Wednesday 31 March 2021

BSBI County Recorder Brian Ballinger honoured for his contribution to botany

Brian with a copy of the Urban Flora checklist
Brian Ballinger, BSBI's County Recorder for Easter Ross, has just been awarded a high-profile honour in recognition of his contribution to Scottish botany.

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (RCHS) - known to its friends as The Caley - was founded in 1809 and is Scotland's national horticultural and gardening society. 

It issues a number of prestigious awards, medals and certificates of merit in recognition of the achievements of professional horticulturists, nurserymen etc. One of these awards is the biennial Dr Patrick Neill Memorial Medal, awarded to a Scottish botanist or cultivator.

Brian's botanical outreach display at the
Dundee Food & Flower Festival

 Dr Neill was one of the Founders and the first Secretary of the RCHS and instigated the award in 1851. The list of holders of this prestigious award can be viewed here.

Brian's citation can be viewed here, where some aspects of his contribution to field botany are celebrated. 

BSBI botanists will be aware of posters Brian exhibited at last autumn's Scottish Botanists' Conference - examples here, here and here, of his comparisons of the urban and rural flora in Easter Ross, of his work with the Botanical Society of Scotland's Urban Flora of Scotland Project and most recently of his talk at the 2021 Scottish Spring Conference, where he told us about his lockdown year and the local projects he undertook. 

Brian in the field with Dr Mary Dean 

You can watch a video of Brian's talk here but do also look at his citation to find out about some of the other ecological and environmental projects in which he has been involved.

Brian is a delightful and modest chap, not given to blowing his own trumpet, and when I asked him for a quote for this blog, I'm afraid all I could get out of him was "This really was a big surprise" and "I was very surprised but pleased to receive this award". 

I'm sure Brian's many friends and colleagues will be delighted to blow that trumpet on his behalf. Here's what Dr Mary Dean, botany lecturer and Chair of BSBI's Skills & Training Committee said: "I’m delighted that Brian has received this award, it is definitely well-deserved. I first met Brian and his late wife Barbara over 20 years ago on a BSBI field meeting recording for Atlas 2000. As well as their role as County Recorders, they kindly helped me, a relatively inexperienced botanist, with fieldwork and plant identification for my PhD. Brian is a good friend and a very active recorder - you can see more examples of his recording activity over the years on the Easter Ross county page." 

Congratulations Brian on this very well-deserved reward and many thanks for everything you have done for Scottish botany! 

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