As in previous years the ENHG has experienced a moderate turnover in members and recorders. We have lost a sizeable quota of expertise and, although new members have joined throughout the year, we have been unable to fill one or two noticeable gaps.
Dave Rowlands left the UAE, via Dubai, earlier this year, releasing his Archaeology portfolio to Henry Hogger and the long-vacant Mammals position to Carole Gosling. Liz Aston, who did so much to put the Group's Geology collection on a sound footing, left in April. Harry Aston has also been missed especially for his talks on environmental related topics. Don MacLean has taken over the Geology recorder's position. Jean Burn left the UAE in August after being the Group's secretary for three years. Jilly Burrows and Gulshan Hidir volunteered to carryon as joint secretaries.
The biggest loss came in November when Bish Brown departed. As one of the founder members, Bish has been responsible for guiding a large number of people into the natural sciences and has been involved in all the Group's activities since its inception in 1976. Bish will be missed as past Chairman, active committee member, butterfly and moth recorder as well as reptile recorder. These last two positions remain to be filled.
Membership in 1985 was higher than the previous year, totalling 117 (58 single and 59 family memberships of two or more people). The subscription has remained constant at DH 30 for single and DH 50 for family members, despite rising costs. We have members in Sharjah, Dubai, Al Ain and overseas.
Lecture meetings held on the first and third Mondays of the month numbered seventeen. Several meetings had to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances and/or public holidays. Workroom nights had to be cancelled from the beginning of the year due to the refurbishment of the ADMA-OPCO Federal Building. The loss of our workroom during renovations has had a detrimental effect on virtually all the recorders' activities as can be seen in the following reports. However, we have been informed that our new room will be available from early 1986 so we are hoping that the monthly workroom sessions and recorders' evenings may recommence shortly. All equipment and the library has been safely stored during this period. We have also added several new books to the collection.
Active discussions have been taking place in an attempt to establish a modest natural history museum in Abu Dhabi. Although still in its early stages this is now gaining momentum and it is hoped that in coming months the concept will become a reality. We continue to liaise with the Al Ain Group and newsletters and bulletins are exchanged on a regular basis. An attempt was made to establish an exchange of information/speakers with the Dubai Group but this did not materialise due to the nature of their association.
Rob Western has started an informal group on Das Island and we receive regular information on the status of wildlife on Das. Rob Western continues to edit the Bulletins and Nos. 25, 26 and 27 were issued in March, July and November respectively. Articles covered a large range of natural history topics by both members and non-members. Each Bulletin contained an article in Arabic and we would like to be able to expand the Arabic section in future issues.
The monthly Newsletter was despatched regularly despite the departure of the editor and typist in August. Mike Crumbie and Jilly Burrows volunteered to take over this task and their first publication was the November '85 issue.
There has been a small number of organised field trips. Bish Brown led two one-day trips to 'Site l' and along the Suweihan Road; Jean-Marie Hirtz led an enthusiastic group into the desert to study the night sky; and Mark Luce led a sea-shell collecting trip near Jebel Ali. Other 'private' trips have been undertaken by small groups which have provided some useful recordings.
The most important aspect as far as the Group's future is concerned was the recent agreement by Sheikh Nahayyan bin Mubarak (Chancellor of the University of Al Ain) to become the Group's Patron. It is anticipated that this will put the ENHG (Abu Dhabi) on a much stronger footing with a possibility of obtaining more 'official' backing and approval in the future.
I would now like to thank those who have been particularly involved in the Group's activities over the past twelve months. Firstly our speakers, without whom the Monday meetings would not be possible. (A complete list of 1985 meetings appears in this issue -Ed.) Secondly, the recorders, who will shortly present their reports. The recorders are an extremely necessary part of our activities and are responsible for the assimilation of information which may be extremely important in years to come. Thirdly, the members of the Committee: Jean Burn for her secretarial work and editing of the Newsletter until her departure; Dave Rowlands for his recording work and general committee duties; Rob Western for the very professional preparation and editing of the Bulletin; Bish Brown for all his efforts over the years; Terry Donohue for keeping the treasury in order; Mike Crumbie, Ursula Goddard and Sally Benge for their general committee duties and Jilly Burrows and Gulshan Hidir for taking over the secretarial work. Fourthly, I would like to thank especially all those non-committee members who have put so much time into the Group -- Di Donohue for organising membership lists, distributing newsletters and bulletins and corresponding with various postal membership applicants; my wife June, Trudi Bond and Carole Gosling for stalwart work on Monday evenings behind the tea counter; and Nick Benge for acting on our behalf in the discussions with Sheikh Nahayyan and also auditing the accounts. Lastly I would like to thank you, the members, for your support and encouragement over the past year.
I wish to end this report on a personal note by formally resigning as after three years, with one as Chairman, I believe that the time is right to do so. I will remain actively involved in the Group by retaining the Bees and Wasps portfolio and also establish a separate Marine Mammals section. I wish the incoming committee success in 1986 and hope they will continue to receive your full support.Ian Hamer