Scottish Spring Conferences

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) by Mike Beard

BSBI Scottish Spring Conferences 2020

Sadly, the 2020 spring recording conferences have had to be cancelled due to coronavirus - particularly as we had much to talk about post-Atlas. They were planned for the 4th April in Edinburgh and the following day in Strathpeffer.

BSBI Scottish Spring Conferences 2019

A total of 40 recorders and members participated in the 2019 Spring Conferences. They were held at RBG Edinburgh and at RSPB’s offices in Aberdeen in April.

The programme included an update and progress report on Atlas 2020, a discussion on Recorders' plans for the final field season and how BSBI members can help in the final year.

Claudia Ferguson-Smyth presented a mini-workshop entitled An Introduction to Dandelions with simple steps to making a reliable record. Then Angus Hannah presented one on Dryopteris affinis (Scaly Male-fern) in Edinburgh while Ian Green organised a Spring Flower ID session in Aberdeen.

There was also a series of short talks by a variety of speakers including An early find in Dumfries by Chris Miles, An Inventory of Twinflower by Richard Marriott, The Kirkcudbright Local Recording Group, by David Hawker, Aquatic Recording by Claudia Ferguson-Smyth, The BSS Urban Flora project by Brian Ballinger, Mountain Flowers by Alan Walker, NESBReC & its Integrated Habitat Survey by Glenn Roberts and an East Ross 2018 VC Report by Brian Ballinger. To finish off two excellent days we held a short discussion on post-Atlas activities.

BSBI Scottish Spring Conferences 2018

Two one-day Scottish Spring Conferences were held in April 2018, aimed at all recorders and members interested in recording (north or south of the border). They were held at RBGE and at Strathpeffer. The same programme (more or less) was repeated at both locations.

The theme of these fully interactive Recorders' Conferences was Atlas 2020 – the final two years. After an update on Atlas 2020, there were sessions led by BSBI Scottish Officer Jim McIntosh on the BSBI Database including monitoring Atlas progress; validation/verification; and on making the most of the final two field seasons. There was a talk about  local groups by Michael Philip, County Recorder for Lanarkshire. There were mini-workshops on identifying Utricularia and  Trichophorum followed by reports from the Vice-counties and concluding with a general Q&A session.

BSBI Scottish Spring Conference 2017

Twenty six members (mostly Scottish Recorders) attended an enjoyable Spring Conference & Workshop at FSC Kindrogan over the weekend of the 10-12 March. The weekend began on Friday afternoon with a major optional session on MapMate during which a range of short talks were given interspersed by practical sessions. The main programme included several talks on Atlas 2020 theme, including one showing some early results, and several on the theme of Data validation again interspersed by practical sessions. I particularly recommend looking at these talks. By way of light relief, Arthur Copping held an Agrostis ID workshop, Ian Strachan held a session on Conifer ID, Paul Smith on using the Vegetative Key and I held one entitled Making the most of your GPS.  After-dinner entertainment on the Saturday night was a round-up of illustrated VC reports by Recorders. On Sunday we heard the latest news about BSBI Data and the NBN and talks on RPRs and Axiophytes and finished up, after a soup and sandwich lunch, with a lively Q&A session.

Here is the conference programme.

BSBI Scottish Spring Conferences 2016

We held two one-day conferences in Scotland during April 2016 on the theme of Atlas 2020 – the final four years. The programme included an update on Atlas 2020, a session on MapMate, several on the BSBI DataBase, a round-up of reports from the Vice-Counties, talks on Recording Stoneworts and the Millennium Seed Bank Project and a general discussion and Q&A session. The first conference was held in Strathpeffer and the second in Edinburgh - feedback suggests that both were a great success!

Here is a selection of talks and hand-outs:

  1. Atlas 2020 - recap & update by Jim McIntosh.
  2. Atlas 2020 progress by Andy Amphlett.
  3. MapMate for BSBI recorders by Jim McIntosh.
  4. Tools and techniques to keep records tidy by Andy Amphlett.
  5. The BSBI DDb for beginners by Jim McIntosh.
  6. DDb data validation by Tom Humphrey.
  7. DDb Future plans by Tom Humphrey.
  8. Stonewort Hand-out by Nick Stewart.
  9. What is Lycopodium lagopus by Andy Amphlett.
  10. The Millenium Seed Bank Project by Stephanie Miles.

Scottish Recorders’ Workshop 2015: Atlas 2020 - the final five years

In total, 28 members participated in a very enjoyable Recorder’s Conference over the weekend of Friday 6-Sunday 8th March 2015 at Kindrogan Field Studies Centre, near Blairgowrie.  The aim was to help recorders prepare for the final five years of Atlas 2020.  The weekend was fully interactive with plenty opportunities to discuss and feedback.  Because Scottish Recorders rarely get together, plenty time was programmed to allow folk to chat over meals and in the bar so the event was very sociable.

During the key-note session on Friday evening we gave a comprehensive update on Atlas 2020. Over the next two days there were major sessions on MapMate and the BSBI Distribution Database – some plenary and some split by ability for beginners and improvers.  We encouraged all participants to bring their own laptops (or even desktops!) so they could follow these sessions in real-time.  There were further sessions on the BSBI Data Entry Guidelines, Importing Data into MapMate, Memory-Map and Rare Plant Registers.  I gave a presentation on the BSBI’s proposal to make our data publically available on the NBN which was followed by lively discussion, and Andy Amphlett gave a great report on the project to record in the Cairngorm Nation Park.  Another highlight was when a selection of Recorders gave short 5-10 minute illustrated reports of what they have been getting up to in their vice-counties, after dinner on Saturday evening.

We also offered one-to-one clinics with experts on specific MapMate, DDb, Memory-Map and Rare Plant Register problems.  The expert advisers (and speakers) were Bob Ellis (MapMate), Tom Humphrey (DDb), Chris Metherell (RPR), Andy Amphlett (DDB & Excel) and me, Jim McIntosh (Memory-Map).  We also encouraged participants to bring any specimens for identification, and I noticed that Chris & Alan Silverside were kept busy looking at Euphrasias!

Here is a selection of talks and handouts: