Friday 26 July 2019

BSBI Summer Meeting 2019: postscript

Limestone pavement
near FSC Malham Tarn
Image: Dave Barlow
After all the excitement of the week-long BSBI Annual Summer Meeting (ASM) 2019, I asked organiser Jonathan Shanklin to give us a bit of an overview of the week. 

He said "The FSC Malham Tarn centre proved an excellent venue for the ASM. The centre is set in a scenic location overlooking the Tarn, with easy access by foot to several interesting sites. Many others were not far away and we visited a few of them as a group, with some members taking time off to pay independent visits. The classrooms at the centre provided space for talks and ID sessions, which are an essential part of the ASM – not everything can be identified in the field". 

So how many squares were visited and how many plant records were collected for Atlas 2020? "It will take a while to collate all the records, but we visited at least 25 tetrads, so there will be over 4000 records to type in – some of the recorders were entering in the evening, and some have already sent them in on arrival home. Above all we were very lucky with the weather – it only rained when most people were beginning to head home on the Friday".

So what did Jonathan himself do to wind down after a week of organising excursions and recording? You guessed it - he did a bit more recording! 

Dryopteris submontana
Image: Dave Barlow
"Friday morning was a whirl of packing and saying goodbye, then off for some recording. Unfortunately whilst the weather had been great all week, it changed with rain on and off all day. I headed for an under-recorded limestone pavement area (amazing that there still are such places), but started on the general area of the first monad. I did begin to wonder whether I would get to 100 species never mind the target of at least 120. 

"Fortunately the pavement made a difference, with Ribes spicatum being a great start. Dryopteris submontana was more or less exactly where the grid reference said. Elsewhere a cave looked as if it might provide interest, but there wasn't much more than a hole in the ground, however it marked the start of a flush which ran uphill which provided a good range of species including Isolepis setacea which was my first sighting of the week. By the time I got back to the car it was gone 5pm, so I abandoned plans for a second tetrad - just as well, as five minutes later the rain turned torrential!

Jonathan is now back on his home turf in Cambridge and is writing up a full report of the week for the September issue of BSBI News so watch out for that if you're a BSBI member. And if you're not - well, you'll just have to join BSBI so you can enjoy three copies each year of our very popular members' newsletter - it's one of the many perks of BSBI membership.

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