Norfolk’s countryside and wildlife have changed drastically since the Victorian era. Woodland, wetland, meadows, heathland and hedgerows have disappeared and with them have gone birds, mammals, plants, and insects. As habitats have changed, other species have moved in and some species that vanished because of persecution or pollution have returned.
These changes have seldom been dramatic. They have often been slow, almost imperceptible. For a century and a half, members of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society have been keeping invaluable records.
The Society is the county’s oldest natural history organisation, founded in 1869. Ever since, its members have been studying and publishing information about the state of Norfolk’s wildlife in the Society’s “Transactions“, an annual collection of reports. “The Norfolk Bird Report” – later to become the “Bird and Mammal Report” – made its debut in 1954. Many other publications have been made available over the years.
These records enable the Society to play an important role in helping to protect Norfolk’s wildlife by making authoritative scientific information available to those responsible for our environment. This process continues.
Thanks to the generosity of the Society’s Millennium year president, Mr Tim Peet, valuable contributions to the costs of the Society’s publications continue to be made by The Sarnia Trust.
You can play a valuable part in the recording process by contributing records of your own observations or supporting this work by joining the Society. You do not need to be an expert. An interest in the natural world is enough, and you can foster and develop that interest by taking part in our programme of meetings and field trips.
Among the Society’s members are eminent experts in a variety of fields but the newcomer need not be deterred or overawed. It is one of the great strengths of the Society that these experts are more than willing to share their knowledge with those who seek to learn.
Each year, a distinguished naturalist is invited to be president of the Society, and this year it is NWT Wildlife Ambassador Nick Acheson.
Among recent presidents have been Professor David Bellamy, the conservationist Lord Walpole of Wolterton, the Flora Britannica author Richard Mabey, the Birds Britannica author Mark Cocker, the Norfolk naturalist Bob Ellis and the natural history author and correspondent Patrick Barkham – to name but a few. Here is a long list…