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Society for the History of Natural History

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SHNH Virtual AGM 2020, 26 June 2020, 2pm: Message from the President

SHNH Virtual AGM 2020, 26 June 2020, 2pm: Message from the President

Message from SHNH President Professor Peter Davis

Annual General Meeting 2020, 26 June 2020, 2.00pm

You will all be aware of the seriousness of the Coronavirus outbreak and the impact this is having, and may continue to have, on all our lives. Society’s Council has thought carefully about how we should react to the spread of the virus and as a first step we cancelled meeting in person for the April Meeting of Council to avoid unnecessary travel and personal contacts.  A more difficult decision concerned our Annual Conference and AGM, planned for Cambridge in June. Aware that the outbreak and the restrictions it imposes were likely to continue for some time we took the decision to cancel the conference. This was especially disappointing as the response to the theme “Pioneering Naturalists: Champions of Conservation and Environmental Engagement” had been excellent. We will carry that theme, and Cambridge as the location, forward to a suitable date in 2021. However, our obligations to the Charity Commission are such that it is imperative that we hold an Annual General Meeting this year.

The April Council meeting was held very successfully on the online video conferencing platform of Zoom, which you may have read about or already used.  Council therefore agreed that we should hold a ‘Digital AGM’. This is unfamiliar territory for many of us, but I am very grateful to the small team of people who are helping to deliver this initiative, and I look forward to seeing you all in the virtual environment on 26th June.

The Agenda for the AGM, and all the supporting documents, are available on the Society’s website. I recognise that there are problems in holding a virtual meeting for many of you, especially those of you with poor internet connectivity or those furloughed or unable to get into work. I can only apologise if you find this meeting difficult to attend, or the documents impossible to access, but I know you will all recognise the problems we are currently facing.

You will have seen in the Newsletter that work on developing our strategic options continue; we are currently reconsidering the structure of Council and the rules governing our awards.

SHNH Newsletter 117 March 2020

Consequently, we will not be awarding any awards at this year’s AGM, indeed in the current situation it would have been impossible for any winners to attend to receive their medals/awards.

Although we are currently living through extraordinary times, the Society continues to function as effectively as possible. The Newsletter and Issue 47.1 of Archives of Natural History should have

arrived with you, (or be waiting in your workplace if you use your work address) and are also available online. For those of you familiar with Twitter and Facebook you will have seen we still have a strong presence. It is good to have these anchors of normality at this time, demonstrating the vitality and resilience of the Society.

I wish you all well, and trust that in 2021 we will hold our Annual General Meeting in Cambridge in a social setting. I look forward to meeting you in person then.

Professor Peter Davis

President, Society for the History of Natural History| @SHNHSocNatHist