Countries Support Manager
James Harding-Morris will be our new full-time Countries Support Manager. He currently works for RSPB, is a keen botanist and has recently been appointed as County Recorder for North Lincolnshire. James has a teaching qualification and a real passion for plants and engaging people in their stories. He is looking forward to joining the BSBI team on 28 November, which will allow him to have some handover with Jim McIntosh, who retires on 2 December.
New Scotland Officer
Matt Harding will be our new Scotland Officer replacing Jim. Matt is currently a self-employed environmental consultant and County Recorder for Stirlingshire. He also organises the local Botany Group and supports various other local volunteering and engagement work. Matt will work four days per week starting on 29 November but will also help Jim with Scottish Botanists’ Conference preparations and will attend on the day.
Last call for the Scottish Botanists’ Conference
There are a few places left at the Scottish Botanists’ Conference at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh on Saturday 5 November. There will be 26 exhibits, eight talks, workshops, tours of the library & herbarium, the Scottish AGM, a Q&A session, an Identification Table, the Photographic Competition, Summerfield Books, a conference dinner plus a retirement celebration!
You can book and see further details on the (updated) Scottish Botanists’ Conference page.
Still time to book!
There are still spaces at this year’s face-to-face British & Irish Botanical Conference (the new name for the Annual Exhibition Meeting) which will be held at the Natural History Museum in London on Saturday 19 November. The programme has a theme of 'A Festival of Plants' and there will be nine talks, as well as flash talks, exhibits, John Poland's plant ID quiz, networking opportunities and a chance to join a behind-the-scenes tour of the NHM Herbarium.
It's also not too late to book for the online AGM which will be held via Zoom on Thursday 17 November. The AGM will be preceded by two short talks: Prof Mick Crawley on the flora of London and Julia Hanmer, BSBI Chief Executive, on BSBI's activities and successes over the past year. The agenda and relevant paperwork are available.
There are more County Recorder changes just now in Scotland than at any time that I can remember in the last 18 years. In some cases, a Recorder would like to retire but there are no suitable successors. County Recorders should always be on the look-out for potentially suitable candidates to ultimately succeed them, and encourage them to get involved in recording in the County. When they are trained up to a suitable level (remembering the level that you were at when you were first appointed) then please suggest that they consider becoming a joint Recorder. They’ll probably say no to begin with, but with a bit more time, experience and encouragement hopefully they will eventually agree!
Mapping County recording coverage
It is easy to create a map of taxa per tetrad (or monad) using the DDb. These maps are a good way to look for less well recorded squares and areas. This Pdf shows taxa per tetrad in East Inverness-shire for example – and shows lots of gaps! [Though, to be fair, Easterness is the biggest BSBI county – Jim.]
Here is the DDb query which was used to generate it. Modify it to your county, adjust to list taxa per monad, or to show only post 2000 records, etc., as required. There are simple display instructions on the pdf.
The backdrop is from Google Maps - the DDb default. You can change this to Satellite. More sophisticated maps can be created using QGIS with some difficulty. For most purposes the quick DDb maps are fine. Maps can be created for any county or groups of counties, or even for entire countries. Maps for large areas are best viewed on screen.
New paper based on assessments by County Recorders
In 2019, County Recorders from 86 counties in Britain and Ireland contributed to a survey asking them to name the ten alien plants they perceived to have the highest environmental impacts in their respective vice-county. They also rated the impacts of ten plant species that had previously been identified as having the highest impacts across Britain. The team of researchers from the BSBI, Coventry University, UKCEH and the GB Non-native Species Secretariat who analysed the data are very grateful to everyone who contributed and would like to share the results. The paper is published in the scientific journal NeoBiota and was co-authored by BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker et al.; it is available to download free of charge here.
National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS)
If you’ve been wondering about getting involved with the NPMS, now’s your chance to find out more: the Scheme’s Volunteer Coordinator Rachel Murphy will be presenting a poster and giving a flash talk at the British & Irish Botanical Conference on 19 November. Yet another reason to book for the botanical event of the year!
I’ve started to collate the field meeting reports for 2022 and the field meetings programme for 2023. So far, I have reports from eight 2022 meetings, which provide interesting accounts for members. There are a dozen offers of meetings for 2023, along with four Zoom events.
Please send any further 2022 reports or plans for 2023 to your country field meetings secretary, with a copy to me. If you have sent a report but didn’t include any images do send them to me as they help to capture the meeting for those that weren’t there. My first deadline is early November for a poster for the BIBConf (formerly the AEM) for which I just need provisional dates and venues. I need full details of planned meetings by the end of November, together with reports of any remaining 2022 meetings.
BSBI membership special offer
Our membership special offer is now open: join BSBI now for 2023 and membership starts at once, so new members can enjoy 14 months of membership benefits for the price of 12 months. Our membership newsletter BSBI News is just one of the many benefits so, if you are a BSBI member and you know somebody who has not yet joined BSBI, why not send them the links to this digital sampler of BSBI News and this free article on how to ID thistles?
The latest issue of the Welsh Bulletin is now available to view or download from the Welsh Bulletin archive page and you can also access recent issues of English Botanical News, Irish Botanical News and the Scottish Newsletter. The country newsletters are a great way to keep up with recording activity across Britain and Ireland; huge thanks to the editors of these excellent periodicals who provide their time and expertise on a voluntary basis – we are all in their debt!