Monday 15 February 2016

Botanical outreach in Galway

Cheese and wine before the talk
Image: D. Lynch
BSBI Irish Officer Dr Maria Long has been out spreading the word about BSBI among students at the National University of Ireland Galway. Their Botany Society welcomed Maria last month and her talk about BSBI seems to have gone down very well indeed! Over to organiser Deirdre Lynch:    

"For our first event of 2016 and semester 2, we here at Botany Society NUIG had the pleasure of hosting Maria Long, the Irish Officer of BSBI, for a talk on the work they do and its importance.

We had done our wine and cheese shopping and set up in record time, and weren’t behind schedule for once, so the evening was off to a good start.

"Maria arrived and introductions to the committee were made. As the crowd started to arrive, we happily noted a particularly large number of undergrads at this particular talk. 

Maria giving her presentation
Image: D. Lynch
"Maria began the talk with a brief history of mapping plant species in Ireland, and a run-through of how the technology for it advanced over the decades, from hand-drawn maps in the 30’s, to rather sizeable computers in the 60’s right through to the latest mapping software.

"Of course, all that lovely technology would be left idle without data acquired from the field work, and so this was the main focus on the night. As a picture can tell a thousand words, there was an abundance of photos showing the highs and lows (but mainly highs) of the field meetings, with familiar faces from NUI Galway cropping up in a few! We were shown the beautiful landscapes that are to be seen during field work, the various roles the volunteers play in plant identification, and most importantly, what to do when a ‘botanical huddle’ breaks out (join it of course).

Maria (on right) faces her audience!
Image: D. Lynch
"Maria also included information on the work of the County Recorders and how to get involved with the BSBI at every level of experience. We were all especially impressed with the establishment of the Rough Crew.

"After the talk, it was clear that an impression had been made. The discussion with fellow attendees was centred around getting out with the local groups. Stephen, whos in final year Environmental Science, said “It was great to be able to learn how we've figured out what plants grow where and the people behind it. Definitely going to join the BSBI”. 

"On the whole, the talk was a roaring success and Maria was a hit with everyone who attended. It’s safe to say BSBI will have a few new Galwegian members after this".

Many thanks to Deirdre for this report and well done Maria for promoting BSBI so brilliantly. Looking forward to hearing more about what the Galway botanists get up to this season!

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