Thursday 10 September 2015

Ellen Hutchins: Ireland's first female botanist. Part 2

This woodland walk attracted around 70 people
Image courtesy of C. Heardman
Huge crowds turned out for the recent commemorations in West Cork for Ellen Hutchins, Ireland's "first female botanist", who died 200 years ago.

We reported here on plans for the celebrations and those of you who follow BSBI on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the heart-warming images which illustrate this page. Hundreds of people turned out to find out more about Ellen.

One of two plaques commemorating Ellen
Image courtesy of C. Heardman
Many thanks to Clare Heardman of Glengarriff Woods NR, one of the organising team and BSBI's County Recorder for West Cork, for sharing the images on this page via social media. 

She and co-organisers Madeline Hutchins (Ellen's great-great-grand-niece) and Angela O'Donovan (Bantry Historical Society) are to be congratulated on such an amazing week of events, which achieved extensive media coverage in Ireland. 

Micheline (on right) tells visitors about
the plants of Whiddy Island
Image courtesy of C. Heardman
They estimate that the Ellen Hutchins Festival attracted almost 1,000 people to the various events, which formed part of Ireland's Heritage Week

People came from across Ireland and even from the UK. John Crellin, BSBI's County Recorder for Brecknockshire, travelled to Bantry and his account of the visit is here.

Demonstration by award-winning botanical artist
Shevaun Doherty at Bantry House
Image courtesy of C. Heardman
Events included two talks, seven guided walks, a demonstration of botanical illustration techniques, a children's nature event, two exhibitions featuring Ellen's drawings and specimens and the unveiling of two plaques to "Ireland's first female botanist". 

One of the walks was led by Rory Hodd, ace Irish botanist and bryologist (and a member of the BSBI Ireland 'Rough Crew') and another to Whiddy Island was led by Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington

Ooh I have some gossip for you - I hope Micheline won't mind if I tell you that she has been proposed as a member of the Editorial Board of New Journal of Botany, subject to approval by BSBI Publications Committee at their meeting next month. You can listen here to Micheline's appearance on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour' - I think Ellen would have approved!  

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