The first bit of good news is that BSBI membership is still £30 per year (38 euros if you are based in the Republic of Ireland) - once again this year, we haven't increased the subscription.
If you are 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 2019, your membership starts at once! So you could enjoy 15 months of benefits for the cost of 12 months. You wouldn't need to pay again until January 2020.
Now about those benefits: you get three print copies each year of BSBI News, our very popular membership newsletter. You get access to all the papers published in New Journal of Botany, our scientific journal which ran from 2011 to the end of last year. You'll be able to find out about its replacement, British & Irish Botany, on these pages later this month, so watch this space.
Next, you'll have 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.
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.
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 four 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.
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).
You will also be able to save even more money on BSBI books and other selected titles. There are pre-publication offers on BSBI titles such as Threatened Plants in Britain and Ireland (members saved £5 on this title) and The Discovery of the Native Flora of Britain & Ireland (members saved £6 on this title); and there are pre-publication offers on BSBI Handbooks, such as the recent Eyebright Handbook (members saved £4.50 on this title).
As a BSBI member you can benefit from special offers on BSBI titles and other selected titles sold by our bookseller, Summerfield Books. They are currently advertising 44 different titles in the BSBI members section. As an example, they are currently offering Rose & O'Reilly's Wildflower Key at £20 - a very popular title if you are keen to get involved with plant ID.
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 training course) - you don't have to be a BSBI member but, as the Training page makes clear, "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 books. You also have the pleasure of supporting BSBI's important work and helping us further our aims.
And if you join in October, you will be paying just £2 per month for all those benefits until the end of next year!
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 enjoy becoming a member?