BEFORE the pandemic, our area was buzzing with club activities, public talks, workshops and other meetings to inspire, educate and engage on matters of history, arts and the natural world. The difference now is that many have moved online, writes Royer Slater.

Last month, I told you about online workshops for pre-school and school-age youngsters. This week, I have included just a sample of the range of activities all ages can engage in.

But first, another one for young people. Budding biologists and nature lovers can join a free online nature club hosted by Surrey Wildlife Trust. Explorers at Home is a safe online space to meet the trust’s education tutors every Thursday, to play games, enjoy craftwork and share the love of all things wild.

The activities are aimed at children aged six to 13 and each week has a different theme. The club takes place over Zoom and runs from 4pm on 4.45pm on Thursdays. Children need to be supervised by an adult, but the trust says you do not have to sit next to them the whole time.

A recording of the session may be made public after the meeting online and on social media. For more information or to book, visit the what’s on section of

Keen photographers may be interested in the wildlife trust’s online course for adults, Finding Beauty in Lockdown – Nature Photography Close to Home. It is divided into two sessions, on Saturdays 20 and 27 March 2021 from 10 to noon on both days.

One of the positive aspects of being in lockdown is the ability to spend time outside enjoying all that nature has to offer. Nature photographer Adrian Davies has developed this online course that will guide you on how best to use close-up photography to take images of the things you discover during your daily exercise.

Adrian will discuss how best to light each object, which lens to use and the filters that will assist in achieving the desired results.

He will ask you to consider the potential of your local “patch” for nature photography and guide you on such things developing a narrative in each image, close-up photography and lighting.

The course will be conducted via Zoom and costs £45 for Surrey Wildlife Trust members, £57 for non-members. For details and to book visit

The most unusually titled talk I have spotted is Corsets and Cameras: 19th century costume for dating old photographs. Presented by Surrey Heritage, it provides an introduction to the history of late 19th and early 20th century fashion, with particular emphasis on the change in women's costume through the years 1860-1920.

The talk gives tips and techniques to use when dating or identifying old photographs or drawings, along with hints on how to avoid some of the pitfalls that may be encountered. A useful handout will be provided which includes a list of books and websites to use for further reference.

It runs from 5.30pm to 6.45pm on 24 March. Tickets to this meeting on Zoom are £5 from

The Lightbox Museum and Gallery in Woking is offering a variety of online talks and workshops. These include a live virtual talk with sculptor Sophie Ryder, followed by an informal Q&A session. It will be hosted on Zoom on Wednesday next week, 17 March, from 7pm to 8pm.

Sophie Ryder’s world is one of animals and mystical creatures constructed from wet plaster, old machine parts, scavenged toys, tangled wire, and torn scraps of paper. Her hybrid beings are steeped in mythology and cultural symbolism. They are tender and self-aware, resonating on an immediate and human level.

Sophie was the youngest student since JMW Turner to be admitted to the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Since graduating in 1986, Sophie has shown her work all over the world including major outdoor sculpture exhibitions in the UK, and around the world including Germany, Sweden and the USA.

The talk will be hosted on Zoom and is free for Lightbox members, £10 for non-members.

Returning to Surrey Wildlife Trust, there is a free webinar for young people, Youth Action for Nature, on Wednesday 24 March, from 6pm to 8:30pm.

Its aim is to empower young people to take action for nature, with advice on effective campaign strategies, lobbying skills and practical habitat creation with guest speakers including Craig Bennett, Sustainable Stephanie and Claire Coutinho.

This conference is free to join and is open to all secondary school and university students. To book visit the online courses section on the what’s on page.