Friday 7 June 2013

Countdown to some big changes...

BSBI is gearing up for its Annual General Meeting next week - it's in Beaumaris, Anglesey this year. We have some serious stuff to do, like welcoming in a new President, thanking an outgoing President and changing our name (!) and then we have several days of fabulous field trips planned.  This is exactly the sort of thing a botanist needs: an annual opportunity to see some rather special plants in beautiful places and in great company.

Spotted rock-rose - Anglesey's County Flower.
National status: near-threatened.
But first the serious bit: our current President, Ian Bonner, and incoming President, Ian Denholm, have been working closely with a hand-picked team to put the society on a footing which is more appropriate, legally and financially, to the way we operate in the 21st century and the sort of contract work the society is increasingly asked to do. So, we remain a charity but become a company limited by guarantee - apparently we were an "unadopted society" before which does sound a bit bleak. All this legal stuff necessitates a name change, and BSBI members voted last year to adopt the name Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland, but although our name may change slightly, we remain the same botanical society that has been around since 1836 under several different names.

Our aims are entirely unchanged: BSBI aims to promote the study, enjoyment and understanding of the vascular plants and charophytes of Britain and Ireland, and to use our society's combined knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm to help support the conservation of wild plants in Britain and Ireland.

Ian Bonner at Abermenai, North Wales. 
The "enjoyment" bit is important to all botanists, so we are grateful to outgoing President Ian Bonner for offering us such a packed week of field trips to enjoy after the AGM on Wednesday, 12th June. The 100+ BSBI botanists intending to gather at Beaumaris next week are looking forward to visiting sand dunes, sea cliffs, fens and meadows, each with a characteristic array of plants. 

This part of North Wales is Ian's home patch, and he is grateful to all those who have agreed not only to welcome BSBI members onto their land for the day, but also to help lead the walks themselves and add another dimension to our understanding of each site we visit. So, many thanks to the Meyrick Estate, North Wales Wildlife Trust, National Trust, National Resources Wales, RSPB and the University of Bangor - we are all looking forward to visiting you next week.

I have a new camera so am hoping to get some great images of BSBI botanists on the field trips and of the presidential handover between the two Ians. Knowing botanists, we'll be doing all the official stuff as quickly as possible so we can get out there and enjoy those beautiful plants in beautiful places... will keep you posted!

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