The Annual Summer Meeting (ASM) is the big field meeting of the year for the whole of the BSBI. It moves around the regions of the BSBI to give people a chance to see different habitats and flowers. It is open to everyone – you don’t have to be a BSBI member or an experienced botanist. The ASM is a great opportunity to see some fabulous wildflowers in beautiful habitats and in the company of friendly botanists from across Britain and Ireland.
BSBI Annual Summer Meeting 2024
Guernsey is famous for its orchid meadows, shaded hedge banks, cliff tops and coastal heaths. There are many interesting, rare or unusual plants to see, and there is a compendium of Guernsey rare plants. There is also a red data book for the island which includes many plant species, some of which are common elsewhere.
The 2024 Annual Summer Meeting is based at the Premier Inn, St Peter Port, Guernsey from May 20 to 24. The hotel is in the northern part of St Peter Port. We have reserved 20 rooms until March 31 and you can book one of these through the BSBI (maximum occupancy 2 people). Alternatively, you can make your own booking, which may or may not be at a cheaper rate. There is a regular bus service from the airport and the ferry terminal is close to the hotel. The meeting will comprise a choice each day of a day-long trip, with Monday afternoon and Friday morning comprising shorter excursions nearer to the hotel. All recording is welcome. There will be something for all members, and it is a social occasion as well as a botanical meeting. All those interested are welcome to attend.
There are other hotels, B&Bs and campsites in the area. We suggest that you browse the internet if you want to choose somewhere other than the Premier Inn. You can join the group for breakfast or dinner on an ad hoc basis. On the Monday evening we are booked into Les Cotils for dinner, the cost of which is around £28 for a two course meal. We suggest that everyone eats dinner together to make it more of a social occasion. We may also arrange dinner venues for the Tuesday and Wednesday. There is a barbeque on Thursday evening.
Medical. There is a reciprocal agreement between Guernsey and the UK NHS, so medical insurance is not required for UK nationals. There are ticks on the island, however there are no deer, so Lyme disease is not an issue.
Phones. Some service providers require you to purchase a roaming bundle.
GPS. Local maps don’t seem to use the standard grid and it is difficult to get digital maps. For a handheld GPS set the position units to UTM on WGS84, then a grid reference of eg 30N 525641E 547691N translates to WV56417691. The new BSBI app and the DDb uses this grid system. Some hand-held GPS devices may have the Guernsey grid included as an option.
Recording. There is some recording that can be done, as well as seeing nice species/habitats etc. The Guernsey Museum is a twenty minute walk from the hotel and we will use the Société Guernesiaise rooms there for id sessions and talks. When needed there will be identification workshops after the talk to discuss interesting or difficult specimens that have been found during the day. A few microscopes will be provided, but bring your own preferred id book(s). There will be copies of various works on Guernsey botany by David McClintock.
On Monday the meeting will open with a local walk and an after-dinner talk to set the scene. On the remaining days we will visit a choice of sites or areas to suit the group’s abilities and numbers. For the main site visits we will use coaches and will split groups up according to the terrain that they are comfortable with. As far as possible groups at each site will be of up to 15 people, but we may make multiple visits to popular sites. Each coach excursion group will have an experienced leader and at least one other experienced or local botanist to help with questions and to keep the group together.
Individuals or groups are welcome to make their own arrangements for day trips, for example taking a boat to Sark or Herm, but we are not including this as part of the ASM. It may be possible to hire a local RIB for trips to small islands. There is also the possibility on any day of small groups heading off in cars to record areas that have missing pre-2010 species, or to see special plants.
Depending on numbers attending, we may change the programme and reduce the number of choices. Participants are advised to read the BSBI Guidance for participants at field meetings, and we will be following the policies described there.
The draft programme is as follows:
The departure point for all excursions will be the car park at the Premier Inn. You will need to construct your own packed lunch for day trips. There is a Waitrose nearby. There are many kiosks around the island where you can purchase a snack and drinks.
Monday afternoon 20th May
14.30 Visit to the Guernsey Museum and Herbarium. Recording in Candie Cemetery & Gardens or urban streets and back lanes.
17.30 Return to hotel.
18.30 Dinner at Les Cotils
20.00 Harry Bound room at Les Cotils. Opening by Lindsay de Sausmarez, head of the committee for Environment and Infrastructure.
20.10. Illustrated talk on the flora of Guernsey.
Tuesday May 21st to Thursday May 23rd
09.00 Buses / cars depart for choice of excursions or recording visits (see below)
18.30 Dinner at venue TBC (not Thursday)
20.00 Talk at Société Guernesiaise lecture theatre (see below)
21.00 ID session
Friday, May 24th
09.00 Buses / cars depart for choice of excursion or recording visit (see below)
13.00 Bus/cars return from morning excursions
13.30 Meeting ends. Departure of participants
Evening talks/events (TBC)
Tuesday: Talk about the Société Guernesiaise.
Wednesday: Talk about conservation work in Guernsey
Thursday: Barbeque at NT Les Caches Farm
Excursions options (details TBC):
Golf course dunes
Urban (excluding herbarium, cemetery, back lanes in St Peter Port)
Islands (amber) – Lihou may be possible on Thursday?
When you register we will ask you to give your order of preferences for the excursions. If you register your preferences early, we should be able to accommodate your first choices, as it will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who do not register their choices or who book later may have to settle for preferences lower down their list. We will also ask you some other questions to help us organise the event.
If you would prefer to pay by cheque or make a direct bank transfer please contact the Meeting Organiser, Jonathan Shanklin: email@example.com
BSBI Annual Summer Meeting 2023
The 2023 Summer Meeting was held from Friday 19th to Monday 22nd May in Killarney, Co. Kerry.
There was a mix of excursions to interesting sites, recording trips and evening talks or workshops. Excursions centred on Killarney National Park and adjacent rugged mountains and coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula. Habitats included Atlantic oak woodland, blanket bog and coastal dunes. We saw many of the species for which southwest Ireland is famous, such as Hymenophyllum (Filmy-fern) species, Saxifraga spathularis (St Patrick's-cabbage), S. hirsuta (Kidney Saxifrage), Pinguicula grandiflora (Large-flowered Butterwort) and Arbutus unedo (Strawberry-tree).
With thanks to National Parks & Wildlife Service, Ireland for their support for the excursions and talk facilities.
Recordings from the talks from the three days of the meeting are included below.
Suggestions of things to bring to a Summer Meeting:
- Hand lens
- GPS (if you have one)
- Your preferred ID book(s)
- Lunch and a drink
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Annual Summer Meeting 2019
The 2019 Summer Meeting was held from Saturday 13th to Friday 19th July at FSC Malham Tarn, Yorkshire (v.c. 64) and featured a mix of excursions to important plant areas and visits to under-recorded tetrads for Atlas 2020.
Click on the links to read daily reports about the meeting: Run-up & Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six and a Postscript. Many thanks to David, Dave, Colin, Kate, Chris and organiser Jonathan for sending these reports and photographs of the meeting.
Plans for Summer Meetings in 2020 and 2021 had to be shelved due to Covid.
BSBI Annual Summer Meeting 2022
Botanists at Great Close Scar, ASM 2019. Image: David Morris
Annual Summer Meeting 2018
The 2018 Annual Summer Meeting (ASM) ran from Monday 16th to Monday 23rd July and was based at King William's College, Castletown on the Isle of Man. The meeting included site visits, recording outings, hunts for rare species, talks and ID sessions. It was a joint meeting with the British Bryological Society, so there were lots of chances to learn about mosses, liverworts and hornworts.
So, how may records were collected during the ASM towards Atlas 2020?
Organiser Jonathan Shanklin reports: "I've typed in 20 record cards, some of these rather short records made of a field whilst in transit, others all day visits to a site, monad or tetrad. Philippa Tomlinson, the County Recorder for the Isle of Man, has additional cards, so the following is not a complete picture of the ASM.
"In all I entered 1926 records of 489 species (not counting liverworts, ladybirds and other incidental records). The most common plant was Anthoxanthum odoratum figuring on every card, closely followed by Holcus lanatus and Agrostis capillaris. 60 species had 10 or more records, 149 had five or more, whilst 178 had only one.
"The median number was two records, illustrating the high diversity of flora that we encountered across the island".
Annual Summer Meeting 2017
Monday 5th to Friday 9th May: Holywell, Flintshire
The 2017 Summer Meeting was based at the Stamford Gate Hotel in Holywell, Flintshire (VC51). The meeting aimed to help recording in the county for Atlas 2020, but also included site visits to coastal dunes and limestone grassland. There were exhibits, a bookstall, after dinner talks and ID sessions and an opportunity to socialise. You can read linked daily reports from the 2017 Summer Meeting on the BSBI News & Views blog, posted each evening by Organiser Jon Shanklin, BSBI's Field Meetings Secretary. The first report is here and the final one is here. BSBI members will also be able to read how successful the week was and how much fun participants had by reading an account in the January 2018 issue of BSBI News.
Annual Summer Meeting 2016
Thursday 19th to Monday 23rd May: Lowland Cumbria
The 2016 Summer Meeting was based at the Field Studies Council Blencathra Centre near Keswick in Cumbria. The meeting introduced participants to the flora of lowland Cumbria by a mix of site visits, talks, workshops and tetrad and site recording. After dinner each evening, there were talks to set the scene or identification workshops to discuss interesting or difficult specimens found during the day.
One of the main aims of the meeting was to help fill in some of the blank squares in the vice-county. You can find out whether we managed to do that in daily reports from the 2016 Summer Meeting on the BSBI News & Views blog here, here and here, posted each evening by Organiser Jon Shanklin, BSBI's Field Meetings Secretary.