Windermere Science Evening

The second Windermere Science Evening on Wednesday, 20th March 2024, at the Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness-on-Windermere was a huge success. We hosted guests in-house and online, with a combined audience of over 140 people. Thank you to our speakers, and to everyone who attended, shared the event, generated questions on the night, and provided feedback following the event. 

A massive thank you to Fliss Pocock (Manager), Sarah Melhuish (Box Office), Matt Burke (Tech) and the in-house venue team for making it happen. Also, to Ben Cannon and Molly Wray for visual/event support, and for Pete Catlin for a top-notch entrance music playlist. The event was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, South West Doctoral Training Partnership, and the University of Exeter.

Windermere Science Evening 2024

The evening featured ongoing research, monitoring, and practical initiatives to help understand and improve water quality and ecological health within the Windermere catchment. Each speaker had 15 minutes to share their research and involvement. Together, we shared nuance and depth alongside vital reminders of the importance of conserving these fragile freshwater environments. 

The event was also the launch of my collaborative research zine ‘Swimming with Care at Windermere‘ with illustrator, Bethan Thorsby. All guests, support, and speakers received a copy, sharing further insights into the social and environmental pressures at Windermere.

The recordings from each talk are available below. Due to audio difficulties, the audience and panel questions unfortunately could not be captured. The 5 talks across the evening featured:

  • (Host) Taylor Butler-Eldridge (PhD Researcher, University of Exeter) – ‘Outdoor Swimming and Environmental Health at Windermere’. 
  • Dr Louise Lavictoire (Head of Science, Freshwater Biological Association) – ‘Windermere’s History and Pressures on Water Quality’.
  • Dr Ellie Mackay and Dr Steve Thackeray (Freshwater Ecologists, UKCEH) – ‘Long Term Changes in the Ecology at Windermere’.
  • Sammy Graves (INNS Coordinator, South Cumbria Rivers Trust) – ‘Invasive Non-Native Species in the Windermere Catchment’.
  • Dr Ben Surridge (Biogeochemist, Lancaster University) – ‘Water Quality Insights from the Big Windermere Survey’.
Taylor Butler-Eldridge
Louise Lavictoire
Ellie Mackay and Steve Thackeray
Sammy Graves
Ben Surridge

Following the event, our speakers and I have been showered with positive and constructive feedback online, across social media, emails, and even separate blog posts. The hashtag #WindermereScienceEvening generated thousands of impressions and its reach continues to grow. If you have any further feedback, please contact me as this all helps with future event planning and funding. There is clearly a thirst for more of these engagement events. If you wish to get involved in more practical conservation initiatives at Windermere, contact the Freshwater Biological Association, and South Cumbria Rivers Trust. For information about long-term monitoring, visit the UKCEH.

Again, thank you for your ongoing support. It has been a significant amount of work and stress to organise, but it proved to be worth it.

Author: Taylor Butler-Eldridge | Published: 04 Apr 2024

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