Conference 2019

The next YNU conference is being organised in partnership with the North and East Yorkshire Ecological Data Centre (NEYEDC).  The conference will take place on Saturday 6th April 2019 in the Ron Cooke Hub, University of York, on the topic of new tools and technology for biological recording and conservation.

Tickets are £25 for YNU members and £30 for non-members, which includes the conference lunch and refreshments.  Affiliated Societies may book one place per society at the members' rate. To book your place please follow the links below:

The programme will be published on this page in due course, but we are delighted to confirm the following speakers and exhibitors: Carlos Abrahams, Baker Consultants; Ed Baker, University of York; Richard Burkmar, Field Studies Council, David Bodenham, Eco-Sapien; John Cave, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust; Anna Berthinussen, The Wild Watch; Dave Kilbey, Natural Apptitude; Lucy Mitchell, University of York; Ed Snell, Yorkshire Pine Marten Project.

Recent years have seen a proliferation of new technologies and techniques for ecological surveillance and monitoring, but little has been done to facilitate their evaluation and roll-out for use by amateur naturalists and conservation practitioners.  Barriers include lack of access to training, mentoring and equipment, a shortage of relevant showcases and the absence of a regional forum to share knowledge and promote development of new applications and partnerships.  New technologies are of little use if they don’t meet real needs on the ground and help to answer questions that will support better land management and conservation measures.

In June 2018, with Heritage Lottery funding, NEYEDC launched the NatureHack project to help local naturalists to adopt new technology for applications that are relevant and useful to them.  Since then, NEYEDC staff have met a huge number of people to discuss the technologies they already use, the ecological questions they want to answer and the ways they would like to monitor their sites in future.  They have carried out fieldwork with local groups to demonstrate data collection using a survey drone, acoustic monitoring and eDNA methods.  A particular success has been their progressive series of workshops on the free mapping software, QGIS, an extremely powerful tool for visualising and analysing ecological data.  Many YNU members and affiliated societies have already benefited from the NatureHack project and we hope that many more will do so before the project’s completion in December 2019.  We are delighted to be collaborating with NEYEDC to organise this conference to share knowledge, hear about inspiring case studies and discuss future opportunities. 

Photos (L-R): Participants in the NatureHack project's first Introduction to QGIS course; Clare Langrick demonstrating eDNA sampling; Simon Pickles and Mark Wills meeting conservation volunteers near Thirsk

The conference will include a range of talks and demonstrations presenting local and national case studies – there is sure to be something of interest to all YNU members!  Throughout the day there will be natural history displays, book sales and plenty of time for networking.  It will be a great opportunity for newer members to meet others and find out more about the YNU.  

If you would like to bring a poster or display on the theme of new tools and technology for biological recording and conservation, please contact the conference organiser, Paula Lightfoot, on

If you would like to suggest future conference themes or offer to help to organise a conference or recorders' forum, please use this form.

For information and presentations from previous conferences, follow the links below:

2018: Non-Native Species - research, recording and the conservation agenda, click here

2017: Yorkshire's Natural History Societies - for naturalists, for nature, for the future, click here

2016: Names, Knowledge and Natural History, click here

2014: Museums and Natural History - the modern perspective, click here

2012: Brownfield Sites and their Importance for Biodiversity, click here