On the 11 May 1963, the University of Nottingham hosted the inaugural meeting of the Nottinghamshire Trust for Nature Conservation – now the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Earlier this week, to mark the 60th anniversary of the charity, the University of Nottingham hosted a reception for modern-day representatives of the groups and organisations that contributed to the Trust’s formation committee.
This included members from The University of Nottingham, the Rural Community Council, Nottingham Field Club, Trent Valley Bird Watchers, the Nottingham Natural History Museum, the National Trust, the Trent River Board and Basford Rural District Council.
The Formation Committee met several times during the latter part of 1962 and early 1963 and agreed on the format, composition, objectives, and membership of the Trust Council.
60 years on, those early partners were represented by guests including The Lord Mayor of Nottingham, The Mayor of Rushcliffe, the Deputy Mayor of Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers and Severn Trent Water plus Norman Lewis MBE – the Trust’s first-ever staff member, who knew and worked with many of its founding members.
To mark the university’s support for the Trust’s inaugural meeting the reception was hosted by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof. for Global Engagement Robert Mokaya OBE. The Pro Vice-Chancellor highlighted the significant decline in habitat and species globally over the past 60 years and underlined the university’s commitment to enhancing the biodiversity of its campuses and its membership of the Nature Positive Universities initiative.
Speaking at the meeting, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Vice Chair Martin Willis said:
“To those contributing to our formation committee protecting wild plants and animals was vitally important and the consequences of misusing the natural environment unavoidable.
“For them Conservation was concerned with the preservation of the variety of natural life, providing centres of diversity which were a source of interest, recreation, and enjoyment.
“Over the years since, we have created a network of nature reserves, some are of national importance, which act as reservoirs enabling a Wilder Nottinghamshire.
“Our work stretches well beyond the boundaries of these reserves as we seek to ensure that 30% of the county’s land and rivers are in recovery for nature.
“We are also acutely aware that in addition to protecting wildlife for its own sake – the role of nature in supporting health and wellbeing means that we must ensure more equitable access to nature across communities and involve those communities in reaching that goal.
“We have therefore set out an ambition to build a movement for nature, to inspire and support 1-in-4 people taking action at home, at work, at school and in their communities – a people-powered nature recovery.”
During its anniversary year, a key focus for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust will be cementing key partnerships and securing the additional resources required to ensure that the charity is well-placed for the challenges of the next 60 years.
“Looking back on those early days of the Trust it is reassuring that when seeking to address the issues of habitat loss the instinct of our predecessors was to reach out to partner organisations for support.
“In 2023, as we urgently face up to the ecological and climate crises, the scale of the challenge is greater than ever before.
“This challenge can be met, but only through such collaboration and partnership. We are delighted that representatives of many of our early collaborators and their successor organisations have been able to join us today as we mark six decades of local action for nature and as our board of Trustees and Senior staff gather to plot a course for future success.”