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Annual Forum 2020

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Sand eels are disappearing due to dramatic changes in their plankton diet. In turn, birds are not finding enough sandeel food to sustain them and their young Chris Orange

The Northumberland Coast AONB Annual Forum returns - virtually - on Thursday 8th October 2020, 4pm-5.30pm via Zoom.

Like so many other events this year, it looked as though the AONB Annual Forum was going to be one of the casualties of the COVID 19 pandemic. Thankfully, the staff team are still able to bring it to you, albeit virtually.  

This year's Forum focuses on Climate Change. As one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, Green Recovery is vitally important - restoring nature would help avert the climate catastrophe, create jobs, prevent flooding, stop our water being polluted, make us all healthier and allow wildlife to become abundant once more.

There are four excellent speakers on this topic: 

Richard Willis 

Space for Shorebirds - Northumberland County Council's new Coastal Wildlife Ranger service 

Richard is the Senior Wildlife Ranger with Space for Shorebirds. He has been a keen naturalist and birder for many years, taking part in bird surveys for the British Trust for Ornithology and Northumberland Coast AONB Partnership. He previously worked as one of Northumberland County Council's Ecologists and has been closely involved in planning and implementing large scheme habitat creation schemes on mineral sites. 

Dr Hannah Fluck - Head of Environmental Strategy at Historic England 

Climate Change and Heritage  

Hannah is responsible for overseeing Historic England's climate change work. She is author of Historic England's Climate Change Adaptation Report submitted to UK government as part of the Adaptation Reporting Power Reports process, and contributing author to the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment. Hannah chairs the UK Historic Environment (Climate Change) Adaptation Working Group, set up to support Defra (UK Government) in their preparation of the National Adaptation Programme. Hannah has also led a programme of work looking at the historic environment and natural capital and is interested in ways in which the natural and cultural environment sectors can work together, 


Dr Chris Redfern 

Arctic Terns and Antarctic ice 

Chris qualified with an ‘A’ ringing permit in 1976 while at Exeter University. Currently a Trustee of the Natural History Society of Northumbria and recently retired from an academic post at Newcastle University; now focusing on birds and ringing and migration interests, most recently terns. 


Dr Mike Jeffries, Associate Professor of Ecology within Northumbria University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences 

The role of wetlands in capturing carbon 

Mike says: “As with so many ecologists it is hard to tell when the child with a net and jam-jar dabbling in a pond turned into the researcher with a net and a white tray dabbling in multivariate statistics”. He trained as a zoologist at the University of Bristol in 1980, had the great good fortune of a doctorate from John Lawton’s lab at York in 1985 and five years at Edinburgh University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources before joining Northumbria University. And like so many academics, he has also had the occasional diversion as shop assistant, civil servant and Punch and Judy man. 


The event is free, but attendees must register via Eventbrite so that joining instructions and a link on how to access the online forum can be sent out. 

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Richard Willis
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Dr Hannah Fluck
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Dr Chris Redfern
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Dr Mike Jeffries