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Cladonia floerkiana lichen near Lilla Cross

Cladonia floerkiana lichen near Lilla Cross

The lichen, Cladonia floerkiana, seen near Lilla Cross on 10 September 2017, is one of several members of this genus which are common on the moors near Whitby all year round [photo David Minter].

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. The Club's Recorder for Microbes & Protists has stood down. The Club's Fungi Recorder is covering these groups until a replacement can be found. If you are interested in being Recorder for these organisms, please contact the Club's Secretary. The Club is still looking for a Press & Publicity Officer. Anyone willing to help should contact the Club's Secretary.

Club Comments on Raithwaite Planning Proposal. Scarborough Council invited comments on a planning application proposing the development of a holiday village at Raithwaite near Whitby. A large part of the proposed development would be on ancient woodland. The Chair of the Club's Conservation Subcommittee has submitted a document containing the Club's views on this proposal [view submission].

Photographic Competition 2017. Now in its fifth year. Two main prizes: for best photograph overall, and for best photograph by a Junior Member. Click here for the competition rules. The closing date is 31 December 2017. E-mail your entries to photocompetition2017 <at> whitbynaturalists.co.uk.

Forthcoming Events

Winter Programme for 2017-2018. Click here for full downloadable programme.

Conservation work. Calla Pond. Leader. Wendy English. Location. Meet at the Access track to Calla Pond at Spital Bridge [NZ901103]. Date. Tuesday 12 December. Time. 10.00 a.m. Notes. The pond has been good for amphibians and dragonflies, but is infested with the invasive New Zealand pygmyweed, and is getting overgrown with reed mace. It is extremely difficult to eradicate NZ pygmyweed, but we hope to prevent it from entirely smothering the pond by annual removal. The work we did last year appears to have had some positive effect. It will be necessary to remove some undergrowth from around the pond to access the edge. We then intend to remove pygmyweed and put it in open black bags overnight to allow any creatures to escape back to the pond. Any reed mace we can extract will be left in a pile to compost near the pond. Wear wellies, and protective gloves. A hot drink is recommended. A garden spade or fork may be useful, but tools will be available. A volunteer with a wheelbarrow is also needed for Wednesday 13th December to transport the bags of NZ pygmyweed down to the entrance, where they will be taken away by Scarborough Borough Council. Contact. Wendy English [plants<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Lecture. Recording local history as it happens. Speakers: Christiane Kroebel & Sandra Turner (Whitby Naturalists). Saturday 13 January 2018.

Workshop. Molecular techniques for amateur naturalists. Leaders: Paul Cannon & Brian Douglas (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). Saturday 20 January - Sunday 21 January 2018. Notes. Places are limited for this event, and booking is essential. For further information please contact David Minter [fungi<at>whitbynaturalists.co.uk].

Lecture. Molecular techniques for amateur naturalists. Speakers: Paul Cannon & Brian Douglas (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). Saturday 20 January 2018. Notes. Advance booking for this lecture is not necessary. Although associated with the above workshop, it is part of the Club's regular winter programme and is open to all.

Lecture. The rocky shore. Speaker: Joyce Scott (Whitby Naturalists). Saturday 27 January 2018.

AGM and judging of 2017 Photographic Competition. Saturday 3 February 2018.

Lecture. Yorkshire's living sea: promoting and protecting Yorkshire's marine wildlife. Speaker: Anthony Hurd (Yorkshire Wildlife Trust). Saturday 10 February 2018.

Lecture. Bees and haymeadows. Speaker: Julia Piggott (Bee Ed). Saturday 17 February 2018.

Annual Lunch. The Club's late winter social event. Organizer: Laura Smith. Wednesday 21 February 2018. Please note date. Further details to follow.

Chlorosplenium aeruginascens on wood

Chlorosplenium aeruginascens on wood

The beautiful blue-green ascomata of Chlorosplenium aeruginascens on decorticated wood near Grosmont, seen during the Club's annual autumn foray, 8 October 2017 [photo David Minter].