Saturday, 14 March 2015

Somerset gears up for Atlas 2020

Now that spring is in the air, a young botanist's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of... Atlas 2020! Knowing that we only have six seasons left in which to record for BSBI's third atlas concentrates the mind wonderfully, and local botany groups are planning their recording programmes for the coming season.  

Pete Stroh inspiring the troops
Image: L. McDonnell
Liz McDonnell has been in touch from Somerset where, she tells us, "Somerset Rare Plants Group (SRPG) was pleased that Pete Stroh accepted our invitation to come down to talk about Atlas 2020 and how SRPG can contribute to it.  We also invited our neighbouring VC Recorders from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Wilts (sadly Sharon Pilkington from Wilts couldn't make it).  As SRPG has VC recorders from Somerset (VC5 & 6) and West Gloucester (VC34) amongst its members, we had most of the South West England recorders at this presentation. Pete gave an extremely good talk on the background, the likely format of the new atlas, the many types of guidance that are being produced and the methodology for maximum coverage.  

Pete and Roger Smith (VCR for South Devon)
deep in discussion
Image: L. McDonnell
"Afterwards, Helena Crouch (SRPG) spoke about the progress of Somerset Rare Plants Register and there was a lively discussion about how members can contribute to both projects by adopting priority species (or groups of species) and /or a hectad or smaller area to record in during the year. Helena and Paul Green had worked hard to produce a map showing recorded species per monad in Somerset (VC5 & 6) and this was a great incentive for members to record in hitherto unknown parts of the county and un/under-recorded areas in the forthcoming field season.  This will be very useful for planning the summer season of field meetings. 

"This was a wonderful opportunity to meet recorders from other areas to chat about Atlas 2020, recording in general and exchange ideas that could be useful to all.  We acknowledged that the border areas between our Vice Counties often got neglected and suggestions were made for more cooperation and perhaps joint border field meetings".