The remarkable 40-year contribution made by Linda and Ken Smith to natural history in Hertfordshire and its study was honoured at the HNHS Autumn Meeting when they received the Society's prestigious 1875 Awards for 2016.

Ken, who is a former chairman of the Bird Club and county bird recorder as well as co-author of the Hertfordshire Breeding Bird Atlas (1982), The Breeding Birds of Hertfordshire (1993) and Birds of Hertfordshire (2015), was recognised as 'an outstanding Hertfordshire naturalist'. Linda, who was editor of the Hertfordshire Bird Report before becoming HNHS membership secretary and secretary, received the award for 'an outstanding contribution to natural history in Hertfordshire'.

Presenting the engraved glass awards, HNHS Chair Agneta Burton (pictured left) praised Linda's central role in developing the Society's attractive and influential atlas publications accompanied by a transformation of its website.  She also cited Ken's study and conservation work on Tree Sparrows and woodpeckers in the county, and their joint contribution to the Heartwood Forest monitoring project. Ken and Linda moved earlier this year from Welwyn Garden City to a new home in West Sussex.

More than 70 HNHS members and guests attended the Autumn Meeting and Annual General Meeting on Saturday 8 October, kindly hosted by Affinity Water at their offices in Hatfield.

The programme included talks by Ian Carle on recording and monitoring at Panshanger Park, and an update from Linda Smith on the monitoring project at Heartwood. Chantal Helm summed up an encouraging year of progress training observers, active monitoring and record collecting for the Hertfordshire mammals, amphibians and reptiles atlas (MARA) project.

The meeting concluded with an entertaining account by Feargal Sharkey of 'The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of the Amwell Magna Fishery'. The former lead singer of 'The Undertones' in the 1970s and 1980s is an enthusiastic fly fisherman and archivist of the angling club, which was established on the River Lea in 1841. His presentation ranged from 14th century power struggles between clergy over the siting of water-mills, to recent efforts made to restore water flow and nurse the river back to ecological health.