Max Nicholson
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Edward Max Nicholson (12 July 1904 – 26 April 2003) was a pioneering
environmentalist An environmentalist is a person who is concerned with and/or advocates for the protection of the environment. An environmentalist can be considered a supporter of the goals of the environmental movement The environmental movement (sometimes ...
,
ornithologist Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the "methodological study and consequent knowledge of birds with all that relates to them." Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and th ...

ornithologist
and internationalist, and a founder of the
World Wildlife Fund In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the worl ...
.


Early life

Max Nicholson, as he was known to all, was born in
Kilternan Kilternan (), also known as Kiltiernan, is a village in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains south of Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Ireland, near the border with County Wicklow. Location Separated from the contin ...
,
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, to English parents. His family moved to England in 1910, settling in
Staines Staines-upon-Thames is a town on the bank (geography), left bank of the River Thames in Surrey, England, in the borough of Spelthorne. At or near the Roman settlement of Pontibus, it became Stanes and then Staines. Its borough is in the Historic ...

Staines
. He became interested in natural history after a visit to the natural history museum and later took to
birdwatching Birdwatching, or birding, is a form of wildlife observation Wildlife observation is the practice of noting the occurrence or abundance of animal species at a specific location and time, either for research purposes or recreation. A common e ...

birdwatching
, beginning to maintain a list of birds seen from 1913.Vickers, Hugo (2003
Obituary
The Independent. 29 April 2003
He was educated at
Sedbergh School Sedbergh School is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school (English Independent school (United Kingdom), independent Day school, day and boarding school) in the town of Sedbergh in Cumbria, in North West England. It comprises a junior s ...
in
Cumbria Cumbria ( ) is a ceremonial A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence. Rituals may be prescribed by the traditions of a ...

Cumbria
and then
Hertford College ''As the hart panteth after the water brooks'' , university = Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the ...

Hertford College
,
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' u ...
from 1926, winning scholarships to both. At Oxford he read history, and visited
Greenland Greenland ( kl, Kalaallit Nunaat, ; da, Grønland, ) is an autonomous territory An autonomous administrative division (also referred to as an autonomous area, entity, unit, region, subdivision, or territory) is a subnational administra ...

Greenland
and
British Guiana British Guiana was a British colony, part of the mainland British West Indies, which resides on the northern coast of South America. Since 1966 it has been known as the independent nation of Guyana. The first European to encounter Guiana was ...
as a founder member of the
Oxford University Exploration Club The Oxford University Exploration Club was established in December 1927 by Edward Max Nicholson, Colin Trapnell, and Charles Sutherland Elton. The Club's aim is to support and advise students with planning original expeditions abroad. Recent e ...
. At Oxford he organized bird counts and censuses on the University's farm at Sanford. In 1928, Nicholson created and managed the first national birdwatch survey, a survey of the
grey heron The grey heron (''Ardea cinerea'') is a long-legged predator Predation is a biological interaction where one organism, the predator, kills and eats another organism, its prey. It is one of a family of common List of feeding behaviours, feedi ...

grey heron
.


Ornithology and conservation

Nicholson already had published his first work in 1926, ''Birds in England'', and had three similar books published soon after. In ''The Art of Bird-Watching'' (1931), he discussed the potential of co-operative birdwatching to inform the conservation debate. This led, in 1932, to the foundation of the
British Trust for Ornithology The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is an organisation founded in 1932 for the study of birds Birds are a group of s constituting the Aves , characterised by s, toothless beaked jaws, the of eggs, a high rate, a four-chambered ...
, of which he was the first treasurer and later chairman (1947–1949). In 1947–1948, with the then director general of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
' scientific and education organisation
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
,
Julian Huxley Sir Julian Sorell Huxley (22 June 1887 – 14 February 1975) was an English evolutionary biologist Evolutionary biology is the subfield of biology that studies the evolutionary processes ( natural selection, common descent, speciation) t ...
, he was involved in forming the International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN) (now
International Union for Conservation of Nature The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN; officially International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) is an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institut ...
(IUCN)). In 1949 he oversaw Part 3 of The
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which created the National Parks Commission which later became the Countryside Commission and then the Countryside Agen ...
which established the
Nature Conservancy The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global environmental organization, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, United States. it works via affiliates or branches in 79 countries and territories, as well as across every state in the US. Founded in ...
, a British state research council for natural sciences and 'biological service', and allowed for the legal protection of
national nature reserve Nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area) is a protected area Protected areas or con ...
s and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (
SSSI A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very s ...

SSSI
). He replaced Captain
Cyril Diver Captain Cyril Diver, Order of the Bath, C.B., Order of the British Empire, C.B.E., (1892 – 17 February 1969), was the first Director-General of the Nature Conservancy (UK), Nature Conservancy. The son of Lt Col C Diver and the author, Maud Diver. ...
as Director General of the Nature Conservancy in 1952, serving until 1966, just after the Conservancy lost its independent status. During his leadership, the Conservancy established itself as a research and management body that promoted ecology as having broad relevance and application to land use decision-making and management.
Monks Wood Experimental Station Monks Wood is a National Nature Reserve north-west of Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and a Nature Conservation Review site, Grade I. A slightly more extensive area of is the Monks Wood and The Odd Quarter biological Site of Special Scientific Int ...
, which helped set up, was perhaps the first to examine the effect of toxic chemicals on wildlife. In 1952, while in
Baluchistan Balochistan (; bal, بلوچِستان; also romanised as Baluchistan) is an arid A region is arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or preventing the growth and development Development ...
, he contracted
polio Poliomyelitis, commonly shortened to polio, is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology ...

polio
, which left him with a limp. In 1961 Nicholson, together with
Victor Stolan Victor Stolan (born 1893) provided "the germ of the idea"Sir Arthur Norman (industrialist), Arthur Norman (1981) The story of the World Wildlife Fund. Contemporary Review vol 239, 23-29. that led Julian Huxley and Max Nicholson with him to start the ...
,
Sir Peter Scott Sir Peter Markham Scott, (14 September 1909 – 29 August 1989) was a British ornithologist, conservation movement, conservationist, painter, naval officer, broadcaster and Sportsperson, sportsman. The only child of Antarctic explorer Robert Fa ...
and
Guy Mountfort Guy Mountfort (4 December 1905 – 23 April 2003) was an England, English advertising executive, amateur ornithologist and conservation movement, conservationist. He is known for writing the pioneering ''A Field Guide to the Birds of Britain ...
, formed the organising group that created the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (now the
World Wide Fund for Nature The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organization An international non-governmental organization (INGO) is an organization which is independent of government involvement and extends the concept of a non-go ...
).Kate Kellaway (7 November 2010).
How the Observer brought the WWF into being
The Observer ''The Observer'' is a British newspaper published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum A political spectrum is a system to characterize and classify different in relation to one another. These positions sit upon one ...

The Observer
.
He was also a founder of the
International Institute for Environment and Development The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent policy research institute (think tank) whose stated mission is to "build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action and influence in partnership wit ...
. In 1966 he set up and headed environmental firm Land Use Consultants (LUC), remaining with them until 1989. One of LUC's first reports was 'Parkways in principle and Practice' (1967), in which Nicholson urged that "the problems of recreation, traffic, environmental quality and conservation should be studied together . .", to form a category of
parkway A parkway is a landscaped thoroughfare A thoroughfare is a primary passage or way as a transit route through regularly trafficked areas whether by road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places ...
s in Britain. From 1951 to 1960 he was the senior editor of "British Birds" and was the chief editor of ''The
Birds of the Western Palearctic ''The Birds of the Western Palearctic'' (full title ''Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa: The Birds of the Western Palearctic''; often referred to by the initials ''BWP'') is a nine-volume ornithological handbook co ...
'' ("BWP", 1977–1994,
OUP Oxford University Press (OUP) is the university press A university press is an academic publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for fre ...
) from 1965 to 1992. He was the only author to stay with the project from start to end, personally writing the habitat sections of all species in the nine volumes. In 1976 he was an instrumental part of the setting up of Britain's first
urban ecology Urban ecology is the scientific study of the relation of living organisms with each other and their surroundings in the context of an urban environment. The urban environment refers to environments dominated by population density, high-density r ...
park and the
Trust for Urban Ecology The Trust for Urban Ecology (TRUE) is a London-based ecological organisation and is part of The Conservation Volunteers (formerly BTCV). The Trust for Urban Ecology was founded in 1976 when ecologist Max Nicholson and a group of like-minded conse ...
. In 1978 Nicholson was instrumental in founding the
ENDS Report Founded in 1978, ''The ENDS Report '' is a magazine published in the United Kingdom and covering environmental policy and business, news, official reports, UK and EU policy and legislation, and how environmental issues affect corporate strategy. It ...
which became a highly influential journal for environmental policy specialists. He was President of the
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a charitable organisation A charitable organization or charity is an organization whose primary objectives are philanthropy Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the pu ...
from 1980 to 1985, helped set up the New Renaissance Group and was a trustee of Earthwatch Europe. In 1995 he appeared as a guest on ''
Desert Island Discs ''Desert Island Discs'' is a radio programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 BBC Radio 4 is a British national radio station owned and operated by the BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquar ...
''.


Other activities

Nicholson's 1931 essay ''A National Plan for Britain'' led to the formation of the influential policy think tank
Political and Economic Planning Political and Economic Planning (PEP) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Britons, are the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ...
(PEP), now the Policy Studies Institute. Nicholson had strong ideas on how a country should be run and wrote a book "The System". Nicholson joined the civil service in 1940, during World War II working for the Ministry of Shipping, then the Ministry of War Transport, attending conferences at Quebec and Cairo, and was with Winston Churchill at the post-war peace conferences at Yalta and Potsdam. From 1945 until 1952 he was private secretary to Herbert Morrison, the Deputy Prime Minister. He also chaired the committee for 1951's Festival of Britain. During the war years he was in charge of organizing shipping operations and convoys across the Atlantic. He was involved in the planning of "Operation Overlord", the invasion of Europe. For his services he was awarded the CVO and CB.


Personal life

Nicholson married Mary Crawford in 1932 and they had two children, Piers and Tom. The marriage was dissolved in 1964 and Crawford died in 1995. Nicholson then married Marie Mauerhofer (known as Toni) in 1965; they had one child, a son, David. She died in 2002. Max Nicholson died in 2003, aged 98.


Legacy

Every year on Nicholson's birthday, 12 July, a group of people walk a section of the Jubilee Walkway in London to celebrate his work in establishing the route. Two memorial sundials have been put in place in memory of Nicholson - one by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at the WWT London Wetland Centre in Barnes, London, and another at
Sedbergh School Sedbergh School is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school (English Independent school (United Kingdom), independent Day school, day and boarding school) in the town of Sedbergh in Cumbria, in North West England. It comprises a junior s ...
in Cumbria, where Nicholson went to school.


Selected publications

*''Birds in England'' (1926) *''How Birds Live'' (1927) *''The Art of Bird-Watching'' (1931) *''The Humanist Frame'' (1961) (contribution) *''The System: The Misgovernment of Modern Britain'' (1967) *''The Environmental Revolution : A Guide for the New Masters of the World'' (1970)


References


External links


Max Nicholson and Julian Huxley papers
Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University, Houston, TX, USA)

{{DEFAULTSORT:Nicholson, Edward Max English ornithologists English science writers Alumni of Hertford College, Oxford People educated at Sedbergh School People from Staines-upon-Thames 1904 births 2003 deaths British Trust for Ornithology people New Naturalist writers 20th-century British zoologists