Letter from the Chair, November 2018

Dear Members

The Society’s Rules stipulate that we must give members three months’ notice of the Annual General Meeting; we have duly observed this obligation, by posting advance notice of the meeting both in GNS NEWS, and on the Society’s website; (by the way, I wonder whether you are in the habit of looking at the website, in between quarterly issues of GNS NEWS? Lots of interesting information there, plus reminders of upcoming events, both indoors and outdoors, of interest to GNS members; do take a look at www.glosnats.org). Just to confirm, the AGM will be held on Friday 22 March 2019, at the Gala Club, Fairmile Gardens, Gloucester, with the Society’s President, Mrs Anna Ball, in the Chair.

However the 2019 AGM will see a number of changes to the Society’s Executive Committee. David Scott-Langley is stepping down as Vice Chairman, after a very long stint, during which he has also been Chairman of the Cirencester branch and of the Scientific and Publications Committee, and in addition has been County Recorder for a variety of invertebrate groups; and as if that was not enough, he has continued to edit the annual volume of “The Gloucestershire Naturalist”. David is moving out of the county, but the good news is that he plans to continue acting as an invertebrate recorder, and to continue editing “The Gloucestershire Naturalist”. Since David stepped down as Chairman in 2016, the Cirencester Branch has continued its activities (notably the indoor meetings), with a group of three members – Ken Cservenka, Andrew Bluett and Rob Curtis – acting as a steering committee. Furthermore, Juliet Bailey took over from David as Chair of the Scientific and Publications Committee in 2016; Juliet is a long-standing member of the Society, is active in many fields of natural history in the county (notably botany and ornithology), and has for some time been the county Lichen Recorder; so we can be confident that the Society’s scientific activities and publications are in good hands.

Since I became Chairman of GNS in 2003, I have tried to strengthen links between the Society and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust; to pursue this end, I have for many years been a Trustee of GWT, but my permitted period as Trustee is now up and I stood down in September. Both GNS and GWT were keen to maintain the close links, so Andrew Bluett, the GNS Membership Secretary, was elected to the GWT Board in September. An initial meeting has already taken place to look more closely at how GNS, with its corps of very experienced volunteer naturalists, can cooperate even more closely with GWT. So, all in all, this seems to me to be a good opportunity for me to step down as GNS Chairman at the 2019 AGM.

The Society’s Executive Committee has obviously been considering this situation, and a number of existing members of the Committee have indicated that they would be happy to stand for election at the coming AGM. All are active field naturalists, with a long record of involvement in the Society’s activities: Mervyn Greening (a trained biologist, until recently a science teacher in Gloucestershire secondary schools, an active bird-ringer, and a keen botanist) will stand for Hon. Chairman. Juliet Bailey is to stand for Hon Vice Chair. In addition, I am delighted to say that Barrie Mills, who has recently been co-opted to the Executive Committee, is standing as a candidate for the post of Hon Secretary, a position which has remained vacant for far too long. Most of the other current Committee members are standing for re-election, notably Andy Lewis who has been a member of the Committee during the amalgamation between GNS and the North Cotswolds Ornithological Society, which is now happily almost complete. I too (with the approval of the other members of the Committee!) shall be standing again, as an ordinary member of the Committee.

Please note that there will be an election at the AGM. The members mentioned above are for the moment candidates for the various positions in the Society; if any other GNS members wish to put their names forward, this will be very welcome: don’t hesitate to contact me. Above all, please do come along to the AGM, to join in the latest episode in the history of GNS, which began way back in 1948.

After the AGM there will be an address by Dr Keith Alexander on ‘Gloucestershire’s best beetles’. Keith is an Honorary member of the Society, a former invertebrate recorder, author of the recent GNS publication in the TGN series on “Beetles of Gloucestershire”, and he took part in the field surveys in the county in the last two summers of Cosnard’s Net-winged Beetle. His presentation will undoubtedly throw new light on the invertebrates – often the most neglected, yet perhaps the fundamental component of biodiversity. Do come along to hear him speak; it should be an interesting and inspiring  event.

Until then, I send compliments of the season to all members and wish you a year full of inspiring natural history experiences in 2019.

With very best wishes

Mike Smart
Hon Chairman

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