Recent natural history news for Hertfordshire is published here. If you have a noteworthy story, ideally with a photograph, please contact David Utting to have it added to this webpage.

Woodland Trust and BTO honour HNHS members

(c) Judith Parry / WTML

Congratulations to HNHS member Andrew Steele on winning the Woodland Trust's national Acorn Award – and to former Herts Bird Club Chair Ken Smith on being awarded the British Trust for Ornithology's prestigious Tucker Medal.

The Woodland Trust award recognises Andrew's work recording butterflies at Heartwood Forest, where he walks a fixed monitoring route every week from April to the end of September. The BTO's Tucker Medal is awarded for outstanding service to the Trust.

John Catt 1939 - 2017

With great sadness we have learned of the death of the eminent Hertfordshire geologist John Catt, aged 78.

John worked on soil research at Rothamsted Research and was an Honorary Professor of Geography at University College London. He was county recorder for geology for many years until 2016. Importantly, he was also the contributing editor of our critically acclaimed book Hertfordshire Geology and Landscape.

'Tewin Orchard and a Life of Badgers'

Michael Clark, giving the 2017 Gerald Salisbury Memorial Lecture, provided a fascinating overview of his commitment –  spread across half a century – to badger conservation and preserving traditional varieties of apple.

Speaking to around 80 members of the HNHS and Welwyn Natural History Society on 22 November, he looked back to a time when badgers lacked legal protection and the authorities showed little interest in preventing illegal trapping and gassing.

Autumn Meeting hears about the conservation value of grazing animals

Legacy Grazing Project Red Poll cattle

More than 75 HNHS members and their friends attended the Society's Autumn Meeting and AGM on Saturday 4 November  at the Affinity Water offices in Hatfield.

One theme to emerge from a series of well-received presentations was the value – in both conservation and money-saving terms – of grazing animals used to restore and maintain sensitive habitats in nature reserves. 

John Scivyer 1928 - 2017

John Scivyer

We are sad to report the death of former HNHS Secretary John Scivyer, who died peacefully at home on 26 September aged 88, after a long battle with renal failure.

John is remembered as a kind, generous supporter of the Society's work and – with his wife Doreen – a regular attender at meetings until they moved from their home in Potters Bar to Rugby in 2014. He was Hon. Secretary of the HNHS from 1991 to 1999 and also volunteer warden of the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust's nature reserve at Fir and Pond Wood for many years.

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