THE Wharfedale Naturalists Society (WNS) is a thriving local organisation which has just launched its Summer Programme for 2019. Starting in mid-April through to July, the programme features 25 walks/surveys/trips covering general natural history and specialist topics such as botany and birds.

All these events will have members attending with some natural history expertise which they will be happy to share. Visitors are welcome for a small charge.

Each year the society’s official recorders produce an annual review which details sightings in the previous year supplemented by a variety of articles of natural history interest. Members come from a great variety of backgrounds - a number of them are knowledgeable in their field whilst others are novices who are happy to just come along and learn!

The society’s president, Peter Riley, believes that the need for societies such as WNS has never been greater as wildlife declines become ever more evident mainly due to factors such as agricultural intensification and the associated use of chemicals, climate change and the demands of an increasing population. Peter said: “This is a significant motivation for WNS to try to continue to thrive and expand to ensure not only that we observe and report on these changes but also so that we can undertake practical work in Wharfedale to try to make a change for the better. With this in mind, WNS is actively involved in five local nature reserves and provide financial support for nature conservation projects throughout Wharfedale. The society prides itself on its determination to make a difference wherever it is involved given that nature needs help like never before!”

Annual membership is just £12,50 and this gives the opportunity to participate in over 50 free events throughout the year. The winter programme is based on indoor meetings at Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley. These meetings cover a variety of natural history topics in an effort to engage with all members’ interests through the season.

Of particular interest this year will be a return visit from the TV presenter and entomologist Dr George McGavin who made a tremendous impact with a lecture in October 2018. He will be back on October 8th to talk about ‘What Have Insects Ever Done For Us?’ and members will of course be given priority.

New members are vital to the society so, if you think you may be interested, visit the Wharfedale Naturalists website - - or give the president, Peter Riley, a ring on 01943 862916.