Friday 23 January 2015

Euphrasia Workshops at University of Leicester

BSBI Scientific Officer Pete Stroh (on left)
and VC55 botanists examine Euphrasia sheets
BSBI offered two Euphrasia Workshops this week aimed at botanists in the East Midlands. They were a huge success and BSBI would like to thank the University of Leicester Herbarium for hosting both these all-day events.
Anna & Ian measuring and counting internodes 

Participants enjoyed a presentation on Euphrasia species likely to be seen in their local area, with helpful ID tips, and then we all headed into the herbarium to work in pairs at microscopes. 

Using herbarium sheets, we worked through the ID features for each of the target species. 

You may get an idea of the level of support offered if I tell you that participants received nine hand-outs each and one of them was the 28 page ID key that will appear in the forthcoming BSBI Handbook to Euphrasia.

The workshops were led by Chris Metherell, BSBI's acting Euphrasia Referee, author of the forthcoming Euphrasia Handbook and BSBI's new Honorary General Secretary. 

Chris and a herbarium sheet
A busy man, and his work on Euphrasia has taken him to herbaria across Britain and Ireland and on numerous fieldtrips

The workshops followed on from similar ones organised by Chris in herbaria around the country and at BSBI national events such as the Scottish Annual Meeting, the Irish Members' Meeting, Training the Trainers and the recent Annual Exhibition Meeting

At the latter, Chris also offered a very well-received presentation on Eyebrights - part of a three-hander with Alex Twyford and Fred Rumsey. You can download all their presentations from this page.

Russell & James examine key characters
Alex is also setting up a website which is worth keeping an eye on if you are interested in Eyebrights Euphrasia spp. 

He'll be adding more pages over the coming months, while Chris will be working with the newly-formed Euphrasia Study Group, whose numbers have swollen significantly following the two Leicester workshops. 

A trip to Shetland is on the cards :-) 

If you would like to see a Euphrasia Workshop in your area, and can help with organising and/or suggest a suitable venue, drop me an email here and I'll pass your suggestion on to Chris. 

Chatting about Eyebrights over coffee and cake
Judging by the thank you emails that have come in so far, 20 participants on the course had a great day getting to grips with Eyebrights. As the 21st I have to agree - great tuition from Chris and delightful company. Pix here are all by me.

Special thanks to James for bringing along the excellent carrot cake for coffee break! 

I can't wait to get out and look for local Eyebrights this year! Roll on spring...

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