This Blog covers nature sightings and related news in the Calderdale area.
It includes all groups - Plants, animals and fungi with links to specialist sites.
Anyone wishing to become a member of this Blog and post sightings please contact us.
If you would like to join the Halifax Scientific Society either email me or come along to the next meeting.
All welcome:
Please contact us about any sensitive records before posting on the blog

Indoor Meetings

Indoor meetings and talks are held at the Imperial Crown Hotel, Horton St. Halifax.
Talks are on the second Tuesday of each month.  They start at 7.15pm.
The July Talk will be held at Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Crags 

There is a collection to offset our expenses.

TALKS 2020

Please be aware that talks will not be held until further notice
due to the Coronavirus.
We will keep this list updated
Hopefully we can resume talks for next year.

Tuesday 14th January

Slowing the Flow in Calderdale

Adrian Horton & Rosie Holdsworth

Intrigued to know how clumps of moss and bundles of logs can help protect us from flooding? Anxious about how Calderdale can combat climate change? Curious about community action?
We’ll aim to provide some answers by giving an overview of the work that National Trust and Slow the Flow have been doing in Calderdale to manage the area’s flood risk by working with natural processes.
Rosie will discuss the projects she’s currently working on, using moorland restoration and woodland management techniques to reduce flood risk and improve biodiversity in Calderdale.
Adrian will focus on Slow the Flow’s exciting work to empower the community to take action on flood risk in their local area.

Rosie Holdsworth is National Trust’s Natural Flood Management Project Manager. Based at Hardcastle Crags, her project sites cover parts of the Calder and Colne Valleys.Rosie’s background is in flooding and conservation, having previously worked for flood-hit local authorities, managed nature reserves for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and worked as a ranger in the Scottish Highlands.


Tuesday 11th February

Askham Bog: Yorkshire's Biodiversity Hotspot

Alastair Fitter

Askham Bog nature reserve is the richest wildlife site in Yorkshire for its size.
 It is home to between 5 and 10% of the UK's plant and animal species.
Its history is exceptionally well-documented: it originated as a glacial lake 17000 years ago as the ice retreated; developed into a raised bog from which the peat was largely removed by mediaeval peat cutters; became one of the country's leading wildlife sites in the 19th century; suffered neglect in the early 20th century before becoming the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust's founding reserve in 1946; and is now slowly being restored to its former glory by careful management.
Despite this, it is currently threatened by a proposal to build houses over a critical part of its catchment, an application that elicited 7000 objections.
This talk will explain Askham Bog's remarkable ecology, introduce its rich biodiversity and consider how in the 21st century, when environmental awareness is greater than ever before, such a jewel can still be put under threat by thoughtless development.

Alastair Fitter is Emeritus Professor of Ecology at the University of York.
He is a trustee of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and has been involved with Askham Bog nature reserve since 1972 

Tuesday 10th March

 British ferns and climate change

Heather McHaffie

Since the last glaciers melted in Scotland around 10,000 years ago our climate has varied through warmer and cooler, wetter and  drier.
This has facilitated the spread of some ferns while restricting others.
Illustrations will be taken from the Alpine lady-fern, Killarney fern and Oblong Woodsia.

Heather McHaffie worked on Scottish plant conservation at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.
She has long been interested in growing and understanding ferns and completed a thesis on the Alpine lady-fern,  Pseudathyrium alpestre.
This is one of the ferns being affected by climate change.

Tuesday 14th April

Badgering about! Vaccination lift off...

Cath Baker

A chance to find out what Calderdale Badger Protection Group are up to,
including the launch of Calderdale’s first project to vaccinate badgers against bovine TB.
How, why and where.

Cath Baker is one is Calderdale Badger Protection Group’s two approved Lay Badger Vaccinators.
A social worker, mum of two, and wildlife enthusiast, she has now turned her attention to badger vaccination as a constructive way to work in partnership with Calderdale’s farming community to reduce the risk of bTB, and with it the badger cull, coming to Calderdale.

Wednesday 15th April
Annual Dinner.
Time and venue to be confirmed

Tuesday 12th May

Our hedgerow Heritage
Their history ecology and future

Barry Wright

Hedgerows are a living history book, waiting to be read.
All we need is to understand the language.
This talk will reset perceptions of the origins of hedgerows based on their current flora and develop ideas about how to take the hedgerows we have forward and leave a lasting future heritage for our descendants.
This will include respecting those we still have and creating new hedgerows to reflect new ideas about biodiversity, wilding and carbon sequestration.

Barry Wright is one of the few in the country with half a PhD in using plants as indicators of hedgerow history.
He was part of the DoE team that devised the ecological criteria for assessing the 'important' hedgerows as part of the Hedgerows Regulations (1997) and the Defra funded Hedgerow Survey Handbook (2006).
His PhD was driven by a questioning of the Hooper rule for ageing hedgerows that it was as simple as counting the number of woody species in one, or more 30yd section.
It is not that simple.
He is a director of the charity 'Hedgerow Heritage' that aims to encourage the study and interpretation of hedgerows and to guide their restoration, enhancement and creation, including creating historical replica hedgerows in places that have public access where the source hedgerow is on private land.

Tuesday 9th June

Seeing by Another Light:
The Physics of Animal Biofluorescence

Dr Daniel Roach

Tuesday 14th July

Bats at Hardcastle Crags

David Watts and Amy Reddick

A talk on the ecology of bats in the north of England,
followed by an evening bat walk around Gibson Mill,
home to the largest Common Pipistrelle roost in West Yorkshire and National Trust land.
This event will be held at Gibson Mill, Hardcastle Craggs.
There will be parking at Midgehole Carpark and behind Gibson Mill.

David Watts and Amy Reddick are consultant ecologists and licensed bat workers working for

Bagshaw Ecology based in Hebden Bridge.
They have extensive experience of surveying bat species in the north of England

Tuesday 11th August

An Overview of Calder Greening

Alec Boyd

The Calder Greening Scheme of works is a multi-pronged approach to improving green-spaces in the Calder Valley.

The project is being led by CMBC and delivered in partnership with the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and is funded by the European Region Development Fund.
Please join us for a short presentation covering the six projects of the Calder Greening Scheme including:
Mytholmroyd Green-walks; Brearly Fields Wetlands,
Cromwell Bottom Enhancement;
Mid Calder and Tributaries River Rehabilitation; 
Invasive Non-native Species Treatment
and Copley Valley/Milner Royd Enhancement.

Tuesday 8th September
The Geology of Yorkshire Beauty Spots
Bill Fraser

The geology of Yorkshire is the reason for its varied and impressive landscape.
Yorkshire has many famous locations which are rightly called beauty spots.
The talk will describe the underlying geology at these places.

Bill graduated with an honours degree in geology and worked as a geology teacher until retirement. He is secretary of the Leeds Geological Association and regularly gives talks to groups throughout Yorkshire.

Tuesday 13th October

Doggerland:Europe's Lost Frontiers and the future of the submerged past

Phil Murgatroyd
Europe's Lost Frontiers is a 5-year, ERC-funded project whose aim is to pioneer new ways of investigating submerged landscapes.
It has used a variety of techniques, both traditional and cutting edge, to provide an unparalleled amount of data on the Holocene lands under the southern North Sea.
The project will end in November 2020 and this presentation will cover the findings of the project as it nears its conclusion and what they tell us about the future of underwater landscape archaeology.

After 11 years in the computer industry, Phil started an Archaeology degree at the University of Bradford.
Since then he has worked in both commercial and academic archaeology.
His work has included data visualisation and computer simulation.
He has been part of a series of multidisciplinary research projects, including the Anglo-American Project in Pompeii, the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project, GG-Top, Medieval Warfare on the Grid and is now Project and Modelling Manager in the 'Europe's Lost Frontiers' project.

Tuesday 10th November


Reports from our recorders, including highlights from the past year.
Plus a short presentation "Round up of the year" by Hugh Firman.

Tuesday 8th December
Christmas Social

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