Thursday 24 October 2013

A ringing endorsement for local botany groups. 

BSBI's Council met yesterday and one item up for discussion was how we can better support our growing network of local botany groups. The interactive map on the homepage shows 44 county webpages with local recording groups, but I was able to tell Council about the new groups in South Yorkshire, North Northants and South Uist, who have been featured recently on this Blog but don't yet have a BSBI webpage of their own

So, Council members discussed how local groups might be affiliated to BSBI and what exactly constitutes a local BSBI botany group. Is it defined by the records it produces? How does it fit into any existing local network of conservation and natural history groups? Will it be supporting the Vice-county Recorders or simply adding to their already onerous workload? 

Jon Shanklin, Gwynn Ellis (Membership Sec)
 & Trevor James (BSBI News)
The issue of local groups was just one item on a packed agenda that also considered how to ensure that the BSBI's excellent referee service continues to thrive - which led to ideas around mentoring and how we can make sure that our older, more experienced members are helped to pass on their skill to the next generation of botanists. 

Several new BSBI members have emailed me recently about this, so it was great to be able to draw Council's attention to what ordinary members are thinking. As always, if you have any suggestions as to how the society can better meet the needs of its members, I'd love to hear from you at 

Gerry Sharkey & Sylvia Reynolds
Chairs of all three BSBI National Committees were also present, so we were able to make sure that our proposals reflect the needs of our members across Britain and Ireland. It was great to have both Gerry Sharkey (Irish Chair) and  Sylvia Reynolds (BSBI Vice-President) at Council, to report from their home patch and to offer the Irish perspective on our discussions.
John Swindells, John Poland & Chris Metherell

We headed to the pub afterwards so Ian Denholm could relax with a drink after his first Council as President. I was also able to catch up with Chris Metherell and find out which herbarium he will be visiting next, and I chivvied him to send me some good photographs. 

The image (left) shows Chris giving me an old-fashioned look in the pub afterwards. I clambered onto a chair to get a half-decent photograph showing how BSBI botanists can't help looking at interesting plants, even in the pub, and especially when you have somebody like John Poland in attendance! I could hear Membership Secretary Gwynn Ellis and Trevor James (BSBI News) chortling in the background at my pathetic attempts to Do a David Bailey, but at least I managed to get some photographs where my finger doesn't appear in the corner...

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