DUBAI // Cave paintings, the ecology of wadis and even a search for the legendary Arabian leopard are up for inclusion on the agenda for a new group in Fujairah.
The Emirates Natural History Group - Fujairah will hold its first meeting next week in a bid to open up the treasures of the emirate to residents.
"Fujairah is one of the richest emirates in terms of biodiversity, geological diversity and archaeological history," said David Edwards, the acting president of the group.
"There's so much to see here, especially in the wadis. We want to get people out and see what's here on their doorsteps.
"If people are heading out they often don't know where to go, or they're worried about trespassing. We want to open up the emirate to them."
Mr Edwards, a Canadian who teaches English at Fujairah Men's College, expects up to 60 people at the first meeting, which will be held at the college.
"We expect that to grow exponentially as more people hear about the group," he said.
The normal price of membership is Dh100 or Dh150 for families - on par with other chapters of the group in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Some branches have been running for more than 40 years.
But Mr Edwards said the fee would be waived for new members in the first year, as the coolest, and therefore most active, period of the year was almost over.
"We were initially hoping to start in September, but as usual life gets in the way," he said.
The idea came up in March last year when about 15 people went on a tour of a camel farm in the Bithna area of Fujairah, said Geoff Pound, one of the organisers and the author of the popular Fujairah in Focus blog.
"A lot of people thought that we should do this on a more regular basis," said Mr Pound, from New Zealand. "When we asked around, we found that a lot of people were thinking the same thing."
He said the group's programme would be varied enough to appeal to people of all interests.
"We'll have a variety of speakers with many different specialities," Mr Pound said.
"We'll also have regular field trips where we go out and crash around in a wadi for a couple of hours, or go to a fort."