Thank you to everyone that has submitted an Annual Report for their vice-county. We’ve had over 100 reports submitted this year which is great, especially considering that a number of you were impacted by a ‘disappearing report’ glitch - your patience and perseverance has been appreciated enormously.
I’ll be reviewing any queries or requests for support that were highlighted with the submitted reports and working with the team to come up with the best ways to help.
Rare Plant Registers: upload to the Distribution Database (DDb)
In Scotland, Matt Harding has been working to get all of the Rare Plant Registers (RPRs) that aren’t already uploaded added to the DDb and I’d like to make sure this is happening across the entire BSBI. If your VC RPR isn’t yet uploaded then please send a copy through to me (England and Wales) or Paul Green (Ireland). We will require your RPR in the basic spreadsheet format, please.
In the January issue of BSBI News, you will find details (on page 59) of the launch of our long-awaited Atlas 2020 project, to which so many recorders contributed. We kick off with an online launch on 8th March followed by a series of face-to-face country launches throughout March.
The pre-publication offer on the print Atlas is now open and BSBI members can claim a 50% discount when placing their order – more details on the flyer inside BSBI News and via the password-protected members’ area of the BSBI website (email me if you have forgotten your password).
VC Membership Lists
Updates to member lists used to be sent out regularly, but now due to GDPR they are only sent out when requested.
If you require an updated list of members for VCR activity then you can request this from Gwynn Ellis or Sarah Woods as long as you have signed and submitted the Volunteer Confidentiality and Data Protection Agreement. This form, and all the other information about this process, can be found here.
It’s not too late to book for the next in our series of online winter talks; on Wednesday 1st February, Prof John Warren and Dr Jonathan Mitchley will be presenting a talk all about the development and success of Botanical University Challenge. You can book here and if you’d like to watch videos of previous winter talks, just head to this page and follow the links. The talks are all free but pre-booking is essential.
New Year Plant Hunt
The results of our twelfth New Year Plant Hunt (NYPH) have now been analysed; the full report is available here and the summary/ press release is here. This year saw the lowest ever number of wild and naturalised plants spotted in bloom – 477 taxa compared to 669 last year and 710 in 2021. Many seasoned recorders following their usual route reported finding only around half as many species compared to previous years.
We’d like to thank everyone who braved unpleasant weather to go out recording – you are adding to our growing understanding of how wild and naturalised plants are responding to changing autumn and winter weather patterns.
Records from the Plant Hunt reach the DDb automatically, there's no need for County Recorders to re-enter them separately. Each year’s NYPH data goes to a separate workspace.
County Recorders can view the records there and opt to accept and transfer them to the main workspace. In the DDb the NYPH workspace can be searched using 'more options' => 'project workspace' ... 'New Year Plant Hunt 2023'. To transfer records that you are happy with to the main workspace, either mark them as confirmed as usual, but ticking the extra box to 'transfer to main workspace'; or select the records and choose 'transfer to main workspace' at the bottom of the search results page.
Introduction to your county
We have recently received a message from a member who watched Helena Crouch’s Treasures of Somerset talk and wished that more counties had such an exciting introduction to their flora. If any VCRs are interested in producing a presentation or video like this, please let me know. We could either record it and put it straight onto our YouTube page or organise a webinar and record it from a live talk.
The January issue of BSBI News should reach all members this week and as always it contains much of interest to botanical recorders, with articles on Common Wintergreen, Shore Dock and Narrow-fruited Water-starwort. There is also an update on Field Identification Skills Certificates, which are now coordinated by BSBI, and an 8-page account of changes to the heath vegetation of the Wirral peninsula by Eric Greenwood, one of our longest-serving members who sadly died in October 2022.
Fern ID Course
We've refreshed our processes for signing up for our beginners' Fern ID Course, led by the fantastic Joshua Styles MCIEEM - it's now even easier and quicker to get the link to his hour-long pteridological pedagogy video!
Just £5/€6 for unlimited access, with all income directly supporting the work of the BSBI. Perhaps this could be useful for any up-and-coming members of your local group? Find this and all our other fern resources here.
National Plant Monitoring Scheme
As you may recall, in the last edition of Recorder eNews I told you that I had signed up with NPMS. Since then I have attended their recent talk on plant photography - and learnt some tips and tricks about taking better photos with my phone - and I have booked onto their next talk on the 8th Feb about NPMS survey methodology, to help start my preparations for the season ahead. Registering for the NPMS is easy and there is a whole raft of training material available to get stuck into.
New editor sought for British & Irish Botany
The next issue of our scientific journal British & Irish Botany is due out later this month and we are still looking for a new editor to replace Ian Denholm, who has been at the helm since the journal was launched in 2018. If you feel you may have the skills and experience to take on this role, please contact us for an informal chat. Please feel free also to alert any colleagues who you think might be able to step into Ian’s shoes, or to join our Editorial Team and contribute to our collective effort to producing the journal and ensuring its relevance to future contributors.
Grants for study, training and research
There is still time if you’d like to apply for a BSBI grant to take a training course, or carry out research or study into any aspect of the British or Irish flora. Application forms are available from our Grants page and the deadline is 28th February.
Opportunities for botanical surveyors
Our colleagues at UKCEH have alerted us that botanical surveyors are sought for a Defra/ Natural England survey this year. Further details of what is required and how to apply can be found on our Jobs in Botany page.