As anticipated, there were widespread Committee changes at the AGM in January. After a year as Chairman, Ian Hamer resigned to concentrate on his bees and wasps studies, and the position remained temporarily vacant until Mike Crumbie stepped in in January. Over the past year Mike has taken an increasing interest in ENHG affairs, including revitalising the Newsletter. His enthusiasm for conservation matters, and concern with the need to extend the Group's aims to a wider audience is certain to be reflected in a more outward-looking ENHG this year. Our thanks go to Ian for holding the helm in a difficult year during which his task was not made easier by frequent committee changes and the departure of some Group stalwarts.
By now all members will be aware that H.E.Shaikh Nahayyan bin Mubarak al Nahayyan has agreed to become the Group's patron. A delegation comprising the Chairman and three comm.ittee members formally visited H.E.Shaikh Nayayyan on 12 February to present the Group's aims and aspirations. H.E.Shaikh Nahayyan showed keen interest in specific conservation measures, particularly the flamingo populations around Abu Dhabi, and in the need to educate people in the UAE about their natural history heritage. In this respect he is eager to see the natural history section established at the old fort in Abu Dhabi; and in his capacity as Chancellor of Al Ain University to promote relations between the Science Faculty and the ENHG, particularly in the field of botany. With H.E.Shaikh Nahayyan's personal interest in the Group's welfare, we can look forward to an expanding role in which our records and knowledge can be put to more effective use.
By the time you receive this issue, the new workroom should be ready for use. Located on the Mezzanine floor of the same Federal Building as before, the new room is incomparably better furnished and will be much more widely used. Once again, we are extremely grateful to ADMA-OPCO for providing these premises where a permanent display of ENHG interests can be seen.
This Spring sees a new project underway by the plant recorder to collect and identify exotics introduced into Abu Dhabi as part of the municipality's beautification programme. Permission has been obtained to collect and photograph, and it is intended that these records will supplement the herbarium and our knowledge of plants in the UAE, and not just the native plant community.
A major article by the new Chairman, beginning on page 10, deals with his observations of birds in the mangroves to the east of Abu Dhabi Island a year ago. His meticulously-kept records give evidence of breeding hitherto only suspected for certain species, and are extremely important in documenting the case for a conservation area in the town. The aim of the ENHG is first and foremost to record the present status of wildlife in the UAE and the Bulletin will continue to be the vehicle whereby such records can be published. It is up to you, the members, to pursue your own areas of interest with this aim in mind, and so leave a permanent document before we, in due course, depart.