|The SYBG inaugural meeting
Image: L. Hill
I think Mel Linney deserves a huge round of applause for setting up a new botany group in South Yorkshire and attracting so many botanists to the inaugural meeting for vascular plants. The group had a few cryptogam meetings last winter, to test the waters, but this was the big one: advertised in the Field Meetings Programme and via the group's webpage. How many people would turn out, and which plants would they find? Mel has sent us this report:
"Twenty three Botanists assembled for the group's inaugural meeting at Sandbeck Park, the 16th century family home of the Earls of Scarbrough on Saturday 26th April.
"After introductions, the party visited the now derelict walled garden where Narcissus poeticus (Pheasants Eye Daffodil) and Leucojum aestivum (Summer Snowflake) was observed before proceeding to the lake; the area around the lake is a botanical cornucopia with something of interest for every speciality. Some plants found included Campanula trachelium (Nettle-leaved Bellflower), Salix x holosericea (Silky-leaved Osier), Viscum album (Mistletoe) and Fritillaria meleagris (Fritillary) along with its white variant.
"The final tally of more than 150 species with eight on the Red Data Project list made this a very satisfying morning. For lunch, the group relocated to Roche Abbey, a Cistercian monastry until the dissolution in 1536. The afternoon session around the Abbey and later at Norwoods (SSSI) realised a list in excess of 150 species which included Helleborus viridis (Green Hellebore), Ribes alpinum (Mountain Currant), Rubus saxatalis (Stone Bramble) and Gagea lutea (Yellow Star -of -Bethlehem).
"The weather was kind, the company superb and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. The group would like to thank Rotherham Naturalists Society for organising the day but most of all a big thank you goes to Lord and Lady Scarbrough for giving access to a beautiful part of South Yorkshire that is Sandbeck Park.
To me, this shows how well the South Yorks Botany Group understands the importance of networking, and how brilliantly they have done this!
By building strong links with other local groups, landowners and authorities/agencies, botanists can gain access (for the duration of the meeting only) to sites where they can see nice plants; more people get to find out what BSBI botanists do and how nice they are (!); and of course all those species the group recorded will feed into the BSBI database of what grows where and how this is changing over time.
Their next meeting will be at Wombwell Wood on 17th May and you can contact Mel if you wish to attend. The bluebells may be over by then, so S. Yorks botanists may have to make do with these virtual Bluebells, courtesy of our President - thanks Ian!