A SOCIETY set up in 1945 to watch over wildlife in Wharfedale has unveiled its programme of events for the next season.

One of the best-supported wholly voluntary natural history societies in the country, Wharfedale Naturalists Society runs an extensive wildlife programme through the year, including some 50 free events for members.

The Society is keen at all times to raise awareness of the wildlife on our doorstep not least because of the well-documented biodiversity crisis that is now happening on a worldwide basis and from which Wharfedale wildlife is not immune.

It currently has about 500 members, and is keen to to weigh in if it comes across local issues where the society feels the case for wildlife is not being given the case it deserves.

The Society is involved in the running of four nature reserves in Wharfedale – three around the Ilkley and Otley area, plus the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Reserve at Grass Wood, North Yorkshire.

A number of Society members are volunteers on these reserves.

Wharfedale Naturalists also has Recorder, who collate records of species seen in the area, and documented in an annual report.

The Society's Winter Programme will open on Tuesday September 9, with a presentation by the resident biologist at Malham Tarn entitled ‘The Changing Nature of a Dales Estate’.

This will take place at Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley, starting at 7.30pm.

The season will see13 indoor meetings with a mix of internal and external speakers. The Programme includes three presentations on the Yorkshire Dales, specialist natural history topics such as moths and owls, and foreign wildlife holidays.

There are also microscope evenings, bird outings and several special events including a coach outing, a fungus foray and a winter walk.

The Society has many members keen to share their extensive natural history knowledge with a wider audience, and new members do not need any prior natural history knowledge.

President, Peter Riley, said: "We always aim to educate, inform and entertain at all our events and new members will be made to feel welcome."

Because of fundraising and healthy membership levels over the years, the Society has also been able to provide a modest level of financial support to a variety of wildlife projects in Wharfedale - and aims continue with this.

Annual membership of the Society is £12.50, or visitors can attend meetings as a visitor for £2.50, which counts towards membership if they join on the night.

Contact Mr Riley on (01943) 862916 for more information.