BSBI's Recorder eNewsletter is a monthly email newsletter full of useful info, links and topical tips for botanical recorders.

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Recorder eNewsletter November 2020

Recorder eNewsletter

Welcome to the first issue of the Recorder eNewsletter! We have changed the name of BSBI eNews to “Recorder eNewsletter”. We also plan to launch a new monthly electronic newsletter which will contain many of the articles currently in this publication that are of general interest to the wider botanical community. It will be necessary for people to actively opt-in to receive this. More details will appear in the December issue of Recorder eNewsletter and on the BSBI website.

In the longer term, these changes will allow this newsletter to be shorter and really focus on all matters relating to recorders, referees, BSBI recording projects, recording software and apps, the BSBI Database and include support and guidance for recorders.

Jim McIntosh, Senior Country Officer

Ireland Officer Changes

It is great to be back as a member of BSBI staff! I’m acting Ireland Officer while Sarah Pierce is on maternity leave. I’m looking forward to meeting and speaking to BSBI members across Ireland – even if that is only possible just now by Zoom and phone! I will work from home in Co. Wexford due to the restrictions. My working week is 3.2 days and I plan to work all day Monday, and mornings only Tuesday to Friday.  My contact details are: Mobile: 00 353 (0)87 778 2496

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

Using the BSBI Database for searches for multiple taxa

In last month’s piece about the DDb, I explained how you can search for records in multiple grid references simultaneously. Well you can also search for multiple species simultaneously. Simply type the list of taxa into the taxon box. If it is a short list (fewer than four taxa) you will need to separate by commas – See this shortlist example.  However, if it is a longer list (perhaps copied and pasted from excel), no commas are required – see this longlist example.

Before you click the “display results” in such searches it is important to check that you have spelt the scientific names correctly and that the DDb recognises them. To do so, click in any other box in the search form (or add an additional constraint – like a grid ref or date) and you will be able to see at a glance in the “Current search-form filter” immediately above “display results”.

This is a very useful feature. So, for example, I’ve compiled a list of montane species (from the appendix of Mountain Flowers (Raven & Walters, 1956) and use it to find hills that have a particularly rich montane flora. Here is a query using that list which identifies the hectads in Ireland that have the greatest diversity of montane species. Run the query and click the “Number of taxa” header twice to sort from largest to smallest.  I think there is a limit of 500 taxa for a multiple species search.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Senior Country Officer

Field Meetings 2021

Your Field Meetings Secretaries and field meeting leaders have made good progress in moving most of the 2020 Field Meetings programme to 2021. We are pleased with the programme so far and we are at different stages in each country. But not all countries have a full programme and would welcome expressions of interest. England and Scotland are looking for a few more to add to the list. Can you help? Do you know of someone willing to lead a meeting in 2021? We need to keep in mind the uncertainty over social distancing measures and other covid-19 restrictions that may be in place, but that shouldn’t stop us from planning some great meetings. For example, plan routes that are wide enough, with sufficient car parking space to avoid car sharing, or limit number of attendees. All offers gratefully received.

Your Field Meetings Secretaries: Mary Dean, England, Aileen Meek, Scotland, Mark McCorry, Ireland & Andy Jones, Wales

Scottish Botanists’ Conference 2020

The Scottish Botanists' Conference was held – entirely online - over the weekend of 31st October and 1st November. Registrations, at 350, were 75% up on last year which was itself a record breaking 200. It was great being able to welcome so many participants from England, Wales and Ireland (and indeed the world!) who wouldn’t normally have been able to make it. We’ve had great feedback - thank you - but if you have yet to respond to the feedback questionnaire please do it now! Tom set up a brilliant website dedicated to the Scottish Botanists' Conference where you can still view the posters / exhibition, the BSBI Photographic Competition entries, and watch many of the talks which were recorded and are being uploaded. I’d particular recommend an excellent keynote talk to mark 350 years of International and Scottish botany by RBGE by Prof. Peter Hollingsworth, their Director of Science.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

Botanical Talks

Our sister society in Scotland, the Botanical Society of Scotland, have always welcomed BSBI members to their excellent winter talks programme. However now it is being live-streamed and recorded, it is available to a much wider audience. The first two talks in the programme have both been outstanding and I cannot recommend them enough. Last week Dr Alex Twyford gave a talk entitled “A genomic flora of the British Flora” and last month Dr Helen Armstrong one on “The Scottish Uplands: how to revive a degraded landscape”.  Click on the links to view. Without wishing to compete or outdo BSS in anyway, and with our wider geographical remit, I do think that we in the BSBI should arrange a winter talks programme.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

BSBI virtual Exhibition Meeting: save the date!

BSBI’s first ever online Exhibition Meeting takes place online on Saturday 21st November. You won’t need to register to attend but please put the date in your diaries right now! We have a great programme of speakers and you’ll be able to watch them live and view a range of exhibits on our Exhibition Meeting website. Summerfield Books will be there in a virtual capacity and they are offering a special deal for any attendee ordering books and/ or equipment to the value of more than £50 during the event.

It isn’t too late if you’d like to register as an exhibitor – one of the advantages of a virtual event is that we have unlimited space so if you’ve never exhibited before, now’s your chance. The Meeting is free to exhibit at or to attend and everyone is welcome. We hope to see you here on 21st November!

Jodey Peyton, Chair, BSBI Events & Communications Committee

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

BSBI Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2020

All BSBI members are invited to attend the AGM which this year will be held online. The AGM is only open to members and you will need to register in advance. Please visit the AGM webpage for details of how to register or to view the agenda and other AGM paperwork.

Steve Gater, BSBI Hon. Gen. Secretary

New resources for recorders on the BSBI website in October

  • There’s a new county webpage for Wigtownshire.
  • New resources have been uploaded to the webpages for Easter Ross, Kirkcudbrightshire, South Northumberland, Somerset and Kent. Links to all county pages and updated contact details for County Recorders are available via the Local Botany page.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

On the News & Views blog in October

We opened our autumn special offer on BSBI membership – 15 months for the price of 12 – with a post about all the benefits of BSBI membership (this is the link to send to any friends or colleagues who are still weighing up whether or not to join BSBI); we told you about the international media success of Europe’s newest, smallest, rarest fern; BSBI President Lynne Farrell told us about her September peregrinations; and we reported on an astonishing find in Breckland: the second extant native site in Britain for Creeping Marshwort (Helosciadium repens) and what BSBI England Officer Pete Stroh calls “the best example of wildflower meadow creation I have seen”.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer