Bulletin 13 - March 1981: Chairman's Address at the AGM

Chairman's Address at the AGM

I think 1980 has been a satisfactory year for the Group. We may not have achieved all we set out to do but there is no doubt that the ENHG enters its fifth year in a good state of health.

We had 127 paid-up members in 1980 and it is encouraging that in a place like Abu Dhabi, with a large floating population departing members are being replaced by new arrivals.

As a non-expert myself, I have been acutely aware of the extent to which the Group depends on a hard core of dedicated and expert people. It has been my aim throughout the year to try to increase the scope for more active participation by members who are ready to contribute but feel inhibited for one reason or another from coming forward. I can report, I think, some success. Occasional recorder sessions now precede some of our regular Monday meetings. These give members a chance to get to know recorders and talk to them informally. As a result, we have had members coming forward with expressions of interest and offers of practical help that have been of great value. I hope we can continue to hold these sessions from time to time in the coming year. But the recorders still need more help. Reports of sightings of birds and animals are very welcome. So are specimens, and recorders are always ready to hazard a guess at the identity of anything members care to bring along!

Towards the end of the year, we were generously given the use of premises in ADMA-OPCO's Federal Building. Our room will, I think, prove to be a most valuable asset and give the Group a base for practical work that so far it has lacked. The room can be used for recorders' activities and will be open to all comers on the last Monday of each month.

I had hoped to find some way of making the Group's collection of reference books more readily available to the membership as a whole. In the event, we were not able to find any satisfactory way of incorporating the books to the Community Center Library. However, they can now be consulted in our room in the Federal Building on open nights.

As always, the programme of Monday evening talks has been the focal point of the Group's activities. By my calculations, we heard 12 talks on general or UAE Natural History subjects, another two on the Gulf and eight on other subjects, mainly travel. Organizing a satisfactory programme of talks is something of a balancing act. There are some members who think we should live up to our title, concentrate on natural history topics, and confine ourselves to the UAE. Attendance at some of our talks would suggest, however, that our members' interests range wider than this and we shall continue to include travel and other subjects in our programme.

It is by no means easy to find speakers; the demand is great, the supply limited. New faces are always welcome.

The Committee has responded to the steady demand for field trips by arranging a visit to the Hili excavations in February and the nurseries at Bujair in April. Unfortunately a trip to the Al Ain Zoo in November had to be cancelled, due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Issues numbers 10, 11 and 12 of the Bulletin of the Emirates Natural History Group appeared in March, July and November respectively. It would be appropriate her to record the appreciation which we all have for the work of the Bulletin's editor, Rob Western, who somehow manages to turn out a publication of consistently high standard in addition to his activities as an archaeologist and plant recorder.

The Group has continued to maintain its contacts with like-minded organizations in the area and has received copies of their bulletins and proceedings (available in the Library). Individual members of the Group have also been in contact with scientific bodies and specialist organizations in the UK about various aspects of UAE natural history.

Earlier in the year we were glad to welcome a significant number of new members from Al Ain, who maintain their own programme of activities within the framework of the ENHG.

Finally, I should like to record my appreciation for the unfailing support that I have received from the rest of the Committee. This has made my job as Chairman both pleasant and easy. Thanks, too, go to the ladies who man (woman?) the tea-urn and all those who have given freely of their time to ensure the success and smooth running of the Group's activities.

Recording Activities 1980

After the Chairman's address, those recorders present gave brief resumes of their activities for the year. Anna Hall spoke of the Group's efforts at collecting, identifying and displaying marine shells from all over the Emirates. Annette Allen mentioned the small number of mammals recorded (mostly fox, hare and dugong) and made a plea for more observations. Bob Hall talked of his aims of establishing geographical records of Abu Dhabi Emirate and town. Bish Brown, standing in for the Ornithology Recorder, noted that the computer printout of bird recordings was now well established. Rob Western talked of the year's activities in the archaeological field, and, as acting Plant Recorder, spoke of the Group's long-standing objective of surveying and photographing the country's flora.


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