The British Dragonfly Society (BDS) was founded in 1983 by a small group of dragonfly enthusiasts and scientists. The Society has grown substantially since that time and the current BDS membership of about 1,500 is spread the length and breadth of the country, as well as into Europe and beyond. Once run entirely by volunteers, the BDS appointed its first paid employee, a Conservation Officer, in 2001 and the Society continues to go from strength to strength. A second member of staff was appointed in 2005 to deal with dragonfly data and recording initiatives.
Within the BDS there are two main inter-linked areas of interest, dragonfly recording and dragonfly conservation. The first of these consists of a dedicated group of individual enthusiasts each collecting and supplying records to a Dragonfly Recording Network of Vice County Recorders. The purpose of these records is not simply to document what is present, but also to inform the second main area of interest, that of dragonfly conservation.
Records help us to understand the value of a site and added notes about population size and breeding behaviour allow us to assess the importance of an area for species survival. Dragonflies are good indicators of the health of a habitat, so any variation in distribution or population size can indicate changes on a wider environmental scale.
In order to conserve dragonflies, their habitats and the other species groups associated with them, we need to know about the environment that supports this assemblage, but we also need to inform others about it. Education and training are important weapons in conservation. People need to appreciate something in order to want to preserve it, so providing information to an ever widening audience is an important job for the BDS.
An education pack for use with children, regular membership magazines and a scientific journal go some way to fulfilling this requirement. The BDS also runs a series of field visits and walks each year and various members provide talks and slide shows for any interested group. In addition the BDS attends various countryside events across Britain and co-operates with other organisations with regard to general conservation issues and planning matters.
BDS Patron - Sir David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough OM CH FRS, Britain's best-known natural history film-maker, became only the second BDS Patron in 2008, following on from Dame Miriam Rothschild who sadly died in 2005.
His career as a naturalist and broadcaster has spanned five decades and there are few places on the planet he hasn’t visited. It was the Zoo Quest series of the mid-1950s to 60s that gave him his first opportunity to undertake expeditions to remote parts of the world, capturing intimate footage of rare species in their natural habitats. Prior to this Sir David had attended Cambridge University, spent two years in the Royal Navy and undertaken his first job at the London publishing house of Hodder & Stoughton.
Sir David became Controller of BBC2 in 1965, then Director of Programmes for the BBC in 1969. He was responsible for bringing colour television to Britain, but in 1973 he decided to return to documentary-making and writing. He was soon standing knee-deep in bat droppings in a cave in Borneo; something he much preferred to administration work. Since that time he has brought many memorable series to our screens including ‘Life on Earth’, ‘The Living Planet’ and more recently ‘Life in the Undergrowth’.
The BDS gratefully acknowledges funding and support from the following:
Constitution and By-laws of the British Dragonfly Society as updated in 2011.