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                                 NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2011

The 2010/2011 Committee
So that members can get in touch with the Committee, here are the names & telephone numbers of the 2010/2011 Committee, elected at the AGM held on 29th May 2010: President - David Edwards [2334463 (h), 2463001 ext. 1384 (o)]; Secretary - Ulmar Grafe [8830209 (hp)]; Treasurer - Abdi Negyal [2229067 (h)] ;Membership Secretary – Hjh Masnah Hj Mirassan [8855502 (hp)]; Librarian - Chak Wang Hoong [8900285 (hp)]; Committee Members - Joe Charles [2335538 (h), 2463001 ext. 1386(o)]; Hjh Kamariah Abu Salim [8710898 (hp)];  Peter Boyce [2410011 (h)]; Kushan Tennakoon [2240104 (h)]; Norma Jones [8953690 (hp)]; Juliana Chang [8912993 (hp)].

Forthcoming Events
September Meeting – Tuesday 6th September 2011 – The Forests of Brunei Darussalam: present status and future prospects, by Rahayu Sukri. 8.00 pm, room CLT 1.17, UBD.
Dr Rahayu Sukri obtained her M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen after graduating with a B.Sc. (Ed.) from Universiti Brunei Darussalam in 2002. Her doctorate focused on the floristics and species distribution of dipterocarp trees in Brunei Darussalam and she has continued this research since returning to join the Biology Department at UBD in 2009. She has also been building up her expertise through re-surveying some of the permanent plots which were set up by UBD in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and should be in an excellent position to review the state of Brunei’s forests at the present time. Rahayu has provided the following introduction to the talk:

Despite its small size, Brunei Darussalam supports an excellent mix of forest types due to variations in geology, topography and soils. Most of Brunei’s land area is forested, with c. 58% currently comprising intact primary forest. The talk will focus on the various forest ecosystems in Brunei, highlighting the species richness and the diversity of the flora and fauna within these unique forests.

September Outing – Saturday 17th September 2011 – Annual General Meeting & Dinner, Tarindak D’Seni Restaurant, 6.45pm
This year the BNS AGM will be held later than usual due to scheduling problems arising from the staggered school holidays, the timing of the fasting month and other problems. The AGM will be held at the Tarindak D’Seni Restaurant on the first floor of the Brunei Arts and Handicrafts Training Centre on Jalan Residency and will be followed by dinner. As usual, the Society will subsidise the dinner by B$10 per person, so participants will only have to pay B$12 each, rather than the full cost (B$22 per person). Details of the menu are not available at this time, but the Restaurant mainly serves Brunei-Malay food. We need a minimum of 40 people for the dinner and so that we can use the side-room for the Meeting, so as many members as possible should please come along (the subsidy will recoup half the cost of Family Membership and repay double that of the Student Membership, so it really is a bargain!). The AGM is open to all Members of the BNS, whether they joined for 2010/2011 or for 2011/2012.

The Agenda for the Annual General Meeting is as follows:

1.             Confirmation of the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 29th May 2010.
2.             Matters Arising from the Minutes of the 2010 Annual General Meeting.
                    (i)  Item 3 – Auditor’s Report on Statement of Accounts for 2009/2010.
                    (ii) Item 7 – Change of Signatories to the Society’s Bank Account.
3.             Consideration of the Treasurer's Report for 2010/2011.
4.             Consideration of the Committee's Report for 2010/2011.
5.             Election of New Officers and Committee members for 2011/2012.
6.             Appointment of Honorary Auditor for 2011/2012.
7.              Change of Signatories for BNS Bank Account.
8.            Any Other Business.
If anyone is willing to serve on the Committee, either as a Committee Member, or as an Office Bearer (the positions are listed at the top of the Newsletter), please let the Secretary know, preferably before the AGM.
October Meeting – Tuesday 11th October 2011 – The PNHS Teraja Survey and the conservation of the Teraja forests, by Hans Dols and others. 8.00 pm, room CLT 1.17, UBD.
In 2010 and 2011, the Panaga Natural History Society organized a survey of the Teraja area in southern Belait District, with the aim of providing information on the conservation value and ecotourism potential of the area. The survey showed that the area has particular value due to its high biodiversity, unique flora and fauna, and great ecotourism potential. The results of the survey were presented at a symposium in late July 2011, in support of plans to extend the long-term protection and the development of ecotourism in the Teraja area. Hans will present a summary of the report’s main findings and let us know what the future holds for this very important area of lowland and hill dipterocarp forest. 

Hans Dols is a Senior Geologist with Brunei Shell Petroleum Sdn Bhd; he has been heavily involved with the Panaga Natural History Society since coming to Brunei in 1995, and is currently Honorary Chairman of the PNHS. We can expect a well-illustrated and informative talk from Hans, who has been in the forefront of conservation efforts linked with Brunei-Shell for many years. Other participants of the survey may also contribute to the presentation – at the time of writing their participation cannot be confirmed.

Membership Renewals
Since we are now in a new financial year, it is time for members to pay their dues. If you have paid for 2010/2011, the membership number on the address label will start with “11” – if it starts with “10” then you should pay the Membership Secretary, Hjh Masnah Hj Mirassan, at the next Meeting on the 6th September 2011. Family Membership costs only B$20 per year while Student Membership (on an individual basis for students undertaking full-time education in Brunei Darussalam) is only B$5 per year.

E-Mail Addresses
Please make sure we have your current e-mail address on file – e-mail is used to inform members about BNS events, especially those organized at short notice. An e-mail giving a reminder about the September 2011 talk and the AGM should be sent out during the weekend of the 2-4 September 2011 – if you do not receive it, please send an e-mail to the BNS address (brunei_nature_society@hotmail.com) so that your details can be checked. Members working for the Brunei Government (including UBD) are advised to give a non-government address, as e-mails to government addresses are supposed to only deal with “official” matters.

Newsletters
No Newsletters were sent out last year (2010/2011) – since no-one has commented on their absence, it may be that the Newsletters have become obsolete in the new paperless society and members are content to receive information through e-mail, and through reference to the website at www.bruneinaturesociety.org. The one function that the Newsletters do have is to serve as a permanent record of Society activities, which are otherwise archived on the website (but I still have doubts about the permanence of electronic media as compared to paper!) but even this limitation is partially addressed through the annual Committee’s Reports which are presented at the AGMs (although early Committee’s reports were presented verbally rather than formally tabled). The possibility of formally discontinuing the Newsletters (rather than by a de facto decision) should perhaps be discussed at the forthcoming AGM.                      (David Edwards)

Lectures & Outings
It is sometimes difficult to arrange enough talks and outings, and the Committee would appreciate it if members could come forward if they can either offer a talk or lead an outing. You do not have to be a ‘natural history expert’ to do either – we have had some excellent talks on places to visit (using the photographs members took on their holidays augmented with maps and historical information) while the important feature about an outing is that it should be to somewhere interesting. Over the past year the number of outings has been severely limited, mainly as a result of several of the ‘prolific’ leaders leaving Brunei recently, so we urgently need more people to come forward and offer to take an outing or two. Please get in touch with any Committee member, if you wish to discuss the possibilities (without any commitment!).

   

   Boyce 2008