An outstanding contributor to natural history in Hertfordshire

Alan Gardiner (right) receives his 1875 Award from Ken Smith at the 2019 Autumn Meeting

Alan Gardiner, our county bird recorder, has made substantial contributions to the Herts Bird Club, the parent HNHS and to bird conservation in Hertfordshire over the last 20 years. Ken and Linda Smith, who nominated him for the award for an outstanding contribution to natural history in Hertfordshire provided the following citation:

"Alan's main natural history interest is birds. In 1999 he was elected to the Herts Bird Club committee, serving on both the main and scientific committees.

"In 2001 he took on the role of compiling, editing and distributing the bi-monthly Bird Bulletin. In those pre website days paper copies of the bulletin, listing recent sightings, were posted out to members by snail mail.

"With the development of the original Herts Bird Club website and subsequently the HNHS/HBC website, Alan took the role of webmaster. He is the lead records moderator, checking the bird records submitted every day and approving them for display on the 'latest sightings' pages. Alan's technical expertise has made the most of the new opportunities offered by the internet to disseminate information and reach a wider audience.

"In this role he engages with bird watchers throughout the county and further afield helping and encouraging people to get the most out of submitting bird records both for their own satisfaction and to be the most value to the Bird Club and bird conservation in the county.

"Alan was elected to the HNHS Management Committee in 2005 and is still a member. He took on the role of County Bird Recorder in 2016, when Ken moved away from Hertfordshire.

"Conserving the Tree Sparrows at Coursers Farm and Tyttenhanger, the last remaining breeding colony in Hertfordshire, has been a Herts Bird Club project for 20 years. Alan has co-ordinated the regular feeding of the birds, which is essential for the survival of the colony. Since 2016 he has maintained the data-loggers which monitor the birds at the feeding stations all year round and in all weathers and downloads the data every two weeks. This is challenge where his practical and technical skills, developed during his career with British Gas, have been a great asset. Against all the odds the colony is still hanging on and numbers may even have increased this year."