Bulletin 34 - March 1988: Chairman's Report for 1987

Chairman's Report for 1987

by Ted Garside

For the ENHG 1987 was like the Curate's egg -- good in parts.

On the positive side, we changed our venue to the Cultural Centre which, apart from the more comfortable surroundings and a wider range of equipment, reduced our rental bill to nil. I am sure we all appreciate the new surroundings.

Over the year we had 19 lecture meetings covering a wide variety of subjects. Our field trips were a great success. Having enthused over the Hatta trip of the previous year, what do we say about the Oman trip that has not already been said? Forty plus of our members flew to Muscat and spent two days as the guests of the Oman Natural History Association on field trips covering bird watching, historical sites both ancient and modern (Al Bustan Palace), local cottage industries, and the seashore. A few lucky people managed to stay on for two extra days and visited the hinterland to see some of the older forts and idyllic settings of the hot springs.

Other field trips included a marine excursion led by Roger Brown, a weekend camp collecting plant specimens with Rob Western, and a combined seashell/bird watching trip with Stephan Pras and Jenny Hollingworth. Not forgetting, of course, our sand-blasted trip to Fossil Valley with Jose de Matos. All of these trips not only increased our knowledge of the areas concerned but gave immense satisfaction and fun to the members who went along.

Over the last quarter of the year we lost the services of valuable committee members and recorders. Stephan Pras, John Lister, Jacques Romieu, Ursula Goddard, Eleanor Drew and Jean-Marie Hirtz have all left the committee on posting or because of pressure from other activities. Their going is our loss and has drastically thinned the committee. On behalf of the membership and committee I would like here to thank them all for the hard work they have done for us. While on the subject of personnel changes, we must not forget the loss of Mike Crumbie, who put in so much of his own time and effort to be the chairman and driving force behind the Wetlands project. We had, of course, three changes of chairman during the year in addition to the other changes I have just mentioned.

At the beginning of the year we had hopes of finally getting the Wetlands project and the Herbarium off the ground. The respective reports were referred to our Patron, Sheikh Nahayyan, who was most enthusiastic at the prospect of advancing the causes to the benefit of the local community. However, while the Wetlands project has not foundered, it will have to be reassessed in the light of all the road building and canal digging that is now in hand along the line of the new East Coast road extension. With regard to the Herbarium, we are hopeful that it will be progressed along with the Herbarium of Al Ain University.

On another front, great effort and energy went into getting the preliminary work done on our workroom in the Old Fort in preparation for the mounting of a proper exhibition of our collected specimens and artefacts. After a long delay over the summer months, the project is now moving ahead under the guidance of Bish Brown, a past chairman of the ENHG, who was recently invited to return to the UAE to be the focal point and coordinator.

I must draw your attention to the fact that the Newsletter and Bulletins are beginning to prove difficult to publish because of a declining stock of material. May I pass on the crie-de-coeur from Caroline Fuggle and Rob Western for members to put pen to paper and send in more articles as soon as possible.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank on your behalf those few remaining committee members and recorders who have managed to keep things moving in the right direction at no little cost to their own time and energy.

Finally, may I put on record our thanks to Ursula Goddard for all her work and effort over many years. Ursula is ill in the Corniche Hospital. She has sent a message to pass on her greetings and best wishes for the New Year to all the members of the Group.

Ted Garside


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