Wednesday 2 October 2019

Best time to join BSBI?

Promoting BSBI at Ireland's first ever
National Biodiversity Conference
Image: C. Heardman
If you appreciate value for money then October really is the best month of the year for you to join BSBI! So if you've been mulling over the pros and cons, and trying to decide whether BSBI membership is right for you, please read on to find out about this month's special offer and all the benefits you can expect to enjoy once you've joined. 

The first bit of good news is that BSBI membership is currently still £30 per year (38 euros if you are based in the Republic of Ireland) - we haven't raised the subscription rate since January 2015. 

If you're under 21, or in full-time education and under 25, you can benefit from our heavily-subsidised student rate of just £12 (15 euros): we want to give our next generation botanists as big a helping hand as possible!

The next bit of good news is that if you join today (or any time for the rest of this year), once you've paid your annual subscription for 2020, your membership starts at once! So you could enjoy 15 months of benefits, starting today, for the cost of 12 months. You wouldn't need to pay again until January 2021.

Now about those benefits: firstly, if you're a book-lover, BSBI membership opens the door to some great ways to save money on botany books. You'll have noticed in recent days that we've been flagging the special offers on three major new botany books. 

Until the end of November 2019, BSBI members can benefit from exclusive members-only offers and save £10 on the RRP of Grassland plants of the British & Irish lowlands and a further £5 on the RRP of Gentians of Britain & Ireland. They can also save at least another £5.50 (that special offer price excludes P&P) if they order a copy of Poland & Clement's Vegetative Key to the British Flora 2nd edition, although you don't need to be a BSBI member to benefit from that special offer. (You're too generous, John Poland!).

And any BSBI member entering the BSBI members-only area of the Summerfield Books website will find special offers on no less than 51 titles this month! So if you're a fan of buying botany books, you can quickly recoup the cost of your BSBI membership next time you do some book-shopping.        

Apart from great savings on books, another perk of BSBI membership is that you get three print copies each year of BSBI News, our very popular membership newsletter. Here's a taster of what was in the September 2019 issue

You also get access to all the scientific papers published in New Journal of Botany, our scientific journal which ran from 2011 to the end of 2017. We've made its replacement,  British & Irish Botany, available free of charge to everyone so you don't need to be a BSBI member to view or download papers published there.

But you definitely need to be a BSBI member if you want access to our network of 100+ expert plant referees who can advise you on the identification of the trickiest of plants. Two of those referees deal only with enquiries from beginners, so whatever your skill level, you will benefit from access to the referees, who include some of the top specialist botanists in Britain & Ireland. 

We never share contact details of those referees with non-members - very occasionally we may name one or two in public, with their permission, but that's all! - but once you have joined you will receive a print copy of the BSBI Yearbook with full contact details for all of them and guidance on how to send any of them live or pressed plant material or photographs.

Selection of BSBI
publications available
from Summerfield Books
Image: P. O'Hara 
You will also have access to the password-protected members-only area of the BSBI website, where you will find resources such as: 
  • electronic versions of BSBI News going back for the past five years; 
  • an index to back issues of BSBI News so you can easily find articles published on any given plant species or other botanical subject; 
  • an electronic version of the BSBI Yearbook so it's even easier for you to get hold of referees and County Recorders
  • the BSBI membership list so you can find fellow members in your area (if they have agreed to share those details); 
  • a link through to the password-protected BSBI Governance website so you can see the deliberations of BSBI's Council and all its committees
  • you'll be offered ways to take part in BSBI consultations and reviews on next steps within the society; 
  • and of course you will be eligible to vote in our Annual General Meeting
BSBI is a society led by its members, for its members!

As a member, you'll benefit from special offers on publications and events - we give you advance notice of forthcoming BSBI events, conferences and meetings (most are open to all but some are members-only, or members have priority booking). 

Learn more about botany with a BSBI training grant
Image L. Marsh
If you're planning to apply for a BSBI training grant (they open on 1st January each year and you can apply for up to £250 towards a botanical training course) - you don't have to be a BSBI member but "members are favoured if there is competition for grants". And I've never known a year when there wasn't competition for grants! 

Finally, you'll have the option of applying for some of the great volunteering opportunities we offer - most of them are only available to BSBI members.

So, you get great reading material, access to the country's top botanists for ID help and advice, you get to shape the society's future and you get to save money on botany books. You also have the pleasure of supporting BSBI's important work and helping us further our aims

Join BSBI to see great plants in great company!
Image: L. Marsh
And if you join online in October, you will be paying just £2 per month for all those benefits until the end of 2020! 

Head over to our membership subscription page to see the various ways to pay and what you can expect to find in your membership welcome pack. We look forward to welcoming you as a fellow BSBI member!

PS If you're already a BSBI member, why not forward a link to this blogpost to any friend(s) or colleague(s) who you think might enjoy becoming a member? 

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