Thursday, 21 December 2017

New Year Plant Hunt 2018: invitation to take part

Winter Heliotrope blooming in Devon
New Year's Day 2017
Image: Karen Woolley
For the seventh consecutive year, you are cordially invited to take part in BSBI's New Year Plant Hunt

We encourage plant lovers across Britain and Ireland to go out and record any wild flowers you can find in bloom over the New Year period. 

This year's New Year Plant Hunt runs from Saturday 30th December until Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

To find out more about this year's Hunt, how to take part and how to follow everyone's results as they come in, please visit this page.

You can go out recording on your own, or with friends and family, or you might prefer to join an organised group - click here to see some of the group meetings we know about or contact your County Recorder to see if anything is planned in your local area.


Ciara with a Shepherd's-Purse spotted
in bloom during the 2017 New Year
Plant Hunt in Leicester
Image: Keechy Akkerman
Last year we introduced a recording app to help you record plants you spotted in bloom and to make it quicker for us to process your records - we received more than 7,000 records last year so it is no longer possible to copy over your finds from spreadsheets and tweets! 

The app worked well but this year we have tried to make things even easier for you. There is a very simple recording form which you can use on your smartphone or on your computer. More details here on how to use the form. 

If you run into any problems, you can email the New Year Plant Hunt support team at nyplanthunt@bsbi.org

Ciara, Ellen, Jo, Richard and I (Louise) will be working shifts and ready to help you with any queries. 

Also on the support team this year are BSBI Database Officer Tom Humphrey (technical advice), Ian Denholm, ace botanist and Chair of BSBI's Board of Trustees (who can advise on any particularly tricky plant identifications) and BSBI Head of Science Kevin Walker, whose real work starts once all the records are in - he will be analysing them and then reporting back on what they tell us. 


Some of the flowers spotted blooming
in East Sussex, 2nd January 2017
Image: Kate Gold
We will need to receive all your records by midnight on Friday, 5th January so Kevin can get started on his analysis and report back to all of us (and to our media contacts) before the end of the month.

The idea of the New Year Plant Hunt is to build up a clearer picture of which plants are in bloom in the middle of winter and how this might be changing over time.

In 2016 we recorded a total of 611 different taxa (species, hybrids and escaped garden cultivars) and in 2017 that total was 492, once Head of Science Kevin Walker had been through all the records and removed any duplicates, mis-identifications or invalid records.


New Year Plant Hunters in West Cork,
Ireland, 2017
Image: Clare Heardman
In 2017, more people took part in the Hunt than ever before and we received more lists but we actually recorded fewer kinds of plants than the previous year when weather was a little milder. 

It will be interesting to see how the recent snow across much of the country affects what we find in bloom this time. 

Watch this space from 30th December for daily reports on the 2018 New Year Plant Hunt. 

You can also follow results as they come in on this page or via our Twitter feed. Happy hunting!