|New Year Plant Hunters in January 2019
Image: L. Marsh
We kicked off in January with record participation in the New Year Plant Hunt - 1,473 people took part - and we reached millions of listeners via an interview about the Hunt on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
In February we launched British & Irish Botany (B&IB), our new online, Open Access scientific journal. BSBI Head of Ops Jane Houldsworth (aka Superwoman) managed to find a software/ platform package which allowed us to do everything B&IB's predecessor, New Journal of Botany, had done but for a fraction of the cost. As the year ends we have just published our fourth bumper issue and readers seem very pleased with the content.
|A rare photo of our limelight-shunning Head of
Ops, Jane Houldsworth (on right) with
Christine and Caroline from CASS
Image: L. Marsh
When Chris Miles, Chair of the BSBI Board, told us at the 2019 Exhibition Meeting that the collective effort of BSBI volunteers is worth an estimated £10 million per year, he wasn't exaggerating. Our Annual Reviews tell you more about all the successes our members achieve each year. Read the latest Annual Review here.
|Happy botanists at the 2019
BSBI Exhibition Meeting
Image: R. Blackhall-Miles
The 2019 Scottish Botanists' Conference was equally successful - the largest ever turn-out, as far as we know, for a botanical event in Scotland.
2019 saw some exceptional BSBI publications. Angus Hannah's Isle of Bute Flora went on to win the BSBI/ WFS Presidents' Award; the BSBI Handbook on Gentians - by Tim Rich and Andy McVeigh - is a fine addition to the series; Grassland plants of the British & Irish lowlands by Pete Stroh, Kevin Walker et al. is selling like hot cakes; and the 2nd edition of John Poland and Eric Clement's Vegetative Key to the British Flora is at the printers and should be with us in around a fortnight.
Image courtesy of
Herts. Natural History Society
BSBI data fed into the 2019 State of Nature reports - they made sobering reading about declines in our wild flower populations, which need the support of a dedicated botanical community, and the data we collect, more than ever if we are to document, monitor and hopefully, finally, begin to address those declines.
Fortunately our botanical community is continuing to grow. BSBI membership saw a 3% increase in 2019 and we passed the 3,000 mark for the first time in our history, ending the year with more than 3,100 members and extending further our social media reach. The more members we have and the more records in our Database, the louder our voice as we speak to policy-makers, landowners and agencies.
|BSBI staff, trustees and officers at the start
of the first workshop in the
CASS-led Resilience project
Image: L. Marsh
This note by Chairman of the Board Chris Miles explains what the Resilience project is all about, and how it's helping BSBI define what we stand for and ensure that we can achieve what we want to achieve in the next five years. Exciting times ahead so watch this space!
But first we have a New Year Plant Hunt starting in the morning and applications for our 2020 our grants programme also open tomorrow, so we can support even more botanists as they sharpen their ID skills and help us understand more about the British and Irish flora. Here's to a great year ahead for BSBI's botanical community and a huge thank you to all our members who made 2019 a year to remember.