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Bill Jones, The Agama Whisperer

The following is the text of a letter presented to Bill Jones in recognition of his years of contributions to the Emirates Natural History Group. The presentation took place at the Al Ain chapter's Annual Photography Competition Meeting at the Al Ain Intercontinental Resort hotel on Tuesday 26 May 2009.

26 May, 2009

The Committee and membership of the Al Ain chapter are pleased to present Bill Jones with a lifetime membership in the Emirates Natural History Group in recognition of his generous contributions to the Group and its members.

Bill first came to Al Ain in 1980 as a technician at Tawam Hospital. It was at this time that his interest in nature and the natural history of the UAE and Oman was kindled. He migrated to Australia in 1987, but returned to Al Ain ten years later, working as a teacher of English. It is during this second period in the UAE that his contributions to the Al Ain ENHG matured and flourished and he has been a quiet but valued member of the Committee for some years.

Bill’s major passions in the natural history and environment of the UAE are threefold – camels, scorpions, and mountains.

His knowledge and enthusiasm for the dromedary, kindled in the UAE, has seen maturation in his promotion of the camel and camel farming in Western Australia; in Al Ain, he was always ready to share his knowledge and insights, informally and with formal talks.

Scorpions are also an abiding interest; any field trip with Bill as a participant would see logs and stones and bits of metal turned over to explore the undersurface for these arachnids.

However, it is Bill’s enthusiasm for the mountains of this part of Arabia for which Bill will be most fondly remembered by many ENHG members. When Ibrahim Zakhour, who ably championed climbing the mountains of the UAE, left us seven years ago, a void was felt in the Group. However, Bill immediately stepped into the gap and the Ibrahim Zakhour Triple Crescent award was instituted. From humble beginnings involving members simply climbing three of the Hajar peaks, Bill has expanded this activity, promoting the Chapter’s policy of inclusivity by increasing the number of opportunities for members to complete the triple-peak requirement. Participants have been uplifted by the experience of seeing the high points of this area with Bill’s aid and encouragement.

On behalf of the ENHG, Thank you Bill.


Patron: H.E. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak Al Nahayan