Thursday 20 September 2018

Promoting wild flowers in Ireland

Three cheers for BSBI's Scientific Officer Pete Stroh and Irish Officer Maria Long who have written an excellent article about BSBI for the summer issue of the Irish Wildlife magazine.

Their 1500 word article titled 'Recording our wildflowers in the 21st century' sets out everything an Irish naturalist might want to know about the subject and kicks off with a beautifully-written section about Atlas 2020. Here's an extract:

"Perhaps you’ve seen folk out and about, hand lens at the ready, writing feverishly on clipboards whilst walking at a snail’s pace, often kneeling in what appears to be worship, but is in fact the examination of tiny bits of a plant that help to reveal its identity. In Ireland, such recording takes place across 40 ‘vice-counties’, with at least one expert botanical recorder for each county..."

I think that's a great description of what botanical recorders look like in the field and hopefully will pique the interest of any Irish wildlife-lover who hasn't heard about BSBI before!

Pete and Maria go on to talk about field meetings and local botany groups which are thriving in Ireland - just take a look at recent blogposts on these pages about local groups in Dublin and in Kerry.

They tell people about the incredibly popular Irish Botanical Newsletter, expertly edited by Paul Green, and they encourage people to download recent issues from the Ireland webpage.

Then they talk about changes in Ireland's landscape and flora, with examples which will really get the message across to Irish readers, like this one:

"Many people in the midlands of Ireland might be astonished to realise that the Cowslip, a flower which was familiar to us all as children, and which is still visible along many roadsides, is now so rare in Northern Ireland that it is listed for legal protection. And even in the parts of Ireland where it appears to thrive on roadsides, you’ll struggle to find it within meadows or fields – agriculture has simply become too intensive. This story is repeated for hundreds of other species..."

The article ends with a note about the Irish Species Project and Pete and Maria make clear that the message isn't all doom and gloom - that botanical recorders can make a real difference and BSBI can help them do that.

If you're based in Ireland and would like to read the whole article, you'll need to join the Irish Wildlife Trust

If you'd like to find out more about BSBI and botanical recording in Ireland, check out the Ireland webpage, follow @BSBI_Ireland on Twitter or try and get along to this weekend's BSBI Irish Autumn Meeting in Dublin

It's free, everyone is welcome and it will be a great chance for you to meet fellow wildlife-lovers from across Ireland. They can tell you more about how to get involved and all the help and support that's available to you. If you can't get along in person, keep an eye on this hashtag to get a taste of the day's proceedings. 

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