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Society for the History of Natural History

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Message from SHNH President November 2010

Message from SHNH President November 2010

Council met recently (28 October) and there are a number of things to report.  I am delighted to announce that Council has nominated our distinguished patron, Sir David Attenborough, for the Society’s Founders’ Medal.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library, represented by Tom Garnett, has been awarded the John Thackray Medal. Twelve major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions have joined to form the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The participating libraries have over two million volumes of biodiversity literature collected over 200 years to support the work of scientists, researchers, and students in their home institutions and throughout the world.

Members have already been alerted to the fact that the winner of the 2010 W. T. Stearn Student Essay Prize is Nils Petter Hellström, who has recently completed his M.Phil. in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. His essay, entitled ‘The tree as evolutionary icon: Tania Kovats’s TREE in the Natural History Museum’, was praised by the judges as fascinating and innovative, and a revised, illustrated version of it will be published in Archives of natural history volume 38 in 2011.  I would like to invite students out there to be thinking now about submitting for next year’s competition.

Our long-serving Newsletter Editor, Julia Bruce, who has held that particular fort with distinction for the past 15 years, has indicated that she wishes to step down from the editorship after next year’s AGM in Chester.  So, we are actively looking for a replacement.  If you are a member of SHNH and think you’d be interested then please do get in touch.  Council has long nurtured the desire to achieve a full-colour Newsletter and, since the next issue is number 100, and as a gesture of thanks to Julia, we are going for it (in that issue at least).  We shall see how costs pan out before committing to this decision irrevocably.  However, Julia is looking for copy for that milestone issue.  She would like any reminiscences that members might think would interest others to make that a special Society nostalgia issue. 

I am very much looking forward, as I hope you all are, to next year being the Society’s Diamond Jubilee year (1936-2011).  We shall be celebrating our 75th anniversary in a variety of ways (watch the Newsletter and website); a full colour Newsletter will be a most appropriate way to kick-off the celebrations. Our 75th Anniversary Meeting will be ‘From Royal Gifts to Biodiversity Conservation: The History and Development of Menageries, Zoos and Aquariums, Thursday 19th and Friday 20th May 2011, Chester Zoo, UK.

Geoff Moore


November 2011