Friday, 25 October 2013

Lots on offer for botanists in north Wales. 

Nigel Brown (left) and BSBI members, Treborth Botanic Garden
Image: R. Parry 
Great to see the recent post on Sarah Stille's Blog: she attended the Cofnod Conference for biological recorders on Tuesday and presented a poster about local botany groups. 

Cofnod is Welsh for 'record' and the Conference was organised by North Wales Local Records Centre. Ian Bonner was there to talk about work towards a new Flora of Anglesey. He was BSBI's President until Ian Denholm took over in June, and I hope he enjoyed seeing some of the fruits of his and Pippa's hard work to support botanical recording in north Wales. 

Apparently there is now a local group in every vice-county in north Wales - excellent news for anyone in the area who wants to make a start on identifying or recording plants. 

With local botany groups popping up all over the place, maybe we need a collective noun for them - a blossoming? a stand of local groups? Please send me some better suggestions! 

Sarah tells us that she and the other Cofnod delegates enjoyed a talk from Nigel Brown of Treborth Botanic Gardens. Anyone who visited Treborth as part of the post-AGM programme of fieldtrips in June can vouch for Nigel's skills as a communicator and he has achieved amazing things at Treborth on a tiny budget. 

We loved the NVC woodland garden, showing the trees and ground flora indicative of different types of woodland, and also admired the cunning construction of the pond. A "rill" around the edge brought marginal plants right to eye-level for a small child, and was buzzing with dragonflies and bees when we visited - a great way for children to stay safe but get close to wildlife. 


Nigel Brown shows BSBI members around the glasshouse
Treborth 2013
Image: L. Marsh
We were also impressed by the patches of wildflower meadow: Nigel explained that each of these patches was micro-managed in a slightly different way, for example by pinching out the plantain flowers in one patch before they could set seed. This was an excellent way to demonstrate how tiny changes in management can have a huge impact, easily visible to a non-botanist. And once you've seen a couple of the patches, you can't wait to set off round the Gardens and look at every single one, to see how they differ from their fellows. 

A very clever idea, and there were lots more. Treborth is a real jewel among botanic gardens, and I do urge you to visit if you are in the area.

BSBI stand at  the VC55 Recorders Conference 2013
Image: K. Field
All credit to North Wales Local Records Centre for organising this regional conference for recorders. We have a similar annual conference in VC55, run successfully by our Local Authority-funded Environmental Records Centre until cutbacks made this impossible. 

Fortunately, our local Wildlife Trust came to the rescue, and took over running the event. So last February recorders from across the region enjoyed talks, presentations and, of course, the VC55 group offered a stand promoting BSBI. Well, it wouldn't be a serious Recorders Conference without BSBI at the heart of the action! 

PS Can't really close a post about Nigel Brown without mentioning the Friends of Treborth, who not only provide funding for a (very efficient) volunteer co-ordinator, but were very generous with the tea and biscuits during BSBI's visit in June. Many thanks, Friends!