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 December 2023

Vice-County Annual Reports for 2023

We will send an email asking for Vice-County Annual Reports shortly. The reports will be published in country newsletters and on county webpages in the New Year. Readers will be interested to read about what has been happening in the counties.

Guidance on the format, content and word limit will be included in the email, but you can start thinking about content now; we’d be interested to hear about general, country or local recording initiatives, publications such as checklists, CRPRs and floras, brief details of local group activity and any workshops or talks given. Finally, you can list your exciting botanical (re-)finds – and upload photos of them.

James Harding-Morris, BSBI Countries Support Manager

BSBI grants are live

Our grants programme for 2024 is now open for applications. We have grants for training - these are ideal for any beginner botanists in your network who want to take a short plant ID course; grants for plant study - these are aimed at undergrads and postgrads; and grants  for science  and research - these are aimed at PhD students, academic researchers and amateurs working on botanical research.

All the forms and guidance can be found on our grants page, where we also share links to any other sources of grant funding that we know about. So don’t delay, apply today - and help us spread the word that BSBI grant applications are now open!

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

New Year Plant Hunt 2024

Our thirteenth New Year Plant Hunt (NYPH) will run from 30th December until 2nd January. This is your chance to help us understand more about how British and Irish wildflowers are responding to a changing climate.

For anyone new to the New Year Plant Hunt, we are preparing spotter sheets, guidance on how to plan your route, how to take plant photos for identification etc. so please encourage NYPH newcomers to register for this extra support. We are also collating a page of group Hunts, so if you know of any group Hunts in your area, please send us details so we can help promote them. We hope that this will be our biggest ever New Year Plant Hunt page so please keep spreading the word to your local contacts, organisations and on social media.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

County page updates

The last month has seen a new edition of the county Rare Plant Register added to the Monmouthshire page and the latest county newsletters added to the pages for Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire. If you have documents that you want adding to your county pages, please contact your Country Officer or me.

James Harding-Morris, BSBI Countries Support Manager

Join a BSBI Committee

Joining a BSBI committee is a great way to help shape our plans and activities going forwards. We have vacancies on two committees. Join our Science & Data committee and help advance our scientific and data management work; or join our Events & Comms committee and help run events like the British & Irish Botanical Conference.

Julia Hanmer, Chief Executive

County Membership Lists

If, as a BSBI volunteer such as a County Recorder, you need access to members’ contact details in your area, we can arrange this. We will need you to read and sign our Volunteer Confidentiality and Data Protection Agreement. More information here…

James Harding-Morris, BSBI Countries Support Manager

Scottish Botanists’ Conference 2023

Two hundred botanists gathered at the RBGE in November for this year’s Scottish Botanists’ Conference for a fascinating range of talks, workshops and exhibits. We were delighted to be joined by Prof. Mat Williams, Chief Scientific Advisor for Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture to the Scottish Government, who opened the conference with a talk on Plant Atlas 2020, describing it as an extraordinary achievement for biodiversity mapping and change detection – quite a tribute to the efforts of the Scottish botanical community!

All the talks were recorded and can be viewed on YouTube. Material from some of the workshops, including a visual key to willowherbs and a guide to montane willows, and copies of many of the exhibition posters and displays can be viewed and downloaded.

I’m incredibly grateful to all the fantastic speakers, the workshop leaders who delivered a really varied training programme, the exhibitors and all the volunteers who pitched in, and of course RBGE for hosting!

Matt Harding, BSBI Scotland Officer

BSBI News Scotland Country Roundup – call for volunteers

Ian Strachan has now stepped back from producing the Scottish Country Roundup for BSBI News, having done a fantastic job for many years. His contributions were always beautifully written and full of interesting detail, a highlight of the newsletter for me, so a huge thank you to Ian from me and BSBI!

It would be great to have another volunteer to work with me to produce the next few roundups, so if anyone would like to join me to showcase Scotland's finest discoveries, please let me know!

On the subject of BSBI News, it would be brilliant if Scotland could provide more input into Matthew Berry's fascinating Adventives & Aliens news column. A look at the exhibits during the Scottish Botanists’ Conference shows that many of you are out recording weird and wonderful non-natives, and it would be great to share these finds with the wider botanical community. Please send submissions to Matthew or myself, and look out for two new species for the British Isles recorded from Skye in his next column!

Matt Harding, BSBI Scotland Officer

Non-native Species News

Kevin Walker has recently made me aware of the newsletter of the Non-Native Species Secretariat. Issue 10 has recently been published and there is an interesting article on trials to introduce a rust pathogen for Impatiens glandulifera (Himalayan Balsam).

James Harding-Morris, BSBI Countries Support Manager

Take part in a Mistletoe abundance survey

Mistletoe is thought to be spreading in the UK, but where will the mistletoe go? To find out, we need data on local mistletoe abundance, which has never been collected before, and you can help! Submit your photos and locations of mistletoe to the “MistleGO!” survey via the Survey123 app, and record how much mistletoe you see. Click the link to download the app or use in browser:

Ollie Spacey, University of Oxford and the Tree Council

Applications for Identiplant open on 1st December

Do you know anyone who wants to learn to identify plants from Britain and Ireland correctly, confidently and accurately, to learn how to use a Flora and to follow a botanical key? Identiplant, the BSBI's training course for early botanists, opens for applications on 1 December.

Chantal Helm, BSBI Training Coordinator

British & Irish Botanical Conference 2023

Bookings have now closed for this year’s British & Irish Botanical Conference which will take place on Saturday 2nd December in Newcastle, but we will be recording the talks and uploading electronic versions of the posters wherever possible, so watch out for those links.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

BSBI 2023 AGM: update

At the BSBI AGM on 16th November, members voted in two new trustees whose names will be well-known to botanical recorders: Trevor Dines, who helped coordinate recording activity for the 200 New Atlas and then spent 20 years at Plantlife; and Maria Long, who was BSBI Ireland Officer for seven years before going to work for the National Parks & Wildlife Service. Mary Dean was re-elected; Prof Paul Ashton from Edge Hill University was voted in as BSBI President-elect; and two County Recorders, John Faulkner and Robert Northridge, became Honorary Members.

We recorded the pre-talks from Mike Crewe on ‘Urban Botany - Are you StreetWise?’ and from Julia Hanmer who gave a summary of BSBI’s activities and successes over the past year.

Louise Marsh, BSBI Communications Officer

Yearbook requests and looking ahead to 2024

I’m now finalising the Yearbook sections giving reports of this year’s field meetings and the adverts for next year’s meetings. 2024 looks to be another bumper year for meetings, starting with Conifers in March and running through to habitat survey at the end of August. Are there any offers for September, when there are still late flowering species to see? Please send any entries for the Year Book to me urgently - the formal deadline has passed, but there is still time for inclusion and it will always be possible to add very late additions to the field meetings and indoor events webpage. The Yearbook will probably arrive on your doormat in late January, but we hope to start populating the webpage before then.

Jonathan Shanklin, BSBI Hon. Field Meetings Secretary

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

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 more, but a small amount of what you spend is donated to the BSBI. It’s certainly worth considering when shopping online in the run up to Christmas.

Sarah Woods, BSBI Fundraising Manager

Upcoming UK NPMS events

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

On 18 January there will be a talk on the Plant Atlas 2020 by our very own Kevin Walker. I’m guessing readers of Recorder eNews will probably know all about the Atlas, but this could be of interest to members of your recording networks?

James Harding-Morris, BSBI Countries Support Manager