Monday 22 October 2018

Byron's Gin supporting BSBI's Training Programme II

BSBI's Training & Education Committee met in Shrewsbury last Thursday and one of the first items on the agenda was... Byron's Gin! 

This was not simply because members of the committee enjoy a glass or two of Byron's Gin of an evening (although we have evidence that they do - see below!) but because for every bottle of gin that is sold our friends at Speyside Distillery, who produce Byron's Gin, make a contribution to BSBI's Training programme, which allows us to offer grants to budding botanists and help them improve their ID skills.  

I was able to point the committee members to the list of monthly blogposts on the BSBI's Byron's Gin webpage, which include accounts on some of the botanicals used in Byron's Gin, as well as posts about some of the awards that Byron's Gin has already notched up in its first year of production. 

Mark (centre) helps fellow botanists work
through how to identify the many trees
found at FSC Preston Montford
Image: L. Marsh
As committee Chair Paul Ashton was unable to attend, the meeting was chaired by the excellent Mark Duffell, fresh from his recent triumph at the BSBI Recorders' Conference at FSC Preston Montford, where - as well as leading a very successful workshop in identifying alien aquatics - Mark was responsible for much of the smooth running of the conference as he took charge of uploading presentations, allocating the best classroom for each of the many workshops... lots of little things that make all the difference between an ok conference and a very successful one! 

But on Thursday, Mark presided over the discussions around all aspects of the Training & Education committee's business: next year's training grants and conference bursaries; volunteering opportunities offered by BSBI; support for the Young Darwin Scholarships; the progress of Identiplant (the online course supported by BSBI and the Field Studies Council); and a proposed booklet of protocols for running Field Identification Skills Certificates

Jonathan Mitchley tells delegates at the
2018 Recorders' Conference about the
Plants United initiative
Image: L. Marsh
The committee also discussed ideas under the Plants United banner which were the subject of a presentation by Jonathan Mitchley at the Recorders' Conference. If you'd like to find out more about this initiative (still in the early stages of planning) you can download Jonathan's presentation from the Recorders' Conference webpage.

All in all a very worthwhile afternoon looking at ways in which BSBI's Training & Education Committee, with a little help from Byron's Gin, can help support and train the next generation of botanists.

I'll leave the last word to Sarah Whild, who chaired the Training & Education Committee for many years, is the driving force behind the Field Identification Skills Certificate and is known to be a connoisseur of "mother's ruin":

The bird cherry is really lovely - and makes a donation to training for every bottle sold - get your orders in!

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