Watch the William Guy Lecture for primary school by Katherine Whyte

20 September, 2023
Screenshot of Katherine Whyte's William Guy lecture

Katherine Whyte has been appointed the 2023-2024 William Guy Lecturer for primary school by the Royal Statistical Society (see announcement here). Her talk When we build wind farms, what happens to the wildlife? is now available on the Society's YouTube channel.

The talk is a great resource for teachers who can use it directly or contact the Society or Katherine for an online or in-person session. Further details of the lecture and the William Guy scheme can be found below.

When we build wind farms, what happens to the wildlife?

To combat climate change, countries across the world are racing to create more of their energy from renewable sources like wind energy. Wind farms are now a regular sight all along the coast of Britain. But when we build wind farms, what happens to the wildlife that lives there?  

In this interactive talk, I will look at how we can use maths and statistics to help us balance the benefits of wind energy with the risks posed to ocean wildlife like seals and seabirds. Where were the animals before we built the wind farm, and how many were there? How many animals leave when a wind farm is built, and do they come back? What do animals do when they are near a wind farm, and can they still find enough food in the sea?  

Statistics is an important tool in helping us to answer these questions, and helping us make decisions that are both good for the planet and good for our local wildlife. 

This video is made up of 3 sections to accommodate different teaching opportunities. The entire video can be watched in one sitting. Alternatively, Section 1 can be watched as a stand-alone video, with optional follow-up Sections 2 and 3. 

  • Section 1: When we build wind farms, what happens to the wildlife? (~ 6 minutes) This section introduces the challenge of balancing renewable energy with looking after our oceans, and highlights the importance of maths and statistics in helping us achieve both goals. 
  • Section 2: What might happen to wildlife? (~5 minutes) This section takes a more detailed look at how building a wind farm may change the environment and wildlife living there, and the role of maths and statistics in understanding this. 
  • ​Section 3: How do we decide if we should build a wind farm? (~2 minutes) This final section explores the role of maths and statistics in deciding where, when, and if a wind farm should be built.

Contact Katherine to request a live talk or to ask any questions.


RSS William Guy Lecturers

The RSS William Guy Lecturers are prestigious volunteer roles intended to celebrate the importance of engaging with schools and inspiring children about statistics from an early age. They are named in honour of William Augustus Guy, an early medical statistician and past RSS president. 

Three William Guy Lecturers are appointed for every academic year. Each lecturer prepares and records a talk for a particular key stage (primary, secondary and sixth form). Every year we ask for talks on a particular theme.  

We encourage schools to use these talks (~25 minutes in length) as part of their learning resources. Schools are also welcome to contact the lecturers to request in-person visits or live sessions online. We also encourage schools to contact the lecturers with questions that students may have about the talks, to enable interactive dialogue and stimulate engagement. 

We hope that the William Guy Lecturer talks will be a useful and engaging resource for a broad and diverse range of schools, and will inspire students to discover the interesting and relevant applications of statistics and data science in the real world.  

For more information on the 2023-2024 William Guy lecturers visit