Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Do you know your palustrine plants?

Ros and students learning in the field
Image: courtesy of Field Studies Council
I was just chatting to Sue Townsend, Secretary of BSBI's Training & Education Committee and FSC Biodiversity Learning Manager, and heard some surprising news. One of this year's plant ID courses, taught by Ros Bennett is not yet fully booked. This is unusual, as Ros's courses usually fill up really quickly, because her reputation as one of the best botanical tutors around precedes her!

So, I thought I'd nip over here and post something quickly, make sure our botanists knew about this rare opportunity to get on to one of Ros's courses. Take a look at the course details here and see what you think. It runs from 21st-24th July at Slapton Ley NNR, and Ros will be teaching ID of the grasses, sedges and rushes of damp places, and using vegetative as well as flowering characters to help with identification. There will also be some introductory work on willows and ferns, so if you've always shied away from these groups - now's your chance to make a start on them.


Coastal plants at Slapton Ley
Image: courtesy of Field Studies Council
I've never made it to one of Ros's courses - they are always booked up by the time I try! - and this one clashes with the start of this year's Hebridean Recording Extravaganza. But at Training the Trainers last year, I had the pleasure of attending her session on teaching the Top 20 Plant Families. 

Ros was kind enough to send me the presentation afterwards as a pdf and you can view it here. It makes fascinating reading if you have ever tried to teach - or been taught - the main plant families represented in Britain. Before you look at the pdf - which do you think will be the Top 20 Plant Families? Then see if you agree with Ros!


Slapton Ley NNR offers freshwater and coastal habitats
Image: courtesy of Field Studies Council
I do hope Sue was just teasing me when she wondered if having the word 'Marsh' in the title had put people off joining the course? Marshes can be very pleasant, you know... and they do support some very nice plants. So please put aside any palustrine prejudices you may hold and consider learning to ID some lovely Marsh plants with Ros Bennett next month. 

If you do attend, please let me know how you got on and we'll publish the photos of you and your marshy friends from Slapton Ley here on the News & Views pages, so everybody can see just how nice they are :-)