Pict: River Chelmer Valley, Broomfield, Chelmsford, Essex & freshwater sampling.
Welcome to the BNA Essex Branch News
See REPORTS for summaries of past Branch Activities, & EVENTS for forthcoming Branch Activities
The Roger Tabor award is presented to a person who has achieved recognition as an Associate Member of the BNA (ABNA) & is continuing to develop their skills as a naturalist.
Government Lockdowns meant Essex BNA member Sara Biggins, who was the first recipient of this national BNA award in 2020, had to wait until 2021 to receive it. It was presented to her by our President in June 2021.
Sadly, Professor David Bellamy OBE HonFBNA, our former President died on 11th December 2019 aged 86. David had been associated with BNA since he chaired the Association’s 75th Anniversary conference in 1980. He was President of BNA from 1995.
BNA Essex & its members again took part in the BNA National Conference 2019 which was held on Saturday 11th May at Forest School, Snaresbrook, in the southern part of Epping Forest. The morning consisted of a number of field activities taking place in the Forest, & you had the opportunity to take part in as many as you want to fit in! From pond-dipping to spider spotting there was be a great range of hands on activities. There was lunch in the Great Hall, then talks by eminent well-known natural history experts after lunch in the lecture theatre. These included marine biologist Dr Tom Cameron HonFBNA of Essex University. It was, as always a fantastic day!
(Pictures of Essex BNA Grade members officially recognised on 11th May 2019: Dr Cameron HonFBNA with Dr Alice Lown FBNA; then Tricia Moxey FBNA [with President Roger Tabor]; then Fiona Hutchings MBNA).
In 2018 following David Bellamy stepping back from being the national BNA President after many years, biologist, naturalist, broadcaster & author Roger Tabor become BNA President, (he is also our Branch President). Roger lives in Essex & was BNA Chairman for 20 years.
During David Bellamy’s time as President he visited Essex a number of times for BNA events, including chairing the national BNA centennial conference held at Cressing Temple Barns & Braintree in 2005. David was the star of the BNA’s “Bellamy at Brightlingsea” weekend on the Essex Sunshine Coast in the NE of the county, which involved naturalists from many parts of the country & well attended by the public. The BNA’s national conferences have been held at Forest School in the southern section of Epping Forest since 2007, & David took part as President in most of those.
BNA Essex is represented on BNA Council, by Trustee & BNA Fellow Dr Chris Gibson.
We had a very long hot summer across the county which has been enjoyable, but concerning as climate change is a very serious concern. The Met Office declared the summer of 2018 the joint hottest on record (along with 1976,2003 & 2006).
One noticeable longer-term planned reaction to Global Warming in Essex has been the construction of the greatly increased capacity Abberton Reservoir (its the 4th largest in England now capable of holding 41Bn litres). It was opened in 2015 by Sir David Attenborough (who is a BNA Hon Fellow). It has gained a greater amount of shallow edges improving the already nationally important site for the over 20,000 waterfowl that overwinter there. The edges over the 3 years since it opened have mellowed & the visitor centre has great panoramic views.
BNA Essex member & BNA Fellow Dr Tim Gardiner had with his colleague Kimberley Fareaud, an article “Keeping Sea Walls Buzzing” about the insect life on Essex seawalls published in the BNA’s journal/magazine “Country-side”. Tim’s book published by the BNA “Glowing, Glowing Gone; the Plight of the Glow-worm in Essex” is still available from the BNA website bookshop. Tim’s newest children’s book with a natural history theme is “Pin Mill Pirates” printed in November 2018.
COUNTRYFILE’s First Presenters: 24th July 2018 saw the 30th anniversary of the first programme of the very popular BBC series “Countryfile” in which our President Roger Tabor was one of the presenters, as he with Chris Baines another BNA Hon Fellow, were “the Green Team”, fronting the series with 3 other presenters (Picture: Radio Times).
Something to watch out for, in addition to the red squirrels now back on Mersea Island, beavers are back in Essex after an absence of 400 years, at Spains Hall Estate, Finchingfield.