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 September 2022

Scotland Officer vacancy

After announcing that I plan to retire in early December, we are currently advertising for a new BSBI Scotland Officer. Full details of the post can be found here and the deadline for applications is Monday, 5 September. If you are interested, or perhaps know someone who might be, then please forward this link to them. I’d be happy to have an informal chat with anyone interested and wishing to know more.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Officer

New post: BSBI Countries Support Manager

Can you lead our work to support and build the community of botanists in Britain and Ireland? BSBI is recruiting for a brand-new post as BSBI Countries Support Manager. Full details of this post can be found here and again, the deadline for applications is Monday, 5 September. If you have any questions about this post or would like to know more, please email and please forward this link to anyone in your networks who you think might be interested in applying.

Julia Hanmer, BSBI Chief Executive

The Irish Autumn Meeting and AGM

The Irish Autumn Meeting & AGM will take place on Saturday 24 September at Glasnevin, Dublin. We have an exciting line up of talks, including Looking at rare plants in Tipperary by Anne Lloyd, The Montane Flora of West Galway by John Conaghan and an Introduction to spikey-rosette aquatics by Nick Stewart. The highlight, of course, will be a talk on the Ireland Officer's year by me!
The talks will be followed by two workshops: Nick Stewart will look at aquatic plants in the ponds in the gardens and Alison Evans will look at Scaly Male-ferns in the herbarium. After the afternoon break, the AGM will take place from 3.30pm. Everyone is very welcome, but booking is essential: - Irish Autumn Meeting & AGM.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

Aquatic Plant Project

The final Aquatic Plant Project field training day of the year will be held on the Royal Canal in Dublin on 25 September. This is the Sunday after the Irish Autumn Meeting – so you could make a weekend of it. Nick Stewart and I will lead the day whose aim is to improve identification skills and gather records. Everyone is very welcome – but numbers will be limited and booking is essential.

All six of this summers’ training webinars are now available to view on the Aquatic Plant Project page. Many thanks again to the National Parks & Wildlife Service for their support of this project.

Paul Green, BSBI Ireland Officer

Recorders’ Meeting

There are still places available for the Recorders’ Meeting at FSC Preston Montford from Friday to Sunday 28 -30 October. The aim of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for recorders and potential recorders to discuss ID problems, particularly with “difficult” species (two votes for Agrostis so far); all aspects of data handling, including data entry, verification, MapMate, the Database; and what support recorders need with data and more generally. We plan to include a field visit if the weather permits and in order to accommodate this we have kept the timetable completely open. For more information and to book see the Recorders Conference page or go straight to the booking page.

Jonathan Shanklin, Chair, BSBI Committee for England

Field Meetings

With the 2022 field season drawing to a close, now is the time to write up any outstanding meeting reports for the Yearbook and to start thinking about 2023! We would really like to include meeting reports for all the main meetings that took place this year. Please send them in to your Country Field Meetings Secretaries (FMS), ideally by November. Do include images that help illustrate the meeting – these reports are aimed at members who didn’t take part in them.

The Country FMS will also welcome offers for meetings in 2023 – these can be designed to appeal to any of the many different interests of BSBI members. They might be for beginners, visit nice places, be in urban locations, concentrate on “difficult” species, help with recording for a local Flora or other recording objectives. Please follow the guidelines for reports and adverts given in the Leading BSBI Meetings guidance which is on the field meetings & indoor events page. If you can let me have outline details (at least the where and when) by 1 November, I will include them in the traditional poster at the British & Irish Botanical Conference on 19 November.

Jonathan Shanklin, BSBI Field Meetings Secretary

National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS)

If you haven't already signed up for the National Plant Monitoring Scheme, then a good place to find out more is the NPMS newsletter. The Summer 2022 issue has just been published and it contains an article about heathlands written by BSBI Head of Science, Kevin Walker, giving definitions of different kinds of heaths, moors and bogs, the vascular plant species you are likely to find there and explaining why monitoring these habitats is so important. If the newsletter whets your appetite, then just head over to the How To Get Involved page to find out more – and please share the link with anyone in your networks who might benefit from being involved in this national Scheme to monitor the health of our habitats and the wild flowers they support.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Access to the BSBI Database

It will be well into 2023 before we are able to implement the previously discussed Members’ Access proposals. Meantime County Recorders should remember that they can invite anyone who contributes to recording in their counties to have access to the BSBI Database. This is a great way to encourage and reward enthusiastic contributors.

The process is very simple. Just ask the contributor to complete a BSBI Database registration request, selecting “other” for Your Role and say who has nominated them (you!) and why in the Further Information field. Please also let us know that you have recommended someone, so we can activate their account without delay.

Kevin Walker, BSBI Head of Science & Tom Humphrey, BSBI Database Officer

Importing Records into MapMate

When importing records into MapMate from spreadsheets, remember that MapMate still uses Stace 3 names, even though the BSBI Database has been updated to Stace 4. That means MapMate will not recognise Stace 4 names and they will not be imported – and you might not even notice this if you try to import data with the “reject records with errors” default option ticked.

So, when importing, you should still use Stace 3 nomenclature and, as always, use the import wizard to check that all the taxon names match those in MapMate. And if not, amend them in the import file to exactly match the intended name in MapMate and try again.

We plan to update MapMate to Stace 4 this autumn and will let you know as soon as a patch is available. Meanwhile County Recorders might like to ask anyone who regularly submits spreadsheets that they import, to continue to use Stace 3 names.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI Scottish Office

County Webpages

We now have webpages for all vice-counties in Scotland, England & Wales, and more than half all those in Ireland. They're a great way to keep local and visiting botanists informed on what's going on in the county, provide local resources such as checklists, Rare Plant Registers, newsletters and reports - and to encourage people to participate in local events and contribute records. Examples of recent resources and updates are a new checklist for Berkshire, a Rare Plant Register for Montgomeryshire, newsletters and details of field meetings for Lanarkshire and Worcestershire.

Now the nights are drawing in, this would be a good time for County Recorders to review their county pages, making sure that their contact details, and any links and text on the page, are all up-to-date.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Volunteering opportunities with BSBI

There are currently several volunteering opportunities available on BSBI standing committees and we'd urge readers of Recorder eNewsletter to take a look at what's on offer and the skillsets we are looking for: There are vacancies on both the Events & Communications Committee, and also on the Science & Data Committee.

Please consider applying for one of these vacancies and we'd also be grateful if you could help us spread the word by forwarding the above links to anyone in your network who you think might be interested in either of these great opportunities.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Plant diversity Surveys

Scientist Dr Alexa Varah from the Natural History Museum in London is seeking botanists’ help for plant surveys in the spring/summer of 2024. The project – if funded – would assess the benefits of scaling up agroforestry farming in the UK to help meet the UK’s carbon and biodiversity targets.

Potential field sites are in the following counties: Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Devon, Essex, Fife, Herefordshire, Norfolk, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire & North Shropshire, Suffolk.

If you are a recorder (small 'r' - so not necessarily a County Recorder but with a similar skill level) who would be willing to help with the plant surveys, please get in touch. I envisage the work taking one day. I am currently writing the proposal so it would be helpful to have an idea of the number interested and requiring expenses / funds. For more information, or to express an interest, please do get in touch.

Alexa Varah, Natural History Museum