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Nostoc commune, a colonial cyanobacterium

Nostoc commune, a colonial cyanobacterium

Nostoc commune, a colonial cyanobacterium also known as mare's eggs, star jelly and witch's butter, found by Wendy English in Arncliffe Woods near Glaisdale on 15 April.

About the Club

Welcome to the homepage of the Whitby Naturalists' Club, which celebrated its centenary in 2013. The purposes of the Club are to study, promote interest in and conserve natural history, local history and archaeology, particularly in relation to the Whitby area. Membership is open to anyone with a genuine interest in these topics, and new members are very welcome [how to join]. Existing members range in skill and experience from interested beginners to specialists in their chosen field. Club Special Interest Groups cover amphibia & reptiles, archaeology, birds, freshwater fish, fungi, geology, insects (Lepidoptera), insects (other), local history, mammals, microbes & protists, other invertebrates, plants, sea & shore life, and weather. The Club has a President, Executive Officers and an Executive Committee appointed in accordance with its Rules (downloadable PDF file). It produces an annual report, maintains a library of books, maps, films and tapes, and organizes the following activities:


Environmental conservation. The Club's Conservation Subcommittee provides its focal point for issues relating to environmental conservation.


Exhibition of specimens. From time to time, the Club organizes displays at local village shows and similar events. For the Club's centenary, there was a display of artefacts and publications relating to the Club itself over the one hundred years of its existence, and a full-scale exhibition devoted to the Fungi. At the start of a new centenary for the Club, there are plans for another exhibition.


Field meetings and visits to places of interest. Field meetings and visits to places of interest are organized, often in connexion with themes of the lecture programme. Most field meetings occur in spring, summer and autumn.


Lectures. Between October and late February with a break in December, there is a programme of illustrated lectures every Saturday afternoon in the Normanby Room at the Whitby Museum in Pannett Park. Meetings start at 2.0 pm and normally finish at about 3.30 pm. Each Special Interest Group is covered, and lectures are given by members and external specialists. Visitors to these meetings are welcome (a contribution of £2 is invited).


Recording. The Club has an active programme of recording natural history, local history and archaeology, particularly of the Whitby area. Observations relating to these topics can be submitted to the relevant Special Interest Group [how to submit records]. Selected records are published in the Club's Annual Report. Recorders responsible for biological records collectively form the Recorders' Subcommittee.


Workshops. One- and two-day workshops are organized from time to time on a range of naturalist themes. Details of each workshop are posted on the Programme page at least 4 weeks prior to it taking place.

The Club is also affiliated to a range of other associations and societies. Information about those affiliations is shown on the Library page of this website.


Club Positions Vacant. First, thanks to those who have come forward to fill several vacant positions within the Club. Volunteers are still sought from among the Club membership to fill the following positions: Amphibians & Reptiles Recorder; Geology Recorder; Membership Secretary; Press & Publicity Officer. Anyone willing to help should contact the Club's Secretary.

Photographic Competition 2016. Now in its fourth year. Click here for the competition rules. The closing date is 31 December 2016. E-mail your entries to photocompetition_2016 <at> whitbynaturalists.co.uk.

Consultation. The Club's Officers and Executive Committee are interested to receive feedback from Members about Club activities, and suggestions of possible improvements and new directions. Please fill in the downloadable questionnaire, and return it to Wendy English, our Plant Recorder, who is co-ordinating this consultation. Her e-mail address can be found on the Contacts page of this website.

Forthcoming Events

Lecture. Walking with diatoms. Speaker: Martyn Kelly (Bowburn Consultancy). Saturday 8 October 2016.

Field meeting. National Fungus Day Foray. Leader. David Minter. Place. Meet on minor road to Hunt House from Goathland (SE815988). Date Sunday 9 October 2016. Time. 10.30. Notes. An exploration of autumn fungi in different habitats, including acid grassland, and conifer woodland.

Lecture. Wonders of the autumn night sky. Speaker: Mark Dawson (Whitby Astronomical Society). Saturday 15 October 2016.

Symposium. Natural history and exploration For this one-day joint meeting with the Captain Cook Society, five speakers will reflect on different aspects of the natural history of Captain Cook's voyages and its significance today. A full programme will be posted on this website in early October. Places are restricted to Members, and numbers are strictly limited. Contact Ruth Harwood [tel. 01947 810494, e-mail cooksymposium<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk] to reserve your place. Cost £5 to cover lunch and refreshments. Saturday 22 October 2016.