Monday 29 June 2015

BSBI Summer Meeting: part four.

Mossy saxifrage Saxifraga hypnoides
Image: O. Duffy
Irish botanist Oisin Duffy has posted two more excellent blogposts about the BSBI Summer Meeting.

His account of our visit to the Umbra is here and his account of our afternoon at Binevenagh, the final fieldtrip of the Summer Meeting, is here.

In his series of four blogposts, Oisin has captured in words and images the places we visited, some of the plants we saw and his personal experience of his first BSBI Annual Summer Meeting. Oisin and Mairead are very active biological recorders and you can see the high quality of Oisin's photographic work on his blog - click on his images to enlarge them.

Spring sandwort Minuartia verna
Image: M. Cruise
Horticulturist Marc Cruise also takes lots of great photographs of native and alien plants and until recently ran the popular Plant ID Quiz on Twitter. Many thanks to Marc and Oisin for allowing me to share their images on this page of some of the plants we saw at Binevenagh.

Marc, Oisin and Mairead, along with young consultants like Sharon, Toby and Donncha, and recent graduates like James, all said how much they enjoyed the Summer Meeting and the chance to spend time in the field with some of Northern Ireland's highly experienced County Recorders like Dave Riley (Co. Londonderry), David McNeill (Antrim), Ian McNeill (Tyrone), Robert Northridge (Fermanagh) and of course John Faulkner (Armagh). 

The County Recorders were all so helpful and welcoming towards younger and/or less experienced botanists. Oisin told me that it was attending a BSBI workshop with Ralph Sheppard, County Recorder for West Donegal, last year that triggered a more serious interest in botany for him and Mairead.

Mossy campion Silene acaulis
Image: O. Duffy
The excellent Maria Long, BSBI's indefatigable Irish Officer, was working hard and buzzing with energy all weekend, and it was a huge pleasure to meet our Chair Micheline Sheehy-Skeffington, Emeritus Senior Lecturer in Botany at the University of Galway
Mountain avens Dryas octopetala
Image: O. Duffy

I had heard so much about Micheline: the glowing reports from her former students, her years of active support for nature conservation in Ireland and of course her inspirational interview with Jenni Murray on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour

She didn't disappoint, proving as warm and friendly as she is knowledgeable, and a great communicator.    

As is Lynne Farrell, County Recorder for Mid-Ebudes, co-chair of BSBI Meetings & Communications Committee and an alumna of the University of Coleraine. 

We heard about Lynne's Wild Years at Coleraine in her very well-received after-dinner speech, which included the line "and so I had to climb in through my landlady's living-room window after midnight with my boyfriend's trousers in my hand..."  

All in all, a highly memorable Summer Meeting ;-) 

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