Monthly Talks

March 28th

of the documentary “Toxic Puzzle.The Hunt for the Hidden Killer” and Q&A” 

Richer Environments Consulting in collaboration with the Qatar Natural History Group, are proud to host the screening of Bo Landin’s documentary “Toxic Puzzle. The Hunt for the Hidden Killer” narrated by Harrison Ford, at DESS on Wednesday the 28th of March at 6:30pm.

Toxic Puzzle is a medical and environmental detective story where filmmaker Bo Landin follows ethnobotanist Dr. Paul Alan Cox and over 50 collaborating scientists around the world, including Qatar, on their quest to learn more about how environmental toxins produced by cyanobacteria trigger neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with Ecologist Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou and Neurologist Dr. Basim Uthman of Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar, who spearhead cyanobacterial toxin research in Qatar in collaboration with Dr. Renee Richer and the Brain and Chemistry Labs in the USA.

Donations to support our current and future research projects on these environmental toxins will be accepted on the night of the screening, and/or through e-banking remittances.

For more information please contact
Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou at
tel: 5516 5426 or

Register by filling this form

Event Location and Map
Doha English Speaking School

Documentary Official Web Site 



March Talk

Date: Wednesday, March  7th, 2018
Title: Our Warming World: What is means for Qatar and the rest of the world
Talk Venue / Location: Doha English Speaking School - Map 
We welcome members and non-members alike and do not charge for our monthly talks. Doors open at 6:30 PM and we offer tea and biscuits and time to peruse the QNHG library before the meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Our Rambles and Membership tables will also be open shortly after 6:30. 
Chairwoman’s note:

The March talk is given by our own QNHG committee member, Richard Angwin, who serves as Al Jazeera’s weather forecaster. Who better to speak about climate change?! He will break down this complicated phenomenon and explain the pieces of the puzzle. He will also talk about how climate change affects the world over and Qatar in particular. He will conclude his talk with mitigation strategies and actions that governments are taking as well as easy solutions and actions that we can take to adopt our life-styles and help slow-down climate change.
From our librarian:
If you would like to delve deeper into this month's topic, check out the Report on Global Warming completed by Saudi Aramco in 2014.  For the upcoming rambles, there are numerous books on birds in the library that can prepare you for spotting the various species, as well as provide you with comprehensive birding knowledge, e.g.
  1. An Interim Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Arabia -
  2. Common Birds of Qatar
  3. Falconry and Birds of Prey
  4. Qatar Nature Explorer: Birds of Qatar 

Be sure to check out our library for titles on many topics related to Qatar (and other) Natural History.  Don't forget to bring cash for deposit

Talk Summary:
From Richard: Some people deny its existence, other choose not to think about it at all. But climate change is real, its happening now, and it is going to impact all our lives.

In this talk Al Jazeera weather forecaster Richard Angwin will explain why climate change is such a difficult concept to grasp; why it threatens our very future; and what we can do to face the challenges it poses both to Qatar and the wider world. Because by acting now we can all enjoy a better future with a cleaner, healthier environment.

Speaker Bio:
Richard Angwin began his career with the UK Met Office in 1979.  He became a weather forecaster in 1990 and spent almost a decade providing weather services for a range of clients before working with the BBC as a weather presenter in Bristol. He joined Al Jazeera in 2011 and provides weather forecasts for a global TV audience.


 February Talk

    Date: Wednesday, February 7th, 2018
    Talk Venue / Location: Doha English Speaking School - Map
    FEBRUARY’S TALK: THE MARVELOUS JOURNEY-A road trip from Qatar to Europe and Back in 2001

    We welcome members and non-members alike and do not charge for our monthly talks. Doors open at 6:30 PM and we offer tea and biscuits and time to peruse the QNHG library before the meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Our Rambles and Membership tables will also be open shortly after 6:30.
    Chairwoman’s note: Our talk this month is given by treasured QNHG member Marcello Terzano. He and his family have been in Qatar since 1981. Not only have they seen Qatar change, they have been a part of that change. Their passion for the country has not waned in those many years. I have heard tales of their amazing road trip and I look forward to hearing and seeing more about a journey that in our lifetimes is not likely to ever be a possibility of replicating again. This will be a true tale of adventure and exploration that no one should miss. See you on February 7th! 
    Talk Summary:
    From Marcello: The talk is about a land trip, mainly off-road that I took with my family in the summer of 2001 journeying from Qatar to mid-Europe and back. We visited 5 seas (Arabian, Red, Dead, Mediterranean and Black), and 15 Countries, some of them no longer are open to tourism. During the talk, I will share photos, memories and impressions regarding the cultural and ecological marvels we discovered. 
    Speaker Bio:
    During his early professional days, Marcello had a strong connection with the Italian Red Cross, which still influences his practical daily life, and the WWF. Marcello practiced marine design and construction for part of his career and industrial design for the majority of his career, following in the steps of his inventor father. He has been in Qatar since 1981 with the same sponsor, whom he considers his extended family. He is a passionate proponent of sustainable development and has been a member of the Qatar Natural History Group since 1997.


    January Talk

    Date: Wednesday, 10th , 2018 at 7:00 p.m  -
    We hope you will join us for our first talk of 2018. We welcome members and non-members alike and do not charge for our monthly talks. Doors open at 6:30 PM and we offer tea and biscuits and time to peruse the QNHG library before the meeting begins at 7:00 PM. Our Rambles and Membership tables will also be open shortly after 6:30. 
    Title of Presentation: Education City Golf Club, our sustainability mission 
    Golf and natural history? Absolutely! Most people would not expect a golf course to have a goal of being sustainable, (which at QNHG makes us happy), but this one is and it is on track to win an award for its efforts. Come and join us for this talk as we have the special opportunity to have the General Manager and the Superintendent of the new Education City Golf Club share with us how they turned urban desert into a green and nature friendly space. This new green and multi-lake course has attracted a multitude of animals and birds of which we will have the chance to see at our first ramble of 2018. 

    Speakers: Michael Braidwood and Darren Smith

    • Darren Smith – Golf Course Superintendent, Education City Golf Club

    • Michael Braidwood – General Manager, Education City Golf Club

    Talk Venue / LocationDoha English Speaking School - Map

    Synopsis of talk: 

    Darren and Michael will provide a detailed presentation on the practices that have taken place during the construction of the Education City Golf Club that are ensuring that the club is on track for the Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) Sustainability award, along with what practices they will continue to apply to ensure they stay at the forefront of sustainable golf courses in the region. They will also touch upon initiatives surrounding the clubs other core values: Research and Development, Community and Education.

    Short biography: 
    MichealMichael Braidwood is Education City Golf Club’s General Manager. Michael has spent his entire career in the golf / club business starting as a Golf professional (he still maintains his PGA membership) and then moved into club management in 1998. He has worked at a number of prestigious venues such as The Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, Royal Golf Club in Bahrain and Skolkovo Golf Club, Moscow, Russia. Prior to joining Education City Golf Club Michael was the Director of Education for the Club Managers Association of Europe and was responsible for the roll out of their Management development programme and the administering of their two qualifications, the Club Management Diploma and the Certified Club Manager designation.
    Michael is one of just 45 Club Managers in Europe and the Middle East with the Certified Club Manager designation and he is also an Advanced Fellow of the PGA. 
    Darren Smith an Australian Citizen originally from New Zealand moved to Australia in the late 1980’s where he gained his Golf Course Management Qualifications and from there has honed his skills on both pre and post opening of golf courses in Australia. Having moved to the Middle East in 2001 his experience now spans nearly 15 years in the region.
    Darren spent 11 years with EMAAR PROPERTIES PJSC, Arabian Ranches Golf & Polo Club Dubai, where he was working as the Emaar Area Golf Course Manager overseeing the construction component for their international and local properties throughout the UAE, KSA and Egypt. He was also tasked with the responsibility of the Landscaping Division for Emaar Address Hotels during his time with Emaar.
    Darren joined Education City Golf Club in 2013 during the early stages of the project and during the construction period will be responsible for overseeing the golf course construction and ensuring the protection of the owners’ asset, before taking over the maintenance, operation and management of the golf course once operational.]


    December Talk

    Date: Wednesday, 6th , 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

    Title of Presentation: Wastewater: The Untapped resource

    Speaker: Dr. Stefan Uhlenbrook

    Title and Current Work Affiliation: Coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme of UNESCO / Director of the UNESCO Programme Office on Global Water Assessment

    Talk Venue / LocationDoha English Speaking School - Map

    Synopsis of talk: 

    The 2017 edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report, entitled “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource”, demonstrates how improved wastewater management generates social, environmental and economic benefits essential for sustainable development and to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report’s title reflects the critical role that wastewater is poised to play in the context of a circular economy, whereby economic development is balanced with the protection of natural resources and environmental sustainability, and where a cleaner and more sustainable economy has a positive effect on the water quality. The presentation will particularly focus on the use of natural systems for wastewater management in situations of water scarcity countries like the Arab-region. 

    Short biography: 
    Professor Stefan Uhlenbrook is since November 2015 the Coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP, UNESCO programme) and the Director of the Programme Office on Global Water Assessment in Perugia, Italy. Before that he worked at UNESCO-IHE as Professor of Hydrology (2005- 2015), Deputy Director (Vice -Rector) for Academic and Student Affairs (2000 -2014) and Director a.i. (acting Rector; 2014-2015). He did his PhD (1999) and habilitation (2003) at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He is also a Professor for Experimental Hydrology at Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands (2009-now).
    Professor Uhlenbrook’s main expertise includes water assessments, hydrological process research, river basin modeling and water resources management. Many of his research and development projects have identified the impact of global changes on water cycle dynamics in different hydro-climate regions in Africa and Asia. He is keen on translating science based water knowledge to effective policies and strategies that contribute to environmental, economic and societal sustainability. Therefore, he is directly involved in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
    Speaker presented with small token to thank him to giving time to QNHG members 

    November Talk

    Date: Wednesday, 29th , 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

    Speaker: Dr. J. Jed Brown

    Title and Current Work Affiliation: Research Scientist

    Center for Sustainable Development, College of Arts and Sciences, Qatar University. 

    Title of Presentation: An Underwater Video Survey of the Sharks & Rays (Elasmobranchs) & Fish of Qatar:  Can Virtual Reality Be a Useful Tool?

    Talk Venue : Qatar University Library New (Main) Library B13, Ground Floor room 111, Virtual Reality Laboratory (Women’s side).

    Location map:


    Coordinates: 25°22'38.71"N; 51°29'24.95"E

    Synopsis of talk
    Baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVS) were deployed in the territorial waters of Qatar in order to gain an understanding of the abundance of sharks and rays and fish in Qatar. There is a particular interest in collecting data on the status of sharks and rays, as many of their species are under threat. Thus far over 200 hours of videos have been captured, and only a few sharks or rays have been observed.  In addition to single camera BRUV’s, we also deploy a 360-degree camera housing, which produces 360° videos. These videos can be viewed with virtual reality headsets, which may prove to be a useful outreach tool to disseminate information about the marine environment to the general public.    

    Short biography
    Dr. J. Jed Brown was research faculty at the Center for Sustainable Development at Qatar University in Doha. He has expertise in fisheries, aquaculture, high salinity agriculture and has conducted extensive research in this area. He obtained his M.S. from Stony Brook University, USA in marine environmental science and his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in sustainable aquaculture. 

    In a past position in Abu Dhabi, Dr. Brown worked to develop a large integrated seawater agriculture/aquaculture project for the coastal desert that aimed to also produce biofuels. He conducted a large research project to screen various populations of salt-tolerant plants (halophytes) for production under seawater irrigation for this effort.

    He has served for many years as a leader of natural resource management programs and projects for the US federal and state governments, including Chief of Fisheries for the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands

    Presentation overview: 
    Dr. Brown will present an overview of his project and show current results, then Mohamed Ali Hammami of the Virtual Reality (VR) Lab will give a short overview of the VR equipment/facilities and finally participants can watch several of the 360° videos from the project on the equipment at the VR lab.

    To register for this talk, please contact
    Dr. Aspa D. Chatziefthimiou, Talks Coordinator,


    Ms. Sheri Kenly, QNHG Chairperson, 
    Pictures  of the speaker with QNHG Chairwoman thanking him

    November Talk

    Date: Wednesday, 1st , 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

    Speaker: Dr John M. Rivers

    Title and Current Work Affiliation: Geologic Researcher at ExxonMobil Research Qatar

    Title of Presentation: The Geology of Qatar for Non-Geologists 

    Talk Venue : Doha English Speaking School - click on the link for direction

    Synopsis of talk
    Have you laboured under the weight of perplexity caused by questions like, “Why do Qatar rocks have gas?” or “Why did a hole appear in the road?”  Have you suffered from sleep deprivation as a result of not knowing why pristine piles sea shells can be found lazily lying on the dry ground kilometers from the sea? Maybe your burning questions are more mundane like, “What kinds of rocks can I find around Qatar?” and, for that matter, “What is a rock, exactly?”  These questions and more will all be answered in this non-technical and informal presentation on the geology of Qatar.  
    Short biography
    Dr John Rivers is a geologist working for ExxonMobil Research Qatar with nine years’ of research experience in petroleum-related geologic systems.  His current research focuses on characterization of limestone sediments and rocks forming in modern Qatar coastal environments, and occurring in the local subsurface rock record.   

    October Talk

    Date: Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

    Speaker: Dr. Anna Paolini
    Title and Current Work Affiliation: UNESCO Representative in the Arab States of the Gulf and Yemen and Director UNESCO Doha Office since September 2013.
    Title of Presentation: UNESCO protection of natural heritage: Al Reem and beyond 
    Talk Venue: Doha English Speaking School click on the link for direction
    Synopsis of talk
    The presentation will highlight the work that UNESCO is doing in the field of protection of natural heritage in relation to the new UN Sustainable Development Goal Agenda. The talk will present the Natural World Heritage program and the Man and the Biosphere MAB program, which are important initiatives of the Organization. In Qatar the Al Reem reserve is preserved and valued under MAB definition and the WH site of Zubara is part of it. Nevertheless, many challenges are still present in the management of the reserve and there is a need for more engagement from the private-public sector to highlight its values.

    Short biography
    Dr. Paolini was UNESCO Representative and Head of Office in Uzbekistan from 2007 to 2009 and later she covered the same position in Jordan. In 1992, she joined UNESCO as specialist in the field of culture at the Regional Office in Amman. In 1997, she moved to UNESCO HQ covering several positions within the Culture Sector including being responsible of movable heritage activities and on heritage in conflict response in the Arab region. Prior to that, she held a research associate role at the Institute of Architecture of Venice, worked in restoration in Italy and carried out research in the field of urban rehabilitation in several Arab and African countries. She holds a Master’s degrees in Architecture and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning for Developing Countries, a post-graduate degree on Development Cooperation, as well as a Ph.D. in Urban and Territorial Engineering. Dr. Paolini is a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the Italian Association of Professional Architects and is author of several papers on different cultural heritage subjects.