AT the beginning of October Wharfedale Naturalists (WNS) reached its 75th Anniversary.

This was celebrated by a major article in this newspaper that highlighted the origins of the Society’s beginnings at the end of the Second World War, its ongoing development and its current status, namely a thriving local history group with some 470 members who are committed to recording and conserving Wharfedale wildlife.

Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, a number of initiatives planned to celebrate the anniversary had to be put on hold – these included Christchurch talks by the inspirational Rachael Bice, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, and the world-renowned entomologist and ardent conservationist George McGavin.

It is hoped the Society may be able to hold these events later in 2021.

Given this setback the Society were keen to maintain some semblance of normality and has therefore organised webinar talks and the circulation of Nature Notes to members as featured in local newspapers every week.

It is these Nature Notes that form the basis for an initiative that was able to proceed, namely the production of a ‘Nature Notes Booklet’ featuring all 52 articles featured in 2019 in the Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale Observer - as an aside it should be noted that the Craven Herald now includes this weekly feature but this was not the case in 2019.

This Booklet has been produced in an A5 format to a very attractive professional standard.

Every article is written by just four WNS members who are steeped in natural history and keen to convey their enthusiasm for wildlife to fellow members, and the wider general public, through the medium of the local newspapers.

The majority of the articles relate to local wildlife insights but also include experiences from wider afield.

They all act as a testament to the wonders of nature and are therefore effectively an eloquent statement of the urgent need to preserve and turn the tide for our beleaguered wildlife in all its forms.

These booklets are now selling to the general public, for just £3, through local outlets namely The Grove Bookshop in Ilkley, The Bookshop on the Square in Otley and the Stripey Badger in Grassington.

They are a lovely record to dip into at any time and would also make an excellent stocking filler for Christmas.

WNS is unusual among natural history societies in that it has a thriving and growing membership who share its core values including the conservation of our local wildlife.

The Membership Fee is modest, at £12-50 (just £1 for children), but this generates a healthy surplus which is mainly used to support local conservation efforts as a contribution to trying to stem the decline in biodiversity which is now so well documented.

In addition, in normal circumstances, the Society runs some 50 indoor and outdoor events and is actively involved in the running of 5 Nature Reserves in Wharfedale.

As mentioned above, this winter the Society is running a series of webinars for members given that indoor meetings are not possible in the pandemic.

In light of the above why not consider joining WNS by visiting our website at or, if you would like more information, just ring the President, Peter Riley, on (01943) 862916.