Yorkshire Annual General Meeting and Members Day

Around 70 members and guests were welcomed to the Members Day and Annual General Meeting held at the Yorkshire Air Museum on 7th October 2012 by the branch Chairman, David Baker.

The first speaker of the day was Dave Wainwright who gave an update on conservation initiatives taking place in the county and in particular, the work undertaken to conserve Duke of Burgundy and Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Dave explained the reasons for decline of these species and the conservation objectives set out including management of existing sites, grasslands and woodlands in a way favourable to the butterflies. Grants of more than £200,000 have been received to promote this work and ensure that the project continues over five years. Dave gave his thanks to all the volunteers who had helped with practical conservation work and to the Yorkshire Branch for financial support offered.

Dr.Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation's Surveys Manager gave his first ever talk in a nissen hut during which he spoke about the state of British butterflies. He outlined two monitoring schemes the Butterflies for the new Millennium which was primarily concerned with species distribution and the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (including transects) which was concerned with numbers of butterflies. Both projects gave valuable information from which the state of our butterflies could be assessed. In the 10 years since the UKBAP was established, there have been winners and losers in the butterfly world with some species thriving, some holding their own and others in decline. Information obtained from monitoring and recording suggests that targeted schemes for conservation may prove more beneficial than more generalised schemes promoting biodiversity. Richard said that nothing would be possible without the volunteers who undertook monitoring and recorded their sightings and thanked everyone who had taken part.

During the lunch break there was an opportunity to judge the fantastic entries in this year's photographic competition. Many people said they found it very hard to select their favourites. There was a chance to buy books or the the branch calendar for 2013. There was also time to chat to fellow enthusiasts and to the speakers.

At the AGM the Chairman, David Baker gave his report on branch activity during 2012 and a brief overview of the year so far. The future of the branch was in danger should no new volunteers for the committee come forward. This is of particular concern as several prominent committee members plan to retire next year. Roy Bedford retired after 20 years service to the branch but will continue to act as VC63 recorder until a replacement can be found. Roy was thanked for his service and dedication to Butterfly Conservation and to the branch in particular. Election of branch officers, committee members and auditor took place. New committee members elected were Allan Rodda, Jackie Holder and Rachel Pateman.

The raffle was held and the winners of the photographic competition announced. Dave Wainwright kindly agreed to present the prizes which were donated by Lee and Jax Westmoreland and Susan Stead. The winners and their photographs can be seen below. The final talk of the day was given by Lawrie King who gave his tips for better butterfly photography, illustrated with many of his own photographs. Overall a very succesful day with more than £200 raised for branch funds.