On Saturday I went to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland’s Annual Exhibition Meeting in Leicester. This is the first time I have been to such an event. I had been invited by Louise Marsh (BSBI Publicity & Outreach Officer) to do a exhibition on some survey work I have been doing. I was a bit apprehensive about this as I didn’t think anyone would want to know about the surveying I carried out. I will be doing a guest blog post for the BSBI on my exhibit but until then here is a rather poor quality photo of my exhibit. The exhibit went down rather well with lots of people genuinely interested in not only my survey work but also about my background too.
Lots of people also commented on my photo of salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor) as it shows a common species which is often overlooked in a new light, as its delicate flowers are often ignored.
There was a number of other great exhibits on show including individuals and organisations. Unfortunately I didn’t get any decent pictures of other exhibits. There was also a wide range of plants to try identify, I didn’t have a clue on most of them but it is nice to see lots of nice plants.
Apart from the exhibits there was a number of super talks on the day. The first of which was by Ian Denholm (BSBI president) on the BSBI Summer Meeting in Perthshire. I haven’t visited Scotland since I was a toddler and would very much like to visit and look for wildlife there. Ian’s talk made me want to visit even more as they found some beautiful plants on their visit.
The next talk by the Irish officer on the Irish species project which aims to encourage recorders of all abilities to survey for certain plant species in order to increase our knowledge of their distribution and requirements and made me also want to visit Ireland (I have never been!).
The had a great personal interest in the next talk which was entitled ‘The new England Red List for Vascular Plants’. Pete Stroh, BSBI Scientific Officer, spoke about this superb new publication which I have taken personal interest in as it helped analyse some of my findings from reserves I have surveyed. Pete also seemed to like my poster on the topic which was rather nice.
The next talk was by Oli Pescott from the Biological Records Centre. Oli spoke about the National Plant Monitoring Scheme. The idea of the National Plant Monitoring Scheme is to encourage everyone to get involved with plant recording, whatever their experience and backgrounds. I really like the idea of this project as it uses citizen scientists and experts to get robust data and seems really well thought out. I look forward to hearing more about it before it starts next year.
Euphrasia (Eyebrights) were the topic of the next talk. These lovely little plants are rather hard to identify to species but help is at hand as there is going to be a handbook produced on this genus. Hopefully that will make things a lot easier.
The penultimate talk was on ‘Recording for Atlas 2020’. Jim McIntosh, BSBI Country Officer for Scotland spoke about the progress that is being made to produce an atlas of plant distributions for Britain and Ireland. Which reminds me that I really should send my records in to my Vice County recorder. The atlas maps should even be made available online meaning more people can access them.
The keynote lecture was by Professor Clive Stace, Clive is a god in the botanical world and has wrote many key books on British Flora. He was speaking about his next book ‘Hybrid Flora of the British Isles’. Plant hybrids are quite normal in the natural world and are thought to have been the origins of many new plant species. What struck me about Clive is his warm hearted attitude. Someone from the audience asked a question which was based on incorrect knowledge and then felt foolish when he was corrected. Clive however explained where he had made a mistake and would never look down on other people, after all we were all there because we love plants and want to conserve them.
All in all it was a lovely day and I’m sure I will be back next year when the Annual Exhibition Meeting will take place at the Natural History Museum in London. Big thanks have to go to Louise for organising the event and encouraging me to get involved with BSBI.