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 2023

We are looking for trustees

Can you help us shape and govern BSBI’s work? We have an opportunity for one or more trustees to join our Board. As a trustee you’ll have an essential role in contributing towards the future direction of the Society and making a real difference for botanists, botany and wild plants.

We are particularly looking for people with experience or skills in plant recording, administration, finance or communications. Our friendly team will provide you with support and training to develop in your role.

For more details and how to apply, please see our vacancies page.

Chris Miles, Chair of the Board of Trustees

A note from our new Northern Ireland Botanical Skills Officer

Please let me introduce myself, I am Jen Farrar, the new Botanical Skills Officer - Northern Ireland. As part of my role, I will be developing, delivering and facilitating botanical skills training events in Northern Ireland.

My aim is to offer training opportunities for all levels of botanical skill, beginners to experts. I would love to hear from you regarding what you would like to see made available in your vice-county and regionally.

If you would be willing to participate as tutors for training events, especially those aimed at beginners and improvers, please do get in touch with me.

I look forward to meeting and working with you to expand the BSBI network and interest in botany across the region.

Jen Farrar, BSBI Botanical Skills Officer NI

Boosting BSBI membership

Our autumn membership offer has now opened so if you know people who haven’t joined yet joined the Society, please help us spread the word by sharing this blogpost about the  benefits of BSBI membership and pointing them to this page of BSBI News samplers so they get an idea of what’s inside our much-loved membership magazine.

BSBI’s membership has grown by over 30% in the past three years, bucking the trend for scientific societies and nature conservation organisations? The more members we have, the more we can meet our aims, support our training, outreach and research programmes, and make our collective voice heard when we stand up for a world where wild plants thrive and are valued. So please help us spread the word about the benefits of BSBI membership.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Raise money for the BSBI when shopping online

EasyFundraising enables your everyday online purchases to raise funds for the BSBI. Simply sign up here and install the extension which makes it very easy to secure a donation when you are on a relevant website. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but a small amount of what you spend is donated to the BSBI.

Plus, if you register now, BSBI has the chance to win from a £3,000 prize fund!

Sarah Woods, BSBI Fundraising Manager

The Basal Project - contributors wanted!

The Basal Project is a website resource for the identification of basal and juvenile leaves of wild plants in Britain and Ireland. It has taken me five years to find and photograph 650 species, and there are around another 1750 on the wanted list.

I am looking for your help in obtaining photographs of these remaining species. The homepage has a downloadable Excel sheet that shows which species have already been found, and which species are still sought after. All photo contributions will of course be credited to the contributor.

Richard Mabbutt, BSBI member and creator of the Basal Project

Videos from Recorders’ Meeting 2023

BSBI's 2023 Recorders' Meeting took place over the weekend of 6th-8th October at FSC Preston Montford in Shrewsbury and featured workshops, talks, training sessions and site visits, all aimed at botanical recorders.

A number of the talks were recorded and are now available to view on our YouTube channel or via the links below:

Exploring Plant Parasitic Fungi - Paul Smith (see also Exploring Plant Parasitic Fungi slides)

The Basal Project - Richard Mabbutt

The London RPR and Axiophyte List - Mark Spencer

An A-Z of Grasses Part 2 - Ken Adams

James Harding-Morris, BSBI Countries Support Manager

British & Irish Botanical Conference 2023

Almost 200 people have already booked for this year’s British & Irish Botanical Conference, which will take place on Saturday 2nd December at the Curtis Auditorium, Herschel Building, Newcastle University. Fortunately, it’s a large venue so we can fit in a few more people but, if you want to join us, do book soon!

We also have a large exhibition space so we’d encourage botanical recorders and researchers to submit a poster or other exhibit about your work - the British & Irish Botanical Conference is BSBI’s main annual event, so it’s the perfect place for you to showcase what you do during the rest of the year!

A quick reminder that the programme includes sessions on urban botany, on BSBI research and on plant ID resources. We will also have exhibits, posters, a workshop/demonstration by Prof John Richards (BSBI expert referee on dandelions), a behind-the-scenes tour of the NHSN Archive, a plant ID quiz and Summerfield Books' pop-up shop with a range of botanical books and hand-lenses. There’s an info sheet here with details of catering, travel and accommodation options.

You can use this link to book as an attendee or as an exhibitor. We look forward to seeing you on 2nd December.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Book for the BSBI 2023 AGM

Bookings are now open for this year’s BSBI AGM. It will take place online on Thursday, 16th November. The AGM will start at 7.15pm and be preceded by talks starting at 6.15pm. Mike Crewe will be giving a talk on the subject of ‘Urban Botany - Are you StreetWise?’ and Julia Hanmer will be providing a summary of BSBI’s activities and successes over the past year.

If you are a BSBI member, the AGM is your chance to have your say and participate in how the Society is governed. If you are not (yet) a BSBI member, you can still attend but you won’t be able to vote on the resolutions. Please visit the AGM page to see the agenda, to read biographies of the individuals proposed for election and to register to attend.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Yearbook requests and looking ahead to 2024

I’m now beginning to collate the Yearbook sections giving reports of this year’s field meetings and details of next year’s meetings. Field meeting organisers can either send their reports to the relevant Country Field Meetings Secretary or direct to me. It helps the Country Secretaries if you can let them know your plans, because, if a region seems to be left out, they will often ask appropriate County Recorders if they would be willing to organise a meeting. Ideally I’d like to receive provisional dates for next year by mid-November, so that I can put together a poster for the British & Irish Botanical Conference. The deadline for inclusion in the Yearbook is the end of November.

Planning for the Annual Summer Meeting (ASM) in Guernsey is continuing and I will soon be visiting the island to discuss details of the event. The ASM runs from Monday May 20th to Friday May 24th and there may then be an opportunity to visit Jersey from May 25th – 26th.

Jonathan Shanklin, BSBI Field Meetings Secretary

Dates for your diary

After a very enjoyable Recorders’ Meeting at FSC Preston Montford this autumn, we are starting to plan for another one in the spring, running from Friday afternoon, April 19th to Sunday, April 21st. This will be badged as a “Recording, Plant ID and Skills Conference” and will be particularly aimed at those wanting to start recording, whether for the BSBI directly or for consultancies. There will also be lots to interest more experienced recorders; the event is a great social occasion as well as a learning experience. We hope to open booking in early November; email me to express your interest and you will then be notified when booking goes live.

Another date for the diary is the England AGM and Annual Meeting, which takes place over Zoom on the afternoon of Sunday, February 25th. It will be the usual format of a short AGM followed by a series of talks. More details to follow on the website and in future newsletters.

Jonathan Shanklin, Chair, Committee for England

MapMate Query

Last month, I mentioned that I do most of my data analysis using the BSBI Database but find the “Browse all Records for a <1km square>” MapMate user query particularly useful when checking that I have digitised all the records in the monad, no matter what grid reference resolutions were used.
We’ve just uploaded another version called “Browse Records for a <1km square> in <year>” that helpfully allows you to specify the year as well as the 1km square. You can get it on the Custom queries page of the BSBI MapMate Support website. Simple installation instructions are given.

Jim McIntosh, BSBI County Recorder, Mid-Perthshire

BSBI Awards

If someone has impressed you with their work for BSBI, why not nominate them for a BSBI award? Check the guidelines on the Nominations and Awards page. We want to recognise activity in all parts of Britain and Ireland. The deadline is 31st December.

Christopher Miles, Chair of the BSBI Board of Trustees

New Year Plant Hunt: promote your group hunt and register for free resources!

Since we launched the new ‘register your interest’ form for this year’s New Year Plant Hunt, 371 people have already done just that! We’re working to create some helpful resources so that even absolute beginners can contribute to this citizen science project, now in its thirteenth year. The Hunt will run from Saturday 30th December 2023 to Tuesday 2nd January 2024; if you are planning a group hunt in your area - and we hope you are! - then please use this form to send us details, so we can advertise it on the website and help you with promotion. You can also contact us at if you have any questions about the Hunt.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Upcoming UK NPMS events

If you haven’t set up your NPMS square yet, or if you have recorders in your county that are looking to get started, then there is an introduction to NPMS and the survey methodology next week that you can book now.

There is also, on 7th December, a webinar on Vegetation of disturbed and urban places which may be of interest to you and your recording network.

James Harding-Morris, BSBI Countries Support Manager

Job Opportunity - Biodiversity Manager at University of Cambridge

The role holder will be responsible for the development and implementation of policies, plans and projects that help to minimise the negative impact of University operations on biodiversity, and which maximise restoration and regeneration of ecosystems across the University's estate and operations. The role holder will lead work on implementation of the University's Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) and develop high level targets which address the University's wider impact on biodiversity.

More information here. The closing date is 31st October.

Rachel Steward, Environment Team Manager, University of Cambridge