I was saddened recently to hear of the death of Peter Lambley, a superb naturalist and long term supporter of Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
When I started working with the Trust, over 20 years ago, Peter was the representative of English Nature (now Natural England) on the County Wildlife Site partnership. He quickly became someone whose knowledge of Norfolk's landscape and ecology I came to rely on as we selected new Sites and developed the handbook that guides the system. Like all the best conservationists I have met, Peter was motivated by a deep passion and enthusiasm for the natural world. I remember several meetings where we became sidetracked and discussed, with a mixture of humour and seriousness, the importance of grass snakes and meadow vetchling as indicators of habitat.
Peter's enthusiasm was never more apparent than when we visited County Wildlife Sites together and, out in the field, his knowledge of wildlife was invaluable. His skills as a lichenologist are well recognised, but he was also a good all round field naturalist and skilled as a botanist. On these trips, we would not only enjoy recording species, but he would tell stories from his time working overseas and at Norwich Castle Museum.
Peter understood the need for wildlife records - not just for pleasure, but for informing land management decisions, development and for monitoring the effects of climate change and more. Consequently, he was instrumental in the establishment of the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, which collects and distributes wildlife records for the county. Long after his retirement from English Nature, Peter continued collecting species records and playing an active role in the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists Society.
After two decades at NWT, I feel, more than ever, that we all stand on the shoulders of those who went before us and their understanding of the natural world. Although I only knew Peter through work, I found him a warm and generous man, with an infectious chuckle. I can imagine he will be much missed by his family and close friends.
Peter's family have set up a web page for memories and thoughts, as well as for donations for NWT and The Papillon Project, an educational charity that promotes sustainable living and environmental awareness for young people. You can find the memorial page here
Header image: White water lily by Pat Adams