Nature Day – Gallery Stage

This is an event from the 2018 edition

Pop along to the Gallery for some free, drop-in nature talks on subjects from pigeons to peregrines, marsupials to wildlife conservation. First come, first served.

Programmed in partnership with Norfolk Festival of Nature. 

The Norfolk Festival of Nature is a partnership that uniquely brings together many organisations that work across Norfolk for the benefit of wildlife and nature, including: Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the British Trust for Ornithology, Norfolk Museums’ Service, the University of East Anglia, Wild Days Conservation, the Broads Authority, The National Centre for Writing, and many others.

Norfolk Festival of Nature





11.15am–11.45am A vole in the hand is worth two tigers in the bush

Bank voleKathy Gill shares the magic and wonder of close-up encounters with wildlife gained through her special brand of wildlife conservation and research holidays working in Britain and around the world.

Citizen science is changing the face of conservation and Wild Days Conservation is showing how anyone working hands-on can make a positive contribution and have a unique experience doing it.

Wild Days Conservation (WDC) was set up in 2015 to help resource wildlife conservation in the UK by creating great holidays for untrained volunteers to come on, to learn and work with established conservation bodies. Lauded by BBC Wildlife Magazine as providers of some of the top conservation breaks in the UK, WDC is looking to spread the word about great volunteering holidays in the UK.

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12pm–12.30pm Norwich Cathedral peregrines

Come along and find out about the Peregrine falcons that nest on Norwich Cathedral’s spire. A Peregrine nesting platform was erected on Norwich Cathedral in 2011 and wild peregrines have been nesting in it ever since.

Hear from Zoe Smith, the Peregrine Project Officer from the Hawk and Owl Trust, about these remarkable birds. Zoe has spent a decade working on UK and international projects involving birds of prey, including radio-tracking vultures in Greece and raptor counting in America.

The Hawk and Owl Trust is a National UK Charity. It is dedicated to conserving birds of prey in the wild – and increasing knowledge and understanding of them. The key areas of our work are research, conservation through our reserves Sculthorpe moor in Norfolk, Shapwick moor in Somerset and Fylingdales in Yorkshire and education.

Hawk and Owl Trust

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1pm–1.30pm What can we learn from a high koala-ty genome?

Koala sleepingAge: All ages

The marsupials are an ancient and unique branch of the mammalian evolutionary tree. We share a common ancestor with them, which lived around 160 million years ago.

In the time since, this enigmatic group of species has followed an evolutionary path with huge differences to that of our own.


Will Nash, Earlham InstituteUsing a unique genomic resource partly developed by researchers in Norwich, we can finally start to explore the genetic basis of some of the specialised traits seen in the marsupials.

With particular focus on the koala, this talk, from Will Nash from the Earlham Institute, will cover recent innovations in genome sequencing, how the high-quality data we gain from them can be used in biology, and what can be learnt about evolution as a result.

Earlham Institute

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2pm–2.30pm The pink pigeon’s peril

Pink pigeon CREDIT Peter Steward
Pink pigeon – credit Peter Steward

Age: All ages

Pink pigeons are living cousins of the dodo, but how long until they go the way of their extinct relatives? In this presentation we will follow the story of the pink pigeon, learning about the conservation successes, the perils that still face it and how understanding its DNA could be the key to saving it.

In a world dominated by humans, people are often both the main cause of a species’ decline towards extinction and the reason for their continued survival. An example of this is the fascinating story of the Mauritian pink pigeon.

Pink pigeons survived the arrival of ravenous sailors to their island home but eventually loss of habitat, disease and introduced predators drove them to the brink of extinction. Finally, when there were fewer than 20 birds left, they caught the attention of Gerald Durrell who founded a conservation project, which 40 years on is responsible for saving the species from extinction.

Camilla RyanHowever, the pink pigeon’s struggle for survival is far from over, there are still only around 400 left in the world.

In this presentation, Camilla Ryan, a UEA PhD student based at the Earlham Institute will explain why she thinks that the pink pigeon’s DNA may hold the secret not just to their continued survival, but that of all endangered animals.


Earlham Institute

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Saturday 20 October
Venue: The Forum, Gallery
Cost: Free, drop-in