Spring and Early Summer Pollinators of Northumberland

Education Courses

Key Details

Education Courses


Join local naturalist, Mark Welfare, to explore the fantastic diversity of pollinating insects found across our region.

Course tutor: Mark Welfare

Course length: Four sessions, April - June 2024.

Course structure: Please check the program below.

Course cost: £60 NHSN Members/£70 Non-Members


Everyone loves pollinators but how much do we know about them? Three years ago I had no idea what amazing species lurked in my garden!

This course allows participants to get involved in enjoying all those wonderful insects. You will be amazed and entranced by the variety on your doorstep. You will become familiar with some of the main habitats, ecological niches and food plants of Northumbria’s bees and hoverflies as well as learn some detail associated with identifying 30+ species of bees and 50+ species of hoverflies in Northumbria (subject to weather and the season – observations will be affected by cold and rain and also by extreme heat - hence we have a couple of weather days for meetings).

We should also find many butterflies including Orange-tip and Green Hairstreak. We will use phone and camera photos as well as simple non-fatal trapping methods to improve our knowledge and increase our fascination. We will also use Apps to aid identification and recording.

Who's it suitable for?

This course is suitable both for people at the start of their natural history journey and for more experienced naturalists.

Trip Program

- Monday 22 April, 11 am-2 pm, Gosforth Nature Reserve

An indoor introduction followed by a walk to look for bees and hoverflies on the extensive areas of willow on site.

- Monday 13 May, 11 am-2 pm, Scotch Ghyll Woods, Morpeth

A field trip in search of woodland pollinators. Bad weather day: 20 May.

- Tuesday 3 June, 11 am-2 pm, Alnwick Moor, near Alnwick

A field trip in search of upland and heathland pollinators. Bad weather day: 10 June.

- Tuesday 24 June, 11 am-2 pm, Snap Point, Cresswell

A field trip in search of coastal pollinating insects.

Please read the terms and conditions for NHSN education courses before booking.

Recommended Equipment

None are required but please bring nets, cameras, close-up magnifying lenses and pots if you have them. Books and online resources will be provided as well as the use of Apps for identification and recording

Pace and terrain

The pace of the field trips will be quite slow, covering short to moderate walks (2-5km) with some hilly or irregular terrain to negotiate.

About the tutor

Mark is a recently retired medic who started birding in his teens and in the last 5 years has diversified to learn about plants, bees, hoverflies, Odonata, moths, and butterflies. A keen recorder he has more than 20,000 Northumberland records of 1000 species on iRecord and is a keen supporter of the NHSN citizen science projects. Having been a medical educator, he is keen on sharing his developing knowledge and inspiring others.