Sunday, 9 April 2017

YNU York Conference 2017 - on Natural History Societies

  Twitter Hashtag:  #ynuconf

Just over 100 people found their way to the Hendrix Building on the Heslington West Campus on 8 April 2017. Sharon, Peter and I had set off early to reach the building by 8am, ready to set up our stalls

Topic of YNU Conference 2017:
Yorkshire’s Natural History Societies – for naturalists, for nature, for the future
Here is the Craven Conservation Group Stall

It is next to the entrance; Here Colin and Paula (left) visit the stall

Caddis Recording Stall - with extra publicity for the Field Studies Council courses

Now you can see the size of the main hall:  Phillip Whelpdale from the YWT describes results of data analysis

See the programme

We had two talks- by Roger Morris (A hoverfly expert)  and Roger Key. Both explained how society had changed over the past 150 years, and how outreach needed to change. Many societies had started 150 years ago when people lived in small towns, and the easiest way to exchange ideas (often the only way)  was to meet in the towns. Now people could "meet online".  
Roger  Morris
Roger Key

Derek Whiteley gave a talk on the lively activities of Sorby Natural History Society. (which incudes the city of Sheffield).  (See a picture of him at the YNU VC 64 event at Colt Park last year) He explained how their society (an amalgamation of three other societies over 100 years ago) had adopted a rectangular area to cover: Sorbyshire - which includes parts of Derbyshire, Notts, Staffs and Yorkshire - and includes part of Yorkshire's third National Park: the Peak District.

They flag ship events  - the annual Amateur Symposium ("Amateur = for the love of it", "Symposium = Drinking Festival") and the 18 mile Mountain Hare walk.

He and his wife used to run events for children - which was good for the children, but had not helped the society itself. Now they run family events. They run training days - which are popular with students.  I liked one of his quotes: "Nothing like a blank square to get you up in the morning"

Wendy English,

of Whitby Naturalists’ Club talked about "Communicating with members and beyond".. Whitby club sounds more the scale of Craven Conservation Group - a small town with a big hinterland.  They have a closed Facebook group with 27 members where they post local sightings which they find useful. They have a twitter account: @WhitbyNats

She told us about @projectsplatter - you can tweet to them if you come across roadkill - run over badgers etc - or email them direct = They are based at Cardiff University.

We broke into groups of about 12 and discussed in the groups how we could get more younger people to join. 

I think this was a good idea. Maybe not all the groups worked but some did. Possibly 12 is quite a big size, when you don't know most of the people, and the group just meets for a short time. I am glad I took a photo to remind myself who was in my group.  John Bowers was the chair of our group.
 One man Malcolme Birtle (Cleveland Nats) said he had worked for Universities and in IT and seen lots of different organisations use different technologies to try and recruit new younger members .. but that the only method which seemed to work throughout was personal contact.
"Hm" I thought - "So that whilst it is good for our brains and our egos to be involved in modern communications - I can go back to the 90 members of CCG and tell them that WE ALL COUNT, we can all contribute to getting new members - whether we are "Online" or not."

Maybe it's just that we ALL ought to put more effort into encouraging much younger people.

Jim Pewtress told us that he mentors people about Spiders . He recommended "Wild Guides". Later we learned that a "WildGuide" to spiders is due out shortly (Geoff Oxford is one of the co-authors)  but if you apply before the end of April, you can get it at a prepublication discount- go to the British Arachnalogical Society Website - for £16 plus P&P instead of £25

Our group brilliantly broke up two minutes early so we trotted to the front of the lunch queue - Thanks John.

Over and after lunch we had time to look at the many stalls.

But it will take me a while to put up pictures of them.. and to write up the afternoon's session.

Tonight (10 April) I go to Craven Speakers Club at Skipton. (At Speakers Clubs we learn to improve speaking skills  and they are really good fun. I recommend them); Tomorrow I am leading a green morning at Baildon Methodist Church (for anyone interested)

Tomorrow afternoon I attend Baildon Speakers Club.

After that I will get down to finishing the write up of the YNU day.


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