Saturday 31 December 2016

Communicating the BSBI message in 2016

Jane Houldsworth after a meeting
 with BTO, January 2016
Image: L. Marsh
It's Hogmanay and my first as BSBI's Communications Officer, so it seems like a good time to spill the beans on BSBI and share a few photos I managed to capture this year.

Did you know that behind every successful BSBI field meeting, conference or indoor meeting, every BSBI publication and periodical, every dot on a BSBI distribution map, stands a huge botanical support network drawn from BSBI's volunteers:

Our hundreds of County Recorders and Plant Referees.

Our thousands of members and supporters who go out identifying and recording wildflowers for Atlas 2020, leading training and local group meetings, writing papers and road-resting BSBI Handbooks and ID keys. 

Our Council and committee members, elected officers, Board of Trustees and local group administrators who give up so many hours of their time. 

Oli sits on BSBI Council and Records
 & Research Committee; Jodey sits on
Meetings & Communications Committee

Both sit on the floor after a successful
BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting!
Image: L. Marsh 
Then there are BSBI's staff members - I'm so proud to be on this team, headed up by our amazing Head of Ops Jane 'Superwoman' Houldsworth.

There's the generosity of members who donate to help fund BSBI's work.

And of course the many partner organisations with whom we work, such as the Biological Records Centre/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, who hosted our Annual Exhibition Meeting and developed our New Year Plant Hunt app, the Wild Flower Society who support so many BSBI projects and Plantlife, our partners in the National Plant Monitoring Scheme. 

We also benefit from the excellent work of former staff members - a shout-out here to Alex Lockton who did an amazing job setting up the old BSBI website a decade ago in a very different digital landscape. You could say the BSBI shop moved in 2016 to a bigger site with more space and we are adding some great new lines alongside all your old favourites! 

Sue Townsend (on right) of BSBI's Training
& Education Committee visits Lin Hawthorne
 at Haggewoods prior to launching 
new programme of plant ID workshops 
Image: L. Marsh  
Shout-out also to our website developer Craig Morgan whose advice and support since I've taken on looking after the website this year have been above and beyond the call of duty.

Most popular pages on the website this year were our distribution maps and identification resources, with the training, science and resources for recorders pages also attracting regular traffic. More than 1,300 people have downloaded a copy of the 'So You Want to Know Your Plants' pdf since June and the FISC Skills Pyramid is also very popular.

We are also getting the botanical message out via social media - our weekly #wildflowerhour slot has been "trending on Twitter" most weeks, as thousands of people share images of plants seen in bloom during the previous week and I try madly to keep up with them all and confirm/help with IDs where possible, or link to BSBI distribution maps, Species Accounts and New Atlas entries. 

Nick Moyes, co-author of the recent
'Flora of Derbyshire'

We bumped into each other in the field
He had Flora flyers with him!
Image: L. Marsh 
It's great fun and fascinating to see what is coming into flower across Britain & Ireland each week. More experienced BSBI members like Brian Laney and Martin Rand are also very kindly helping beginners with some of their IDs when they can. If you can help on a Sunday evening, 8-9pm, please let me know!

You may also have seen our new Get Involved page for people just getting started with botany, or read recent blogposts about the National Plant Monitoring Scheme, which is suitable for beginner and improver botanists. 

But BSBI is equally the home of the more advanced botanist, for whom we now offer updates from the Science and Training Teams, as well as reports on forthcoming conferences and research opportunities on the revamped News page.

And then there's the New Year Plant Hunt... Happy New Year botanists, here's to a floriferous 2017!

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