MINUTES OF THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING AND THE EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING OF THE DONCASTER NATURALISTS’ SOCIETY
Held at the Education Centre, Potteric Carr Nature Reserve, on 4 September 2021 at 10.30a.m.
Present: Nora Boyle, President (in the Chair); Derek Allen; Lesley Bassett; Carol Benson; June Birchall; Ruth Brompton-Charlesworth; Jim Burnett; Geoff Carreck (C); Louise Hill (C); Colin Howes (C);Joyce Simmons (C); Paul Simmons.
(C) = Committee Member.
1 Apologies: Jo Carreck; Les Coe; Tony French; Tom Higginbottom; Gill Johnson; Catherine Palmer; Margaret Prior; Geoff Prior; John Scott; Anna Thirlwell; Maurice Whitta and Mick Townsend
2 Minutes: The minutes of the last AGM held 18 January 2020 were accepted (proposed Joyce, seconded Ruth).
3 Matters Arising:
Signatories: Margaret Prior had been appointed as a cheque signatory in place of Pip Seccombe.
Pip Seccombe : had retired from the Committee. She had been awarded Honorary Life Membership and given a collection of fritillary bulbs, which had flourished.
Programme Secretary’s Report: Joyce had reported improvements in the planning of outside meetings.
Newsletters: were no longer produced in paper form, but activities were recorded on the website.
Summer Programme: Visits to Bird watching sites had been scheduled but had to be cancelled. Shorter meetings had been requested and so afternoon visits to Broad Oaks Farm and Brockadale were arranged.
Winter Programme: Parklands had been closed because of Covid so ideas for Indoor Meetings were not required.
Dorothy Bramley’s Paintings: Louise Hill retrieved the paintings from the Old Museum and relocated them to her house. 3 had been donated to the museum for possible future display in the museum.8 had been sold by auction to the membership
4 Election of Officers: the current Committee had agreed to continue in office, with the exceptions of Maurice Whitta, who has stepped down as Conservation Officer, and Derek Allen, who will continue to minute the AGM and inside meetings, but not Committee Meetings. The latter role would be filled by Geoff Carreck. Nora Boyle indicated her intention to resign as Treasurer, to concentrate on the Presidency, at the end of this year.
5 Reports of Officers:
President: Nora Boyle started with a reminder that the last few Parklands meetings in 2020 had had to be cancelled. The venue was now available again, but no arrangements had been made. The Committee met bimonthly via Zoom since the Covid situation arose. Several members had joined YNU Zoom meetings and 3 committee members had contributed on behalf of DNATS.
Nora thanked Derek for minuting Society events for so many years (since 1984). In recognition of his sterling work he had been awarded Honorary Life Membership. The meeting applauded.
Maurice Whitta was unwell, and had retired from the Committee. His role as Conservation Officer would be allocated to existing Committee members as required.
Nora was pleased to report that more leaders willing to organise outside visits had emerged. They also exhibited willingness to write reports. Eleven new members had been gained in the last two years. Two of the new members, who are also land owners, agreed to lead walks on their land. These were very well attended and appreciated. It is hoped we can arrange further visits. So thank you to Caroline Barrass and Anna Thirwell for their hospitality and enthusiasm. The membership now numbered 50. It was remarked that this is an achievement since it was known that several other Natural History Societies had ceased to operate.
The Denaby Ings survey for the YWT was proceeding well under Colin’s curatorship. Personal visits by Bob Marsh to record insects and Tom Higginbottom to record galls had taken place. Several experts had contacted Colin and offered help in collating information and records in their area of expertise.
The Society had received a letter from Ed Shaw of the Doncaster Catchment Riverside Trust, asking for our support for a lottery funded scheme to explore and improve the environment of the lower Don Valley. Colin had composed a letter of support, including a variety of suggestions.
Nora then asked if anyone had any comments to make about her report.
Lesley Bassett enquired about the inclusion of members who did not have the Internet at home. Jim and Derek replied that they used the facility in the Library. Nora said they were informed of meeting information by phone. The old way of writing newsletters and sending out copies to members was raised. Louise referred to the Newsletter as it used to be produced ie biennially on two sides of a sheet of A4. Several members said they liked to have material in document form. The Committee would look at this again.
Secretary: In Margaret’s absence, Nora gave her report .The meeting wished to record their appreciation of Margaret’s diligent and efficient efforts.
Treasurer: The 2020 accounts were accepted (proposer Geoff Carreck, seconder Paul Simmons).The 2021 accounts were not due. Thanks to the sale of Dorothy Bramley’s Books we have an even healthier bank balance of £3833 on 27th August 2021 .Nora suggested that to honour Dorothy’s contribution we should find a positive use for the money. One suggestion was to pay more experts to lead outdoor meetings. This was agreed.
Another suggestion was to consider designing a new NATS logo. Maybe this could be printed on a tee shirt.
Recorder: Louise had received a great deal of assistance from Colin in the past year, due to her extensive commitments. She showed the file she had inherited from Pip which contains records of meetings and detailed records which she had amassed during her time as Recorder. She also mentioned the comprehensive records that Colin maintains. Records they receive are archived by the Society as well as submitted to the local Biological Records Centre. Louise said that records submitted should contain what, where, when and who. The where should include a grid reference, obtainable from an OS map, a smartphone or an internet aerial photograph. The who should identify the person who identified the species, as the provenance needed to be checked in the case of rarities. Louise and Joyce both stressed the value of past recording when opposing planning applications.
Writing reports for outdoor meetings was discussed briefly but since this was still under discussion by the Committee it was decided that the matter should be left to them for the moment.
Webmaster: Les Coe had provided a report which Nora read on his behalf. Nora also read an account, published by Sheffield Daily Telegraph, of a meeting held at the Mansion House in 1904 by Doncaster Scientific Society which was the original name of DNATS. This was one of a series of articles available to read on the website under “Home”. The meeting had been enlivened by an exhibition of specimens of active radium willemite and pitch blend.
Colin added that the NATS archives also had a lot of newspaper cuttings of interest.
Programme Secretary: Joyce said that outdoor visits had resumed with groups of no more than 6, which had worked well. If more than 6 turned up, the party was divided and proceeded separately. Larger groups were now allowed. Leaders were sending out detailed instructions via Margaret. Joyce asked if those planning to attend meetings could inform the leader, and also if they subsequently cancelled.
6 Indoor Programme: Joyce asked for views on resuming indoor meetings. No clear view was obtained. Similar societies had adopted differing policies. Jim Burnett said some societies asked for vaccination status, even when they did not require proof. It was thought that the whole membership should be canvassed.
Little interest had been shown in Zoom meetings. The meeting felt they should be tried, especially as we were paying for extended sessions. The Committee would look at this again.
7 Outdoor Programme: Joyce mentioned the Denaby Ings project. This had been instigated by Jim Horsfall of the YWT. Several surveys had been made and interesting results obtained. Colin was collating records. She commended two forthcoming Fungal Forays. The first at Finningley Churchyard with Kevin Gilfedder in October and the second in November at the Almshouses in Hemsworth with Francis Hickenbottom. The lawns at the Almshouses produce an amazing number of fungal species and the visit was highly recommended.. Moth Nights had resumed. One at Austerfield had produced over 80 species.
Joyce reminded members of the benefits of the YNU. Nats members were affiliated and could attend meetings. The YNU website gives contact e mails for experts willing to help identify species in a variety of fields.
Joyce wanted opinions on future meetings and for future leaders to volunteer. Margaret would be asked to enquire of the membership.
8 Field Records/Notices: The meeting was running late so it was decided not to go through field Records. Some of Dorothy Bramley’s books were available for sale today, also her paintings and back copies of the Doncaster Naturalist. Colin suggested taking unsold items to a dealer such as Tennants. Geoff asked how the Society had acquired the Bramley items. Louise thought her son had donated them.
9 Any Other Business: None.
10. Date of Next Meeting: to be decided.
EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING
Venue , date and attendance as above.
Geoff Carreck discussed changes to the Constitution. These consisted of changes to the membership of the Committee, mentioned at the AGM above; the extension of the Committee Members’ terms of office to 2 years, both they and the President being nominated , seconded and (if necessary) elected, and the provision of a new Dissolution clause. There being no dissent, Colin Howes proposed and Nora Boyle seconded that the new Constitution be adopted. This motion was carried unanimously.
The combined meetings closed at 12.26 p.m.
As you may have guessed we are not expecting to be able to have an Annual General Meeting, so at the last committee meeting I asked the current Officers if they would be prepared to remain in position for another year and they all agreed. According to the constitution the President remains in position for two years, so we will continue with the same committee for the coming year and the committee will continue to meet on Zoom.
Presidents Report 2020
We began the year with a very enjoyable walk at Fairburn Ings in January followed by lunch at a local Pub and managed to follow the planned program of Indoor meetings during February. By the middle of March, Covid restrictions had started to come into play and put an end to further indoor meetings. So we missed the planned meetings by Helen Kirk entitled “The Sundew Plume” and “Woodland Management” by Tim Bryant.
During the Natural History Day organised by Sorby Natural History Society on February 22nd Colin Howes gave a talk and we had a strong DNATS presence of 8 members.
Several members attended the first Nature Alliance meeting on March 3rd at Doncaster College looking at Biodiversity and Footprint in the face of Economic Development along with other local groups. Louise took her laptop showing examples of places visited by the DNATS and we took the display board which was revamped by Margaret Prior and myself to include more recent photographs of our activities.
Our last meeting on the original program was “Early Spring Flowers at Norwood” and this was followed by Lockdown in which groups weren’t allowed to meet either indoors or outdoors. Fortunately in early June we were given the go ahead to meet in groups of six and so on 9th June and 17th of June two groups of six were given a tour of Broad Oaks Farm by Caroline Barrass who joined the group earlier this year. Since that date it has been almost impossible to stick to the planned program since some venues were closed and some events such as the bio blitz at Potteric were cancelled. Instead we created a new program of meetings in which we restricted the number of participants to 12 so that we could have two groups of six and comply with Government regulations. These meetings included Fairburn Ings, Potteric Carr, Thorpe Marsh, Brockadale, Bentley Community Woodland, Brodsworth Community Woodland, River Torne Washlands, Fen Carr Hedgerows , Denaby Ings , King’s Wood, Topham Ferry, Howell Wood and Bawtry Forest.
Instead of a Winter program of indoor events and with the exception of the month of November we have continued with outdoor meetings which we have scheduled until the end of January when we will assess the situation and if indoor meetings are still not viable we will program more outdoor meetings.
Following the Fen Carr visit when Colin Howes executed a Hedgerow survey he sent the results to Jim Horsefall, Assistant Reserves Officer for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT). Jim then suggested we might carry out some survey work for the YWT. Jim said he would be pleased to receive records for any of the sites but highlighted three. Subsequently the committee decided that along with other meetings we would undertake a long term project of surveying the site at Denaby Ings Nature Reserve.
The aim would be on conclusion of the survey work, for DNS to produce a publication on the Environmental History and Biodiversity of the reserve. Hence a preliminary visit was made in October so that we could be made aware of the different habitats on the site, referring to a map of the site provided by Jim. The map in question was shared with the membership at the beginning of November and they were encouraged to make individual visits to the site and send records to Colin Howes. Next year the intention is to have several group visits throughout the seasons and to invite experts in areas of expertise which we don’t have in the Society to make some visits either with DNS or on their own.
Last month several members of the committee attended a Zoom meeting organised by the YNU in which it was decided to create a series of Zoom meetings which could be made available to the membership. As affiliated members Doncaster Naturalists are also able to register for the events through Eventbrite via a link which will be sent to members closer to the arranged dates. The events are free but there is a limit of a hundred attendees so it’s important to register for tickets as soon as you get the link. Three dates were organised initially with the first, occurring on the 10th of December. This was a presentation by Paul and Joyce Simmons on Brockadale. I understand that shortly a recording of the meeting will be made available so those who couldn’t get tickets will have another chance to view. The second on the subject of “Identifying Grasses from Vegetative features” by Judith Allinson will take place on January 14th at 7.30pm and the
third on “Climate Change and the Brown Argus Butterfly” will be on February 11th at 7.30pm.
We welcomed seven new members during the year; Ruth Brompton Charlesworth, Caroline Barrass, Anna Thirlwell and her daughter Georgina, Samantha and Graham Batty and Fern Harrison who has written a thesis on the Pollinators of Denaby Ings. We now have 44 members.
Sadly two of our members passed away during the year. Marc Seccombe who was a very successful film maker and long term member of both Doncaster Movie Makers and Doncaster Naturalists Society died on Easter Sunday during the first Covid lockdown when only 10 people were allowed to attend funerals so some members lit a candle in his memory at the time of the funeral. Later in the year Bessie Chapman, our longest serving member, died on September 13th at the age of 98. She had been a member from the age of 15 and at one time acted as Treasurer. The society was represented at her funeral by Colin Howes and Tom Higginbottom.
Pip Seccombe was made an Honorary Life Member and given a gift of Snake’s Head Fritillary bulbs which her son planted in the garden.
Dorothy Bramley’s paintings were put on Dropbox and an auction held which resulted in the sale of 7 paintings. Those members who haven’t picked up the painting they made a bid for should arrange with Louise to pick them up from her house which is where the paintings are being stored.
The website has been improved tremendously by the Webmaster, Les Coe. You can see more details by reading his separate report. Thanks to Les and all those who have contributed photographs and project notes.
Our recorder, Louise Hill, would like to give thanks to Nats members and Colin Howes in particular for gathering copious records from the Society’s outings this Summer and Autumn. She would also like to thank individual members for forwarding their own records so that they can also be added to the Local Records Database.
Finally I would like to thank all the members of the committee for their contributions to the Society.
Webmaster’s Report 2020
Due to an increasing amount of annoying spam mail, the Contact Form was removed and email addresses were modified to prevent bots etc., from accessing them.
The home page had a few modifications made including a link being provided to details of the constitution and the addition to the Officials of the Society of ‘Past President(s)’ in line with the constitution. Tim also provided a much-improved map of the societies area.
A new section ‘ID support for Members’ has been introduced which generally provided answers to most of the questions posed by members.
Meeting Reports 2020 also included an archive of 2019 Meeting Reports to be found on the header page. In due course, all 2020 meeting reports will also be archived in the same manner.
The indexes of all editions of the Doncaster Naturalist were made available on the website with contents of volumes one and two being available in PDF format.
Members projects proved to be a popular addition to the website with twelve projects being shared with members. The 2020 projects will be archived on the Project header page thus inviting members to contribute fresh observations for 2021. All members are invited to contribute their findings for 2021 and will be allocated their own page.
Members can also contribute stories to the Articles page that would be of interest to the membership.
The newly formed ‘Insect’ section, whereby members can submit photographs of anything belonging to the Insect world, has also proved to be very popular, especially in the Moths section. Here both Dave Williamson and Samantha Batty have contributed hundreds of excellent photographs. Members are encouraged to continue submitting their photos through 2021 of any insect(s).
The latest section to be added has an introduction to the Societies ‘Denaby Ings Project’ where the societies activities throughout 2021 can also be shared with members.
If members would like another topic to be introduced, possibly along the lines of the Insect Section, the do let any member of the committee know.
Finally, I would remind members of the search facility that is available on the website.
Treasurer’s Report 2020
Following the resignation of Pip Seccombe a change of signatories for cheques was required.
Cheques now require the signature of two out of these three officers: Margaret Prior, Louise Hill and Nora Boyle
The following is an abbreviation of the accounts with specific attention to Income and Expenditure
Full subscriptions: 45x£7 ( 42 for this year and 3 for next ) £315
Donations from members: £20
Donations from non members £1
Sales of back copies of Doncaster Naturalist: £11.50
Sales of the latest Doncaster Naturalist: £57
Sales of Dorothy Bramley’s paintings £295
Total income is £699.50
Speakers Expenses: £130
Donation to Potteric Carr for the AGM: £40
YNU Subscription: £30
Room Hire at Parklands: £50
Flowers, card and bulbs for Pip Seccomb’s retirement £18
Printing of Doncaster Naturalist: £83
Administration Expenses: £41.62
Zoom Meetings: £43.17
Total Expenditure: £435.79
The difference between Income and expenditure is + £263.71, mainly as a result of selling some of Dorothy Bramley’s paintings.
The bank balance is healthy at £3610.05 and since we have been unable to arrange indoor meetings the committee decided that instead of increasing the subscriptions to £10 ,which had previously been proposed, membership fees should remain at £7.
Since it is unlikely we will be able to have an AGM, subs can be paid after the first of January by bank transfer to Account number 65588745, Sort Code 089299 using your name for reference, by cheque made payable to Doncaster Naturalists’ Society and sent to N. Boyle, 48 Wicklow Rd, Intake, Doncaster DN2 5JX or in cash at meetings.
Sales of Doncaster Naturalist are down mainly due to absence of indoor meetings. We still have 24 left. Copies can be requested from me and paid for by Bank Transfer or by cheque for £3.50 if postage is required and £2.50 if purchased at a meeting. If you want to pay by Bank transfer I can send you a copy this year but please wait to make payment until the beginning of January.
Administration Expenses include stamps and envelopes for the posting of Doncaster Naturalist stamps to send Newsletters and programmes to those who are not online and printing of photographs for the display board.
Members present: 13
1.Apologies: S. Hill, T.Higginbottom, C.Adamson, C.Palmer, M.Prior, J.Prior, P.Seccombe, M.Seccombe, J.Scott, L.Coe and M.Whitta
2. Minutes of the last meeting : Approved
3. Matters Arising: Movement of archives from the museum was suggested
Venue for Indoor Meetings: Although Parklands has no lift no other venue was suitable so meetings will continue to be at Parklands for the time being.
Use of the museum: C.Howes raised concerns about future storage of materials which are in his old office, Doncaster Nats archives and Dorothy Bramley’s paintings.
4. Officers Reports:
President’s Report from Louise Hill – See separate document for Presidents’s notes. (See below)
Secretary’s Report read by Nora Boyle on behalf of Margaret Prior
Apologies for not attending the AGM.
I have continued with my role of secretary by sending out reminders about upcoming meetings and dealing with enquiries usually from new members. I have had no correspondence other than emails to deal with. I have also disseminated information about other issues that may have been of interest to members. I still have a number of YNU publications that members can borrow; I have given one to Louise to take along to the meeting.
I have liaised with Les Coe about the new website which I think is a great. I have also attended most of the meetings and along with Nora we devised the quiz for the Christmas Social.
I am willing to carry on being secretary.
Treasurer’s Report from Nora Boyle
Difference between Expenditure and Income £6.38
Total Funds: £3345.96
Subs: Remain at £7
Subs can be paid by Bank Transfer into Account number 65588745, Sort Code 08-92-99.
Financial Statement approved by L. Hill and seconded by G.Carreck
Assets and their value need to be revised.
Bank signatories need to be updated since Pip Seccombe retired. Margaret Prior to take her place as one of the three signatories.
15 Copies of Doncaster Naturalist remain for sale at forthcoming meetings or venues.
Recorder’s Report by Louise Hill
Louise has been acting as recorder for the society in recent months following Pip Seccombe’s necessity to reduce her involvement. Pip indicated before the AGM that she wished to stand down as Recorder. She will continue her membership. A gift in recognition of her long service will be arranged.
Detailed records of field meetings have been sent to Bob Marsh Biological Records Officer.
Colin Howes pointed out that field records by individuals need to be comprehensive in terms of location and species name.
Program Secretary’s Report
Joyce Simmons gave her apologies for her absence at the meeting but asked the members for suggestions for the Summer Program so that the program could be ready by mid March. She requested that each outing should have a designated leader and details of sites made available when suggestions were made.
Conservation Officer’s Report
No report from Maurice Whitta who gave his apologies for his absence.
Newsletter./ Website Nora Boyle discussed possibilities for the Newsletter. Louise Hill reminded us of the content of Newsletters produced in the past by Pip Seccombe as one suggestion. Content for website to be sent to Les Coe from Nora Boyle and Margaret Prior.
Election of Officers
Louise Hill stepped down as President after over 12 years in the post.
Nora Boyle was nominated and elected President.
Pip Seccombe stepped down as Recorder.
Louise Hill was nominated and elected Recorder.
The other officers were re- elected en mass.
7.A. Summer Programme – suggestions
The membership were asked if there was anything in particular they wanted regarding the Summer Programme. Several members indicated they would like a visit which included bird watching. Several said they would like some shorter visits as opposed to an all day meeting. Suggestions were Old Moor, St Aidens’, Fairburn Ings, Thorpe Marsh, North Cave, Finningley Churchyard, Austerfield, Fen Carr, Thorne Moors, Pit tips,Barrow Hills, Pot Rings Wood, Carr Lodge and the River Torne at Rossington.
B. Winter Programme
The recent flooding using Louise Hill’s footage and /or possibly the Flood Warden at Fishlake
The membership agreed that Pip Seccombe become an Honorary Life Member and that she should be given a gift in recognition of her work for the Society.
Dorothy Bramley’s Paintings
The paintings may well need to be relocated in the near future.
The previous suggestion that we might offer a loan service was ruled out because it would be too complicated.
An alternative suggestion was to offer them for sale initially to members then the open market. The matter of prices would need consideration. The web site could be used to advertise them. No final decision was made.
Doncaster Nature Alliance
Warren Draper is producing a booklet called Wild Times which will accompany the first public event on 3.03.20 at Doncaster College. Articles related to Biodiversity and Climate change are requested. Louise Hill has submitted a short description of the work of Doncaster Naturalists.
Gill Johnson informed us that the xp school near the Keep Moat Stadium wishes to make contact with the Society. The intention is to look into how we might interact.
The meeting closed at 11.55am.
Doncaster Museum – Natural History Archive, Collections and Enquiries
• Cataloguing at the Natural History Archive – – has been unable to continue due to restricted access and lack of time!
• Still have no formal memorandum. Contact was made in Nov with Anne Marie Knowles.
• Dorothy Bramley’s Paintings – intended to be available for long-term loan to members but there has been no progress. Perhaps we offer then to sale to members. Need to create brochure using Ken’s photographs.
Links with other groups
• South Yorkshire Bat Group Rob bell gave talk. Hibernation Surveys Sun Feb 16th 10.00am Archer’s Way).
• South Yorkshire Botany Group & Bradford Botany Group joint outings (Elsecar and Leven Canal).
• YNU Field Excursions: VC 63 Sprotbrough
• Three Hagges Wood-meadow – guided visit
• Lindholme Old Moor & Hatfield Moors – Mothing visits and still well represented on Management Group.
• Shirley Pool – with YNU Botany and Ento. Sections.
• RSPB new Reserve at Adwick Washlands
• Dawn Chorus – Sandall Beat – dedicated few!
• Thorpe Marsh GCN surveys – egg search and torch survey.
• Thorpe Marsh Purple Hairstreak count.
• Harvest Mouse Hunts – wash-out!
• New Year Walk (Fairburn Ings).
• Birch-bashing at Lindholme Island Oct, Nov and Dec
Training the next generation
Where are they?
Venturing further a-field
• Fairburn Ings.
• Bempton Cliffs
• Fen Carr?
• Doncaster’s HuMPs & PimpLES Colliery Sites
• Suggestions please – not just botany.
Promoting the Society
• Lindholme Fete – (June) Display Board and hand’s-on display and activities. Guided walks. Very warm. Short walks.
• YNU Conference attended by several members (no Nats displays).
Representations made at various outside meetings:
• LAH – Doncaster Biological Records Centre Steering Group and Local Sites Partnership (April) Annual report available.
• LAH – Doncaster Nature Alliance (Climate Change and Biodiversity)
• LAH – Keeping in contact with CCT – owners of Shirley Pool and Inkle Moor.
• LAH attended several Potteric Carr Monitoring Group Meetings (Personal capacity and Representing Nats).
The Doncaster Naturalist – Papers for the next edition required.
Very many thanks to Les Coe for taking on the job of creating and maintaining the fantastic Nats website.
Many thanks to Nora for preparing the Society’s newsletters and forwarded reports to the website.
Winter Programme – All meeting now at Parklands due to Museum closure / winding down. Meeting venue in new building unlikely.
Equipment – Remember we have it – use it!
Louise Hill 18th Jan 2020
Please be aware of the forthcoming public event by Doncaster Nature Alliance entitled ‘Your Wilder Doncaster‘
The Nats will have a stall and Louise Hill is making a contribution with a 5 minute talk. Should be an interesting evening. The event is free but the organisers need to know how many people will attend so you will need a ‘ticket’. You can book through this link where you will also find more information:
The event is to be held on Tuesday evening 3rd March 2020 from 5.30pm – 8.30pm (speakers from 6.00pm) at the Doncaster College drama studio and restaurant area. Entry is free but first obtain a ticket from https://tinyurl.com/vrjh6ax
Worried about the climate & biodiversity?
Want to support nature recovery in Doncaster?
Keynote speaker Professor Ian Rotherham ‘Climate Change, biodiversity extinction and the rest – time for despair or for hope and action?’
Meet many of the organisations and groups already involved in nature recovery, wild flowers, trees, gardens, peatland – find out how you can be involved.
Pick up a copy of a new publication Doncaster Wild Times – Your Free Guide to Doncaster’s Natural Wonders.
Find out about nature events and activities around Doncaster in the near future.
I am writing this short report of the AGM as the current President following the election of officers, more of which I will come to in a moment. The intension is to circulate a more detailed version covering items on the agenda shortly but I felt it was important to inform the membership of the changes to the officers as soon as possible.
Louise Hill, having been President for many more years than intended, stepped down from that role and is now Recorder (and hopefully occasional consultant for the new President!) Thank goodness she will continue to be very involved in the Society as her wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and connections is irreplaceable. We are all very grateful that she continued to be President for so long. She will also monitor the whereabouts of the archives in the museum.
Pip Seccombe stepped down from her role as Recorder and Committee member for health reasons and, in the absence of a volunteer I agreed to continue in the role of Treasurer and in essence Membership Secretary. Those who were present at the meeting signed a “Thank You for your contribution to the Society” card for Pip which Louise and I delivered after the annual walk. Again, as with Louise, we can’t underestimate the amount of work Pip has undertaken on behalf of the Society since she joined in 1974. Pip was delighted to receive the card. In her resignation email she said she was overwhelmed by the letters, cards, visits and phone calls from so many people, including members of the Society. These made her feel so loved and so she sends a big THANK YOU. I’m sure she won’t mind me telling you that she is continuing her chemotherapy, the signs are good and she isn’t experiencing any nasty side effects. She will continue to be a member.
Margaret Prior remains as Secretary, Joyce Simmons as Program Secretary, Maurice Whitta as Conservation Officer, Derek Allen as Minutes Secretary, Les Coe as Webmaster and Colin Howes and Geoff Carreck as Supporting Officers.
As Treasurer I am attaching my report which informs you that the subs remain the same as last year i.e. £7 since, as you can see, the funds in the bank remain almost as last year. If you so wish you can pay by Bank Transfer using the Account number and Sort Code given in the report. If you do, please use your name as reference and let me know so I can update the records. The report also reminds you of the assets which are still of use and available for members to borrow. Most of these are at the moment with Louise.
Shortly Joyce will want to start fixing dates for Summer meetings so if anyone has a venue in mind please let Joyce know as soon as possible. I know this has been already requested but will serve as a reminder. Also, if you know the site very well it would be great if you could lead a field meeting. Mick would you let Joyce have the dates of your meetings, please.
Also, I’d like to remind you that Paul Simmons will be gathering items for the next publication of The Doncaster Naturalist. If you’d like to contribute but not sure of a topic, one idea from another group is a review of a book or a piece of equipment. The future of the newsletter was mentioned and I haven’t made a firm decision about it yet but it won’t be the same as last year (which would be duplicating the reports on the website) The format will definitely change and will no longer be sent out round about the same time as the programs. No doubt this will evolve as time goes on. In fact, I think this has become a Newsletter as well as a brief report on the AGM.
Thank you to all those members who were able to attend the AGM and for everybody’s contribution to the Society throughout the year. One of the most endearing qualities of the group is the supportive nature of the members. This in my mind makes the group very strong and the meetings a delight to attend. I’m in no doubt that at some time I will need support following in the footsteps of Louise. Feel free to let me know if I make mistakes or omit to do something important, I think the most important thing is to continue to work together as we have done in the past, contribute wherever we can, learn from each other and enjoy the meetings however many you attend.
Best Wishes Nora
Treasurer’s Report for 2019
We have 41 members. 39 fully paid members,1 HLM and 1 Long Serving member (3 less than last year)
Total Income: £405
Membership fees 41×7 (39 +1 for last year and 1 for next year £287.00
Donations from members: £24.50
Donations from non members: £6.00
Sales of Doncaster Naturalist £13.00
Talk to Edenthorpe Gardening Club by Louise and Pip £40.00
Butterfly Walk by Ron Moat for Friends of Dunsville Quarry £35.00
Speakers fees £60
Donation to Potteric for Room Hire £40
YNU Subscription £30
Room hire at Parklands £ 250
Bulb for Moth Trap £10
Pots for insect collection £8
Administration fees £13.68
Expenditure is £6.38 more than Income.
Funds available: Bank: £3278.67. Cash: £67.67. Total: £3345.96
Publication fund is £497.30
Poole Value of assets is £657.20 ( including new bulb for moth trap and set of insect collecting boxes )
General Funds available: £ 2848.66
The committee decided that the subscription should remain at £7 for another year. For anyone who wants to pay by Bank Transfer, the Account number is 65588745 and the Sort Code is 089299
To remind you we have the following assets, currently with Louise Hill, which are available for members to loan.
Bat Detector Projector Screen and Case Various FSC guides 2 Display Boards
2 Amphibian nets
Guide to British Moths and Butterflies
Identification of Moths book
Battery powered Actinic Moth Trap
held on 20th January 2018
Apologies were given for those who couldn’t attend.
The minutes of the previous A.G.M. were read and approved.
Gill Johnson and Louise Hill gave an update on current information about the proposed amalgamation of
the Museum, Library and Archives.
A brief discussion was held regarding trees in cities.
* The President, Louise Hill, gave us an update on the status of Colin Howes’ old office at the museum. She
informed the group that Dorothy Bramley’s framed pictures are to be photographed with the intension of
creating a library from which members can borrow pictures to display at home for an extended period of
time. The collection is at the moment being housed in the room which Doncaster Naturalists are sorting
out (ie Colin’s old room)
* She pointed out that there is still no formal agreement between the Museum and DNS as to the retention
of D.N.S. material.
* Louise mentioned the status of the South Yorkshire Botany group and Rotherham Naturalists indicating
that both were struggling with numbers, so much so that Rotherham Naturalists have given all their funds
to a local group. There was a suggestion that we might contact them with the possibility of joining up.
* Louise mentioned some of the meetings of other groups she attended during the year and listed the sites
Doncaster Naturalists have visited during 2017 .
*The group is now a member of Nottingham Wildlife Trust following a talk at the Museum by Mark Speck
their Northern Conservation Officer.
*Possible Field Meetings for Summer 2018 were discussed . If anyone has ideas please contact
* It was noted that indoor meetings, both at the Museum and at Parklands, were well attended but there
was some concern over the number of members attending field meetings. The Secretary, Margaret Prior,
suggested putting copies of the program in the library and museum.
* The President thanked members for their support during the year.
The Secretary, Margaret Prior, reminded us that if we wish to attend any of the talks scheduled at the Idle
Valley (managed by the Notts Wildlife Trust) we should consult their website.
YNU publications are available from her for members to read.
The Treasurer, Nora Boyle, indicated that our bank balance of £3249.03 is slightly up on last year. Income of
£323 was slightly more than the expenditure of £307.39. With a healthy bank balance there is no need to
raise the subscriptions so a full subscription remains at £7. Bessie Chapman our only Associate member is
given life time membership in recognition of the fact that she has been a member for 81 years, ever since
she was 15!
Nora suggested that we use some of the funds on specific projects which could include promoting the
Maurice Whitta had previously suggested we might look into installing bat boxes under the bridge at
Lakeside and possibly planting around the lake to provide spaces for nesting birds. This is a suggestion we
need to come back to.
Pip Seccombe gave an update on the health of our oldest member, Bessie Chapman, who had a fall after
xmas after a light stroke. She is recovering well and has had plenty of of visitors.
Pip reported plenty of fritillaries flowering at Owston Meadows in 2017. However she felt that the management
of the site wasn’t very good in that the fields hadn’t been mown and sheep had been introduced .
They were responsible for encroachment of vegetation. She reminded the membership that since she isn’t
able to go out on meetings as often as in previous years she is dependant on records sent to her by
others. Thanks were given to Glenys Wall for the posters which she had produced to publicise meetings.
They are displayed at the Museum, the library and the Tourist Centre.
Election of Officers
The President, Louise Hill indicated that she should step down because she has held the position for many
years. However, in the absence of anyone willing to stand for election, she agreed to remain. All the
committee members agreed to stand again and they were re-elected en bloc.
Any Other Business
Gill Johnson told the group about a theatre performance by David Bramwell at Cast on March 16th entitled
“Dead Flows the Don” of Sheffield University. It its a monologue combining music, art and origins film about
the course of the River Don from its source in the Pennines downstream to Doncaster
Mick Townsend informed us that he is writing an article about Thorpe Marsh to be published in Barnby Dun
Field Reports were recorded.
The meeting ended at 12.08pm
Additional information: As of Feb 28th there are still some tickets left for the performance at Cast. Tickets
are £12 and the performance starts at 7.45 pm.
For more info on the proposed Museum , Library and Archives Amalgamation see article online from Doncaster
Free Press or go to the meeting on March 16th at the Museum.