Tuesday, 20 August 2013


Best Stand Award 2013 (Conservation) for BSBI at Birdfair. 

Friends and colleagues have been contacting the BSBI Birdfair Team all day at publicity@bsbi.org.uk to offer their congratulations on our award. Best Stand in the Conservation category! Certificate pictured to right, just in case you thought I'd made it up, and here is my favourite image (below) of RSPB's Martin Davies and his daughter Mervy handing over the award to Rachel, one of our Birdfair volunteers, without whose sterling work we would not have won this award.

One of today's nicest congratulations emails was from Abbi at RSPB, who very kindly said "We were lucky enough to be awarded second place after you and it was great to hear who'd beaten us!" Thanks Abbi - pipping RSPB to an award isn't something that happens very often and we are still pinching ourselves!

We tried - apparently successfully! - to convey something of the enthusiasm which all BSBI members share for botany to hundreds of people who love wildflowers but don't (yet) consider themselves botanists. And I hope we managed the dispel the strange misconception that you need a PhD and a microscope before you can really start to enjoy identifying the wild plants of Britain and Ireland.

We were able to explain how BSBI can help you see some really nice plants, learn to identify them and then turn your observations into valuable scientific records which help inform policy-makers, academics and researchers. And we reminded people that BSBI holds one of the largest biological recording databases in the world, and most of the records in that database were collected by BSBI volunteers - all wildflower enthusiasts just like you and me!

So here is my Photo of the Year so far:  
Martin Davies (RSPB) and his daughter Mervy handing over the award for Best Stand (Conservation)
 to Rachel Benskin, one of our BSBI volunteers at Birdfair 2013.
Image: L. Marsh