The following is the text of a letter presented to Brien Holmes 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, 23 May 2006.
Brien Holmes has been Chairman of the Al Ain chapter of the Emirates Natural History Group for approximately 9 years. During this period, he has been largely responsible for the building up of the chapter to a current healthy membership.
In an effort to promote history, heritage and natural history in an interesting, informative, dynamic and interactive manner he has co-ordinated (and continues to do so) an extensive programme of desert, wadi and mountain field trips, and has stimulated the Al Ain Chapter to introduce its Special Interest Coordinators, this helping to generate a large number of records of the country's flora and fauna. The group remains dynamic and proactive due to Brien's efforts to keep the Committee focussed and make us all re-evaluate the effectiveness and inclusiveness of all of our activities in order to ensure that we continue to follow our key objectives in the most appropriate manner. This has also been shown in his promotion of research within the broad community of natural history in the UAE.
Brien created the Group's website and an email discussion group to communicate with all members and friends, thus making use of new technology to promote natural history in the UAE on a worldwide basis. His original aim for the website was to create an archival site, however, it also houses information of interest, and natural history, history and heritage-related links. Having set up the site Brien's persistence in maintaining it has meant it is a reliable source of information and a focus for communicating with members.
Brien has played a major role in promoting knowledge of the country's natural history, history and heritage, particularly in the Al Ain area, where the ENHG chapter has established and maintains links with government and non-government organizations.
All of Brien's achievements are remarkable but what is more remarkable is the way he arrives at them. He has a very unassuming manner and a strong sense of ethics with which he steers the Committee and thus the Group's activities. His inclusive approach has reached out to many in the community who might otherwise not have been interested in our activities. In 2003, Brien was awarded the Bish Brown Award in recognition of his tremendous contribution to the promotion of natural history. His generosity with his time, his resources and his knowledge is an inspiration to all of us.
Simon Aspinall presents the silver falcon, emblematic of the Bish Brown Award to Brien Holmes, IEW 2003