Upcoming Events September 2017- April 2018

EVENING MEETINGS – Thursdays at 8pm in Ripley Village Hall. 

All meetings free to members (except Mulled Wine evening) – £3 for non-members payable on door (unless otherwise stated).*

Programme of Evening Meetings

September 2017 – April 2018

Thursday 28th September 2017

My Side of the Fence – The Natural History a Surrey Garden

Illustrated talk by Jeremy Early  .Jeremy Early has lived in Surrey most of his life and has written and illustrated three books about the county’s wildlife including “My Side of the Fence – The Natural History of a Surrey Garden”.  He is interested in all types of wildlife but specialises in Hymenoptera and is Chairman of the national Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society.  Jeremy’s talk will be based on the book and will relate to the wealth of wildlife seen in a family garden in Reigate over the last 50 years, including observed behaviour, analysis of population changes and suggestions about how wildlife may be drawn into a garden.

Thursday 26th October 2017

Deer in Britain

Illustrated talk by Derek Stimpson    Derek Stimpson, now retired from 45 years in the City, is Chairman of SE England Branch of the British Deer Society and has been interested in wildlife all his life.  A Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, Trustee of the British Entomological and Natural History Society and member of the British Herpetological Society, Derek’s talk will focus on deer and human interaction, plus a brief commentary on the six species living wild in Britain.

Thursday 23rd November 2017

The Outer Hebrides with dog!

Illustrated talk by Anna Stribley      This talk will cover our travels around the Outer Hebrides in 2014 and 2015.  Wildlife, scenery, a snatch of megalithic history and the occasional photo of Nelson, the Dog!  The talk will be preceded by a short AGM.

Thursday 14th December

An Introduction to the Wildlife of Zimbabwe

Illustrated talk by Mike Grimshaw     Mike’s daughter has a bungalow in Harare and Mike will talk about his visits to some of the best nature reserves in this little visited country.  There are some wonderful photographic opportunities and the talk will include wildlife from bee-eaters to zebras.

The talk will be followed by festive mulled wine and mince pies!

Members £3   Non-members £5*

Thursday 25th January 2018

Colour in Nature – visible and invisible

Illustrated talk by Adrian Davies    Adrian Davies is a freelance wildlife natural history photographer and author who was for many years a lecturer in photography at NESCOT College in Ewell.   He is particularly interested in using photography to visualise otherwise invisible objects and events.   Colour is a fundamental part of the natural world, used for warning, camouflage and attraction, but not all animals see the world in the same way that humans do.  This talk will look at how we see colour, and attempt to show how other animals see the world, using invisible parts of the spectrum.

Thursday 22nd February 2018

The Jewel Hunter

Illustrated talk by Chris Goodie    The talk details the adventures involved in trying to see all of the world’s 32 species of pitta (or Jewel Thrush) in a single year.  It includes the derring-do details of being chased by an Asian Sun Bear in Sumatra, narrowly avoiding being bitten by a Wagler’s Pit Viper in Sulawesi, and running out of petrol on a small boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Along the way the Jewel Hunter encounters a stunning array of birds (including pittas), animals, people and places during a year spent travelling to the most beautiful rainforests of southeast Asia, Australia, Uganda and Zambia.  Chris has been birding since he was twelve years old.  A lifelong RSPB member, in 2009 he followed his dream and went to the rainforests of Asia, before returning to write the story of his adventures.  His book entitled “The Jewel Hunter” was published in August 2010.  A beautiful book about beautiful birds, it’s no wonder “The Jewel Hunter” was one of the best-selling titles at the 2010 British Birdwatching Fair.

Non-members £5*

Thursday 8th March 2018

(NB:  Please note date!)

Fungi make the world go round

Illustrated talk by Professor D L Hawksworth CBE    David is a mycologist and environmental scientist, and a recognised world authority on the diversity, systematics and ecology of fungi, especially microfungi and lichens.  He is particularly known for studies and surveys of fungal diversity, and the bio-indication of air pollution.  In his talk David will explain the importance of fungi in diverse aspects of human well-being and also ecosystem processes from the global to the local level.  David is married to Forensic Ecologist and Palynologist Professor Patricia E J Wiltshire.

Non-members £5*

Thursday 26th April 2018

Studying the deep ocean 
lllustrated talk by Martin Angel
This talk explores how we research the deep ocean, and by taking a photographic journey down to depths of 5000m shows how the characteristics of the plankton and fishes change with increasing depth. Martin Angel will dispel the myth that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the deep ocean. Some of the commoner species that inhabit the water will be illustrated and their natural history explored. Survival in a boundless, 3-D, dark environment poses very different problems to those we encounter on land.

Previous evening meetings 

Thursday 26th January 2017

The Most Flowery Places in the World

Illustrated talk by Dr. Bob Gibbons who has written about 40 books today, on many aspects of natural history and photography, including several floras, an acclaimed field guide to dragonflies, several field guides to insects, a guide to the National Parks and wild places of Europe, guides to the wildlife sites of France, Greece and many more.   His most recent book on “The Most Flowery Places in the World” was published as Wildflower Wonders of the World simultaneously in the UK and USA.

Non-members £5

Thursday 23rd February 2017

The Ancient Wolves of Europe:  evolution and ecology before the Ice Age

Illustrated talk by Dr. Lucy Flower.   This talk will explore the evolution of the modern wolf Canis lupus in northwest Europe over the last two million years, a period that was characterised by dramatic upheavals in climate and changing environmental conditions.  By looking at how their body size and diet varied over time in comparison to their ancestors, we can examine why these changes happened and hopefully begin to understand how climate change will affect them in the future.

Since finishing her PhD, Dr. Lucy Fowler has been working in collaboration with Royal Holloway looking at the past ecology of wolves and other large carnivores that were present in Britain over the last 700,000 years.  Her research involves investigating the size and shape of their fossilised remains, combined with analysing the stable isotopes present in their bones, in order to infer their dietary habits and prey choices, assess potential conflict with other carnivores, and finally, understand the ways in which a species responds to rapid climate and environmental change.


Occasional walks are organised from time to time.   They will be publicised here – so watch this space for further details!



September 2017

From the Chairman:-

There are a few jobs that I have been putting off until the brighter weather of the summer makes them seem less daunting. Clearing out the shed is one of them and believe me, I’ve put it off long enough. It’s easy enough to chuck the plastic pots and broken chairs into the relevant bin, but some of the truly ancient looking bottles and packets of chemicals had me scratching my head; clearly these sorts of things should not be destined for the landfill sites.

So, Disposing of garden chemicals. I will attempt to share some of the wisdom I gleaned from my internet digging (the first of them of them is pretty obvious to those of us who are thrifty in their outlook and practice):-
Avoid making excess solution:- When making up solutions from concentrates, fill a watering can or jug rather than diluting in the sink (odd, I know, but apparently some people do it) or with the use of a hose pipe. Make up less solution than you believe is required; it is far easier to mix up more than it is to find additional areas to apply excess spray to. If you do find you have left over solution after spraying, you will have to find a patch of permitted plants or weeds to spray the excess onto. Excess solution should never be poured down the drain or onto bare soil, as it will contribute to the build up of chemical residues in the ground water.
Disposing of empty containers:- Empty pesticide and weedkiller containers which have held concentrated liquids (ie, those requiring dilution before use) should be rinsed three times, adding the washings to the final spray solution. The empty container can then be placed in the household waste. Empty pesticide and weedkiller containers that have held ready to use products can now be recycled, following the findings of a Defra research project. (Note:- As I have said above, this does not apply to containers containing concentrate.)
Disposing of surplus chemicals:– Never dispose of surplus pesticide or weedkiller down drains or in watercourses. Instead, small quantities should be diluted and sprayed onto permitted plants in accordance with the label instructions, avoiding ponds, watercourses and ditches, and following label recommendations for avoiding harm to wildlife. With the recent withdrawal of many garden chemicals, many of us gardeners may possess surplus stocks of pesticides that they are legally not allowed to use. When pesticides are withdrawn from the market for economic reasons there is usually a two-year grace period in which to use up remaining stocks. More information on which products are withdrawn or approved can be found on the ‘Health and Safety’ website.
Contact your local authority’s waste disposal section for disposal of larger quantities of out-of-date, surplus, or withdrawn pesticides, as they can advise on which household sites will accept chemicals. Locate your nearest local authority chemical disposal facility on the Pesticide Action Network website or ‘Crop Protection Association’ website.
When taking surplus, withdrawn, or out-of-date chemicals to a waste disposal facility, ensure that containers are carefully sealed and clearly labelled with the name and active ingredient of the product. Do not mix different chemicals.
If you come across old pesticides or unlabelled containers (when purchasing a new property, for example) again contact your local authority’s waste disposal section.

Good luck. If your shed’s anything like mine, you’ll need it!

Andrew Stribley