Thursday, 26 November 2015

Record number of exhibits for BSBI Exhibition Meeting

Orchid Observers: Fred (on right) & historic orchid
specimens from the NHM herbarium
Image: L. Marsh
Blimey, botanists - we asked you for lots of great exhibits for this Saturday's Exhibition Meeting and we expected similar numbers to last year (31) and the year before (32). What did you offer us?

44 exhibits to fit into the Flett Theatre at the Natural History Museum! It was tricky but we've done it, so you should find the hall full to the brim with botanical delights when you arrive on Saturday morning. 

Here's a taste of what we have to look forward to at this year's AEM:

Exhibits from BSBI members on the flora of locations including St. Kilda, South Wales, Cambridgeshire, Yorkshire and the Little Ouse Valley Fens. 

Testing NPMS survey methods: Kevin (on right)
Pete (red T-shirt) & Oli (blue hat)
Image: M. Pocock 
For orchid-obsessives we have exhibits about the Ghost Orchid Project and Orchid Observers, the latter featuring historic rare orchid specimens from the Natural History Museum Herbarium. 

If rarities and plant distributions are your thing, you'll also want to check out the BSBI Science Table, where Kevin and Pete can tell you about BSBI's Species Accounts, Atlas2020 and the Threatened Plants Project. And don't miss two exhibits from Quentin Groom based on his New Journal of Botany paper about herbarium networks and historic female botanists

If you want to know more about botanical training courses, or plants to get children and young people involved in botany, or how to get started in ecological consultancy, or how BSBI training grants can help you improve your ID skills, head over to the Training & Education area of the hall. 

John Poland (on right) is always happy to help
with vegetative plant ID!
Image: L. Marsh
Wondering where the actual plants are? John Poland will have some on his Vegetative ID Table (hopefully with one of his fiendishly tricky ID quizzes) and there's also an ID Table where you can bring along plant specimens and challenge some of the country's top botanists to help you identify them.

Combining the old and the new, exhibits on herbaria will sit alongside interactive displays showing how social media can help people get involved in botany. Kevin Widdowson will be showing us his Facebook group which helps beginner and improver botanists work through Plant ID keys. 

Strawberry Tree in flower in Co. Kerry
for the New Year Plant Hunt 2015
Image: R. Hodd
Louisa Armstrong offers a poster on 'Wild Flower Hour', which in just a few months has become incredibly popular. Every Sunday evening from 8-9pm, botanists take to Twitter to share pictures of any wild flowers they have seen in flower across Britain and Ireland during the previous week.  

Two final exhibits to tell you about, tying in with two of our speakers: Oli Pescott will be showing us some of the on-line resources available to participants in the National Plant Monitoring Scheme and exhibiting a poster showing successes from the first year of the scheme, to compliment his talk on the same subject. And Ryan Clark's poster and talk will give you the low-down on the New Year Plant Hunt - successes in 2015 and how to get involved in January 2016. 

Will that do for a Saturday in November? As well as eight talks, fully-booked herbarium tours, a pop-up natural history bookshop, guided tours of the famous NHM Wildlife Garden, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones?