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
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
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":