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                                                                            Newsletter - Autumn 2017

September has now arrived, with the prospect of golden Autumnal colours in Hagg Wood from its many mature beech trees, and indeed from the many fungi hidden in its undergrowth. The first event of our Autumn programme detailed overleaf is a Fungal Foray on Friday 29th September led by Malcolm Greaves, the Recorder of the Mid-Yorkshire Fungal Group. Our second outdoor event is a visit on Saturday 14th October to Howsham Mill, a restored unique building beside the River Derwent near Howsham Wood that is now an education centre and generator of renewable water-powered energy. Our first indoor event, on 22nd November, is an illustrated presentation by Dr Geoff Oxford on the life of the hazel (or common) dormouse from a Yorkshire perspective, with our Annual New Year Lunch on Sunday 7th January. We also have a full programme of Conservation Working Parties, with full details of all these activities shown on our Events Programme , so join us when you can.

The Forestry Commission have now installed a replacement bench in the wood following its generous donation to them by Mrs Pam Frankland, whose family knew Ron Bielby well, and for whose memory the original bench in the centre of the wood was installed. The new location in the hard area at the end of the stone track is more accessible for those wanting a shorter walk, and hopefully will be in a more secure position than the original bench. Grateful thanks go to Mrs Frankland for all who want to enjoy a quiet rest in the peaceful surroundings of the wood.

We have recently established contact with an organisation in the United States that has several parallels to our own, and whose website is simply compared to our own . This is the Friends of Herrontown Woods, which “when all other much larger organizations and institutions decided to put their priorities elsewhere – stepped up to clear overgrown trails on 210 acres of public open space at Herrontown Woods and Autumn Hill Reservation. One could say that we succeeded in part because we are a small organization focussed on one corridor of open space”. Herrontown Woods is itself nearly 100 acres of forest near Princeton, New Jersey which was donated to the local Mercer County by Professor Oswald Veblen, an internationally famous mathematician at nearby Princeton University and nephew of the famous economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen, and by his wife Elizabeth, who was born in York, England and who died in 1974. On the edge of the wood on “a lovely woodland site” is Veblen House where they lived. It was often visited by many of their friends, including the world-renowed physicist Albert Einstein, who was also a Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, and who frequently walked in the surrounding countryside. FOHW’s long-running campaign to prevent the demolition of Veblen House has now proved successful, with their announcement on 7th August 2017 that agreement has been reached with Mercer County and the town of Princeton to save venblen House and the adjacent Cottage. FOHW now have “the opportunity to repair and utilize them for a public purpose...FOHW is thrilled that we will now be allowed to take the next step, and begin realizing the Veblens’ vision for the buildings. Princeton gave our group permission to restore the trails and habitats over the past four years, and we have long wanted to apply the same restorative energy to the buildings as well. The Veblens loved nature, and loved bringing people together. They donated the house and cottage to serve as a gathering place along what has become a magnificent corridor of preserved open space in eastern Princeton”. Great oaks from small acorns can grow!

Please e-mail our membership secretary on or give Elaine a call on York 481520 if you have not yet renewed your subscription for 2017-18.


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