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Nature Matters 2019: Time for Nature

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St Peter's School



North Yorkshire

YO30 6AB

United Kingdom

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

Event description


'New Networks for Nature is an inspiring, astonishing phenomenon' - Helen MacDonald, author H is for Hawk

Nature Matters is an annual three-day creative celebration of nature in words, music, film, photography, art and debate. Our delegates are treated to an inspiring programme of talks, readings, performances and discussions from leading voices and emerging talents, all of whom share tireless dedication to the natural world. The event is also about people, and offers a unique opportunity to meet and forge connections with like-minded individuals in a warm and informal atmosphere.

We're thrilled to be bringing Nature Matters 2019 to the historic city of York. The venue is St Peter's - one of the oldest schools in the world, with a wonderful location and beautiful presentation spaces. You can look forward to a sprinkling of northern flavour in this year's programme and a few innovations including a full length gig, a Sunday excursion, and speed-meeting sessions to boost opportunities to connect in common cause.

Our theme for 2019 is Time for Nature, and we'll be taking a journey of several thousand years, from ancient past via living memory to the present day, with a weather eye on the future. We can't wait to time travel with you - old friends and new faces are equally welcome.

Who's on the programme?

Contributors you won't want to miss this year are the naturalist and presenter Chris Packham; biologist Sir John Lawton; writers Katharine Norbury, Sir John Lister Kaye, Richard Smyth, Gill Lewis, Zakiya McKenzie and Anita Sethi; poets Elizabeth-Jane Burnett and Anneliese Emmans Dean; artists Robert Fuller and ATM Street Art; research scientists Isla Hodgson, John Altringham, Erica McAlister, Karim Vahed and Geoff Oxford; eminent palaeoecologists and archaeologists Suzi Richer, Paul Pettitt and Terry O-Connor; film-maker Bevis Bowden and sound recordist Mark Ferguson. There will be calls to action by the environmental poet activist Sally Goldsmith, wildlife crime documentary film-maker Ruth Peacey and Client Earth lawyer Hatti Owens; and time to laugh with Helen Pilcher, Hugh Warwick and Simon Watt. The sessions will chaired by familiar NNN faces.

And there's music too, including Peter Cowdrey's Planet Birdsong, the spellbinding voice of Kitty Macfarlane and, for the first time, a full length gig by folk singer and naturalist Sam Lee celebrating the launch of his new album, Old Wow.

We're also planning to unveil a spectacular, specially commissioned new mural by ATM Streetart, and for the first time, we are offering a Sunday excursion, to the Robert Fuller gallery, where you'll have the chance to see Robert's paintings up close and visit the extraordinary film sets developed to film and photograph the abundant wildlife living around his farm (as seen on Springwatch, Natural World and the One Show). Please note this is ticketed seperately and is not included in the 3 day event pass.

The 2019 event is co-curated by nature writer Amy-Jane Beer and writer and Features Editor at BBC Wildlife magazine, Ben Hoare.

Full Programme (subject to updates)


14.00-17.00 Join Professor Alastair Fitter and Professor Sir John Lawton for a guided walk around Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Askham Bog Nature Reserve.

18.00–19.15: Welcome reception, with local wine tasting courtesy of the UK most northerly commercial producer, Ryedale Vineyards.

19.15: Welcome: Amy-Jane Beer and Ben Hoare (Nature Matters 2019 curators)

19.20: Film: Peter Cowdrey and Sunny Moodie present Natural Harmony: Planet Birdsong in Nidderdale

19.35–21.30: Gig: Sam Lee and friends

Songs from Sam’s brand-new album Old Wow, plus readings, from Katrina Porteous, Mark Cocker, Jeremy Mynott, Amy-Jane Beer (more TBC)


8.30: Registration

9.15–9.30: Welcome and introduction: Professor Sir John Lawton (President, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust)

9.30–10.00: Prologue: Robert E Fuller

If you build it… 20 years of filming, photographing, painting and living Yorkshire wildlife

9.55–11.00: Nature in Deep Time: Eco-archaeology

Chair: Katrina Porteus (poet, historian and broadcaster); Professor Terry O’Connor (Paleo-archaeologist, University of York); Professor Paul Pettitt (Archaeologist, Durham University); Dr Suzi Richer (Environmental archaeologist, University of York)

11.00–11.30 Coffee break and bookstall

11.30–12.40: Debate: Now or never – Fighting for nature

Chair: Amy-Jane Beer; Ruth Peacey (Film-maker and campaigner, Lush Digital); Sally Goldsmith (Poet and Sheffield trees campaigner); Hatti Owens (ClientEarth lawyer)

12.40-13.00: Dr Sara Goodacre (University of Nottingham SpiderLab)

Sailing spiders, live.

13.00–14.15 Lunch break

Lunch will be served in two sittings in the dining hall. Meanwhile, delegates will have the opportunity to watch screenings, browse the bookstall and join a speed-meeting session

14.15–14.45: Prologue: ATMStreetArt and Dr Geoff Oxford (University of York)

Tansy beetles: Creating a new public artwork for York

14.45–15.45: Green Shoots: Children and Nature

Chair: Ben Hoare (Author and BBC Wildlife features editor); Anneliese Emmans Dean (Poet and performer); Gill Lewis (Novelist); Yuval Zommer (Illustrator and author)

15.45–16.15 Tea break and bookstall

16.15–17.15: The Funny Thing about Nature: Using humour to talk about Nature

Simon Watt (The Ugly Animal Appreciation Society); Helen Pilcher (Author); Hugh Warwick (Author)

17.15–18.15: Mingling, including Yorkshire gin-tasting with Sloe Motion

18.15–19.00: Kitty Macfarlane plays songs from her debut album, Namer of Clouds, introduced by Stephen Moss


8.00–9.00: Morning birdwatching walk, including visit to see the York Minster peregrines, led by Robert E Fuller and Jack Ashton-Booth

8.30 Registration

9.30–9.40: Welcome: Professor Tim Birkhead

9.40–10.00: Prologue: Elizabeth-Jane Burnett reads from The Grassling

10.00–11.00: The Tiny Majority

Chair: Bex Lynam (The Wildlife Trusts); Dr Erica McAlister (Senior curator, Natural History Museum): Diptera; Mark Ferguson (wildlife sound recordist and composer): Hymenoptera; Professor Karim Vahed (Entomologist, University of Derby): Orthoptera

11.00–11.45 Coffee break and bookstall

11.45–12.45: This Wild Land: Exploring Britain’s uplands

Dr Isla Hodgson (Zoologist and researcher) Mediating between wildness and other interests; Professor John Altringham (Zoologist, University of Leeds) Bats and caves: The kingdoms beneath our feet; Sir John Lister-Kaye (Aigas Field Centre) Highland tiger: Restoring an icon of wilderness

12.45–14.00 Lunch break

Lunch will be served in two sittings in the dining hall. Meanwhile, delegates will have the opportunity to watch screenings, browse the bookstall and join a speed-meeting session

14.00–14.20: Prologue: Mark Cocker introduces Bevis Bowden presenting his film Raising the Hare

14.20–15.40: Debate: New Directions for Nature Writing

Chair: Richard Kerridge (Bath Spa University); Katharine Norbury (The Fish Ladder, Women On Nature); Anita Sethi (writer, journalist, critic and author Common People ); Richard Smyth (A Sweet Wild Note); Zakiya Mckenzie (Forest England Writer in Residence)

15.40–15.45: Retrospective and Prospective

15.45–16.15 Tea break and bookstall

16.15–17.30: Finale: Chris Packham CBE in conversation with Kate Bradbury, including audience Q&A


10.00–15.00: Optional field excursion to see York’s new tansy beetle mural by ATMStreetArt and the Robert Fuller Gallery in Thixendale

Food, drink and networking

Lunch, morning coffee and afternoon tea* are included in ticket prices and these breaks present a wonderful opportunity to mingle and meet speakers and other delegates. And in reponse to suggestions from previous delegates we're planning a series of speed-meeting sessions, in which attendees will have the chance to book a one-to-one chat. Added conviviality is guaranteed on Thursday and Friday evening, when there will be a chance to taste wines and botanical spirits from local wildlife-friendly producers Ryedale Vineyards and Sloe Motion. At the end of each evening, there is traditionally a move to a good pub and more chances to socialise and reflect on the day.

*All meals will be vegetarian and nut free, with vegan alternatives available. For other important dietary requirements, please notify us by email info@newnetworksfornature.org.uk, after you receive your booking confirmation.

A note on pricing:

New Networks for Nature is a registered charity, Nature Matters is a not-for-profit event, and as always we have worked very hard to keep ticket prices down. This year for the first time we're delighted to be offering a limited number of concession price tickets, to help make this our most diverse and inclusive event yet. These are available to students, under 25s and unemployed delegates (not including senior citizens, sorry). Please bring proof of status to show on entry. If on the other hand you are fortunate enough to find the full price an absolute bargain (it is), we invite you to top up your payment with a donation.

Links/Read more

Click here to visit our website

Programme (timings provisional)

Map and Directions

About the venue


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

You will be asked to give your name on arrival. ID is not required, but concession ticket holders may be asked for proof of status. There is no minimum age for delegates, but the event is aimed broadly at adult delegates and not suitable for young childen.

What are my transport/parking options for getting to and from the event?

Public transport:

York is very accessible by public transport, and the venue is a 10-minute walk from the train station, via Scarborough Rail Bridge. There is also an excellent Park and Ride service. Details here.

By car:

York is busy, leave plenty of time if you plan to drive. There are a limited number of on-site parking spaces - these must be booked and paid for in advance (see ticketing options). Pay and Display parking is available within a five-minute walk of the venue, at Marygate (£2.30 per hour) and Bootham Row (£2.60 per hour). More parking info here.

Full directions for finding the venue (postcode YO30 6AB) can be downloaded here.

Where can I stay?

York has visitor accommodation to suit most budgets, but the event is in half term, so book as soon as you can. See https://www.visityork.org/sleep for a guide. If you're thinking of booking an AirBnB type place, you can use #NatMat19AccommodationShare to find delegates interested in sharing.

Can you cater for my special dietary requirements?

We'll do our best. All food provided at the venue will be vegetarian, with vegan options, and the venue is a nut-free environment. If you have dietary requirements we should be aware (allergies or servere food intolerances), please email us in advance on info@newnetworksfornature.org.uk with the heading DIETARY REQUIREMENTS FOR NATURE MATTERS 2019

What's the refund policy?

If you need to cancel your ticket, please email us info@newnetworksfornature.org.uk. We can provide a refund up to 30 days before the event.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?

We should have a full delegate list to register you against, but a copy of your ticket, either digital or paper, will help if any confusion arises.

Is my registration fee or ticket transferable?

If you need to cancel or wish to transfer your ticket to another delegate, please email us info@newnetworksfornature.org.uk.

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?

If you need to transfer your ticket into another name, please email us at least 7 days in advance, info@newnetworksfornature.org.uk.

How can I contact the organiser with any questions?

Please email us, using info@newnetworksfornature.org.uk

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Date and Time


St Peter's School



North Yorkshire

YO30 6AB

United Kingdom

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 30 days before event

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