In the 18th century those who studied the natural world tended to collect and examine dead specimens, such as birds and mice, as well as pinning butterflies in glass display cases. Not so Reverend Gilbert White (1720-1793): he studied wildlife living in its natural habitat. He was a “parson naturalist” – a trailblazer. As an ornithologist he pioneered bird censusing and advanced the idea of migration. Also a keen gardener, he noted what today we call the food chain. His famous book ‘The Natural History and Antiquities of Selbourne‘ was published in 1789 and has been in print ever since. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) was influenced by his writings. White’s style is not only scientific but has a warmth which reflects his great love of nature. He has been called ‘the first ecologist’. The OED claims he was the first to use an x to represent a kiss! He was very human. In 1768 he noted the link between air pollution in his Hampshire village and coal fires in London – a forewarning of what has come to pass. Other observers in 1859 and 1896 went on to establish the link between CO2 and global warming, which forty years ago became irrefutably clear. Since then vested interests have supported deniers, so today around the world greenhouse gasses are being pumped into the atmosphere at an alarming level. We can only imagine the consequences for which future generations will not thank us.
On 25th August our work party carried out the annual maintenance around the pond at Foxmead Court, much appreciated by the residents. We met on 3rd September at Riverside Walk, to clear overgrowth from the path between Love Lane and Fryern Dell.
For our next work party on 1st October at 10am we return to the SSSI at Hurston Warren (by the golf course) to carry out conservation of the heathland Do join us for this important work, share transport where possible. Coffee break plus chat time as usual. Gardening clothes suggested, other equipment provided.
An important date is 29th October, when we have our AGM: talk and tea in the Village Hall, starting at 2pm – guest speaker to be announced. All are welcome. For information about this and our other activities, or on becoming a member, (no subscription is required, donations welcome) please get in touch with Chairman Mick Denness on 01903 745971, or see our website: www.storringtonconservation.org.uk/.