Talk by Brian Eversham, Tuesday 7th March 2023: ‘Wildlife Recording in Changing Times’
The John Wickham Memorial Lecture
Comment by Mike LeRoy
If you missed Brian Eversham’s talk on 25th March, you missed a brilliant account of how wildlife in Britain has changed and declined, but also successful ways to bring some of it back. There is still time to watch and hear his talk, but only until 30th April. It is still on the MKNHS website, here:
Brian Eversham is Chief Executive of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust and was previously their Director of Conservation.
Brian’s talk ‘Wildlife Recording in Changing Times’ was a remarkable scan through the last 100,000 years of British wildlife. But it was more about changes to our wildlife since the last ice sheet retreated than about how we record species. Brian explained changes to woodlands, heathlands, wetlands and grasslands made by wild animals and mankind over the last few thousand years.
He was speaking with the considerable hands-on knowledge he has accumulated over a lifetime, of losses to wildlife as landscapes became more and more intensively managed for farming and human populations increased and industrialised. He showed us extinct beetles from the Bronze Age he had found buried in peat, and marks on fossilised trees, probably of Black Woodpeckers which he thinks used to be in Britain. There were stories of what caused extinctions: the Large Copper butterfly and Fen Violet. He also told us how some lost species have been recovered and are breeding again in Britain: recent examples such as Large Marsh Grasshopper in Cambridgeshire; and the Chequered Skipper restored to Rockingham Forest.
Brian did tell us how wildlife recording originated and how crucial it is to have local knowledge of wildlife, and that this depends on skilled amateur naturalists and natural history societies like ours.
His talk was full of stories of how species have been lost and some restored. He mentioned local places such as Rammamere Heath and the Minotaur beetle that can be found there. With considerable enthusiasm he told us about his study of Elms and how most of these trees still survive.
His upbeat conclusion was about how some young naturalists are becoming skilled by using digital media combined with fieldwork to learn and share their knowledge with others: such as a teenager who is the go-to expert on Springtails.
But you need to hear all of his talk for yourself.
6th April 2023