because they are obliged if run by the Local Authority to provide data searches to commercial enquirers.  Conversely there appears to be little data provided to LRCs by commercial consultants who like to promote themselves as ‘professionals’.  There are national recording schemes for many groups (dragonflies, moths, water beetles, spiders and many others).  There are schemes designed to feed into such as the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) which used cautiously can be a useful guide, there are citizen science schemes but all these rely on the amateur naturalists and perhaps a few ‘professionals’ to confirm identification or to actually determine the finds (often submitted as photographs).  There are many keen to act as ‘managers’ but too few keen to support that indefatigable army of amateur naturalists who actually deliver the raw data for the ‘professional’ managers to interpret.  At one time of day the government through various defra agencies collected data on a range of species and habitats.

The February issue of British Wildlife magazine has a though provoking paper “The increasing importance of monitoring wildlife responses to habitat management” (Fuller et. al.). 

A case could certainly be presented for some of that here in the Humberhead Levels?  Doncaster East IDB, are through their management service provision (JBA Consulting) implementing a £2.9m Water Level Management Plan on Thorne Moors.  Mid term through that, Natural England secured £2.3m to deliver a EU LIFE+ Project involving management works, engineering, community engagement and …. science and monitoring, one of the salaried posts was a monitoring officer, so there’s hope that substantive science will be delivered and monitoring put in place post projects to assess impact and changes on key habitats and species?


What’s going on in South Yorkshire? Keep on badgering ….

February 17, 2015

Looks like this Saturday, that is to say 21 February is going to be a busy day, the Badger Trust have an event in Birmingham where

Wildlife crime, cruel sports and unscientific wildlife culls will be top of the agenda at the second Birmingham Wildlife Festival and Badger March, which expects to greet more than 2000 people on Saturday 21st February.

A day of entertainment and field-craft workshops will also feature speeches from conservationist and comedian Bill Oddie OBE and key wildlife groups. A peaceful anti-badger cull protest march, the second to be held in Birmingham and the 28th ‘Badger Army’ protest against the government’s badger culling policy, will form part of the event.  For more detail click on the link above.

Badger & mayweed

The other more local event, organised by the Sorby NHS and one to which we hope to see readers is the Sixth South Yorkshire Natural History Day …. What’s going on in South Yorkshire?  Come along and find out.  Thus far there are a dozen talks scheduled and the programme includes the first of The Frank Botterill Memorial Lectures: The History of Moth Recording in South Yorkshire to be given by Harry Beaumont.  

There is also an opportunity to view and purchase some of the artwork by Paul Caton and others on sale in support of the South Yorkshire Badger Group.  The group do excellent work and deserve our support, as does poor beleagured brock.

Treeton Miners Welfare Club, Arundel Street, Treeton, S60 5PW.    10.30am – 16.30pm

Stands and displays and excellent networking opportunities for amateur naturalists, we hope to see you there. 

Come along and bag a bargain from our publication offers.

South Yorkshire Natural History Day & Hen Harriers

February 19, 2014

South Yorkshire Natural History Day

This coming Saturday will see the Sorby NHS facilitate the fifth in this series.  There is a packed programme of talks and plenty of time for networking and catch up with old friends – hopefully we will see some of you there?

Saturday 22 February 2014, 10am to 6pm

at Treeton Miners Welfare Club

on Arundel Street in Treeton (S60 5PW or SK430876)

Find out why we should bother about badgers, the state of scientific collecting in Yorkshire and floods and wildlife.  Just three of the eleven talks scheduled.

To book contact or



To thank all blog readers who helped get John S Armitage’s epetition Licencing of upland grouse moors and gamekeepers to the required 10,000 signatures which will require that Defra must write a response to  it.  OK, we can guess at the content of the response but it’s all grist to the environmental conservation campaigns catalogue of continuing failure?  There are still a few days left, so anyone able to utilise social media to advance the petition please twitter away ….

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I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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