Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Naturalist - Dr. Mary Gillham

Last weekend saw the South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre (SEWBReC) celebrate 10 years of collating the records of an army of dedicated volunteer recorders, at a jamboree in Tonypandy. Amongst an inspiring programme of speakers that included talks about the Silurian moth and colliery spoil (yippee!) was a tribute to the celebrated Cardiff naturalist Dr. Mary Gillham.

On arrival I was thrilled to find that some of Mary's extensive library was on sale to attendees for just an appropriate donation. I was therefore pleased to be able to pick up a little slice of the social history of the study of nature in south Wales including the book Swansea Bay's Green Mantle: Wildlife on an Industrial Coast (1982) which was a signed copy.

I was only able to meet Mary on one occasion, when at short notice Juilan Branscombe (former GWT Chief Executive) asked if I could take a party from Cardiff Naturalists' Society around Magor Marsh. My overriding memory of the walk was Mary's ability to identify a couple of stoneworts not just by their English names but Latin as well. The talk on Saturday was a fitting tribute to the life one of Wales' great modern day naturalists. 

Footnote:- whilst browsing the Healthy Planet bookshop in Pontypool during my lunchtime earlier this week it was something of a coincidence to find a copy of one of Mary's early books Sub-Antarctic Sanctuary (1967), thereby adding to my mini collection of Gillham books.

Should you want to know more about the life and times of Dr Mary Gillham visit the Cardiff Naturalists' Society website via the link on this blog.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve. I admit to only recently finding this posting, but would like to let you and your readers know that we (CNS) raised something over £2000 from the sale of Mary's Library and we were extremely happy that most of it went to people with a real interest in the topics and even more than that we are happy that the funds mean we can continue to fund the biosciences prize we give to the students of one of Mary's old universities (Cardiff) to encourage the next generation

    I can't remember if i spoke to you at the event, but I know that giving that short presentation on Mary was a great honour for me

    Andy Kendall
    Former CNS president and proud to call Mary a Friend


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