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by John Farquhar

This is the sixth editorial that I have written for the Society’s Review, and when I look back over the previous ones I find that 1 have alternated pleas for contributions with requests for volunteers to take on recorder’s duties. I will not do either this time - instead I will follow the prevailing trend among my more distinguished fellow-editors and look forward to the next millennium. I think that we as naturalists might look forward with some hope, since in the last few years of the 1990s there has not only been increasing concern about the natural environment, both locally and globally, but encouraging signs of action. In his remarks to our Annual General Meeting the outgoing Chairman, Michael Thompson, mentioned the disappointments which he had encountered when trying to prevent the removal of hedges - the legislation is drawn up in such a way that few of our hedges qualify for retention. But at least legislation was brought in, and we are promised a more effective set of rules very soon. There are signs, too, that financial support for farmers will increasingly be directed towards safeguarding wildlife habitats. And this year’s cover reflects one of the ways in which wild mammals are being helped - the Mammal Society is re-introducing dormice into Ryedale’s woodlands.

Previous reviews have noted Michael Thompson’s surveys of hares and bats, and Gordon Woodroffe’s work on otters. Jim Pewtress continues to be involved with ringing birds, and Don Smith with lichens in churchyards. Nan Sykes goes on with her botanical work in the National Park, which, incidentally, has just issued a draft of its new Plan, which will control development over the next ten years. I have been actively involved in a critical review, and can say that it pays great attention to the protection of wildlife habitats.

So I believe that I can wish every reader a happy and prosperous new millennium, confident that it will bring a better future for nature too, and that the Society will continue to play an active part in its conservation.

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