The Friends of Ilkley Moor (FOIM) annual general meeting (AGM) last Friday was well attended by over 40 members delighted to be able to meet face -to face given that the 2020 AGM had to be held remotely over Zoom.
The evening began with Peter Riley, President of Wharfedale Naturalists’ Society giving a talk on ‘Birds of the Washburn Valley as a barometer of environmental change’. In a lively and informative talk Peter took members through the impact of habitat change and its effects on birdlife. The changes come from many directions including the intensification of sheep grazing, the clearing of reservoir banks to facilitate fishing, the loss of wetland areas, hedge removal to facilitate winter crops growth and increased silica mining. Peter produced some stunning shots of birdlife whilst explaining that not all the consequences were logical. Given the decreased insect life why were Chiffchaff numbers up 150%? More logically Grey Partridge numbers are down 90% due to the loss of their meadow habitat to intensive farming.
In the formal business of the AGM, FOIM chair Owen Wells explained how pleased he was with the work of not one but two sets of volunteers now working with FOIM. The regular footpaths team who work with Bradford Countryside Service have been able to undertake a lot of work to restore the impact of the heavy use of the paths on Ilkley Moor during the Covid restrictions period. But during this period a group, now amounting to over 30 members, had picked up litter picking activities not only on the Moor but also in Ilkley generally. Their enthusiasm was an inspiration for all.
On large scale projects Owen was keen that now that the flood control and carbon management work at Backstone Beck has been completed that Bradford Council would be able to obtain funds to cover the extension of the bog at Crawshaw Moss and recreate the bog at Hebers Moss which would provide identical benefits.
The Treasurer reported that FOIM were luckily in the position of having very dedicated members which had allowed the charity to come through the Covid restriction period in a very positive fashion.
There were no new Committee members proposed (although new Committee members are more than welcome) and existing officers and committee members were elected for a further year.
Wine and refreshments were provided for the enjoyment of those attending.