Monday 28 October 2013

Welsh Committee meets in Aberystwyth. 

What most botanists want to spend their time doing is this...

BSBI botanists at South Stack after the AGM, June 2012
Image: L. Marsh
And they probably hoped there wouldn't be too much of this...
Welsh Committee Meeting, October 2013
Image: I. Denholm
but BSBI's support structure for our botanists couldn't function without Committee meetings like this one, held in Aberystwyth on Saturday. 

The Welsh Committee and the  Welsh Officers, Polly and Paul, met to plan work for the year ahead in response to the needs of Recorders and local groups from each vice-county, who in turn make sure that all our members in Wales receive the support they need. We now have two Welsh Officers sharing the post - Polly in Mold and Paul in Cardiff, covering the whole country between them.

There's at least one member of the Welsh Committee
under all that Gore-Tex!
Image: L. Marsh
But BSBI botanists don't just want to get out and enjoy identifying and recording wild plants - they want to know what other botanists have recorded in the area previously, and what changes are happening over time. 

And they want to know that the plants they record today will provide valuable scientific data to help inform conservationists, policy-makers, academia, the research community...
Welsh Committee Meeting, October 2013
Image: I. Denholm

Quite a tall order, and our Vice-County Recorders do an amazing job processing all the botanical records they receive. The Rare Plant Registers and Floras that many have produced are essential reading if you want to know what grows locally - take a look at some sample pages here if you are new to Floras, or find out more about Rare Plant Registers here. But these publications take years of work, so Recorders need all the help they can get.

And that's where the Country Officers and Committees come in - they provide a support network, bringing together all the key players at country level to better respond to the needs of Recorders in vice-counties across Wales, Scotland and Ireland. 

Ian Bonner, Plas Newydd Coronation Meadow, June 2013
Image: T. Rich
The Welsh Committee benefits from having two former BSBI Presidents sitting on it (Ian Bonner and Richard Pryce) and on Saturday, they also welcomed current President Ian Denholm, who travelled to Aberystwyth to attend the meeting. Ian is keen to build on the Committee's hard work and help BSBI  "join forces with other conservation and natural history organisations to maintain the profile of biodiversity recording in Wales". 

So in Aberystwyth on Saturday, members of the Welsh Committee were happy to forego a day in the field to work out how they can best serve the recording community in Wales. And to try and bring Polly's aim of a Rare Plant Register for every vice-county in Wales a little closer to fruition! 

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