Thursday 13 October 2022

End of a season: October blog from BSBI President Lynne Farrell

Comma on Bramble
Image: L. Farrell
Last month saw BSBI President Lynne Farrell in the Outer Hebrides, looking at some of our tiniest plants and spreading the botanical word to passers-by. This month, as the season turns, she is back in Cumbria - here is her latest report:  

"Now we are well into autumn with leaves falling and blowing around. Most of the flowering plants are fading, although producing fruit, and soon it will be time for another group or even kingdom to take their place. 

"Changes are taking place in the BSBI also, with Jim McIntosh, Scottish Officer, retiring and Matt Harding replacing him, and James Harding-Morris becoming our Countries Support Manager. We welcome the ‘new’ and also appreciate the ‘old’. Soon it will be time for me to stand down too and hand over the presidency to Micheline Sheehy Skeffington.

"Before that, I’ve been grovelling in churchyards, although not quite with one foot in the grave yet. These areas do have good fungi and are often old, mature grassland, which are not mowed frequently, and as a result can support a variety of wild plants and fungi. 

Apricot Club Fungus in 
Hemingford Grey Churchyard,
Image: L. Farrell

"I've invited Caring For God’s Acre, the churchyard conservation group, to exhibit at our British and Irish Botanical Conference (the event formerly known as the Annual Exhibition Meeting) at the Natural History Museum on Saturday 19th November, an opportunity to meet fellow botanists again. I'll be giving a talk at the Conference called 'Plants, Conservation and Me'. 

"Before that, on Saturday 5th November, the Scottish Botanists’ Conference will take place at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. 

"I very much hope to see some of you at these meetings, as I have missed sharing plants with other ‘plantoholics’ over the past three years. Micheline will also be at the British and Irish Botanical Conference so it will be a chance for people to meet both the incoming and outgoing Presidents. This will be the first time in the Society's 196-year history that both the incoming and outgoing Presidents have been women. Let's hope we don't have to wait another 196 years for this to happen again!"

Many thanks to Lynne for this report, and if you'd like to catch up with her at one of our autumn events then please use the links above to book your space. We hope to see you there!

Sunday 2 October 2022

BSBI membership: save money with our autumn special offer!

Tall herbs on Craig an Lochan
Image by BSBI member Sarah Watts
Last autumn, we launched our membership special offer by saying that 'in a rapidly changing world, our wild plants have never been more in need of the support, understanding and appreciation that BSBI is uniquely placed to provide'. Well frankly, that applies even more this year: we have never been more reliant on, and grateful for, the contributions of our fabulous volunteer members. 

So today we are inviting you to join our growing ranks, if you haven't already, and asking our members to help us spread the word about the benefits of BSBI membership - for you and for our wonderful wild flowers. 

So, at a time when we are all counting the pennies, why join BSBI?

First of all, if you join BSBI in October, your membership starts at once so you could enjoy up to 15 months of membership benefits for the price of 12 months. You wouldn't need to renew your membership until January 2024.

Yellow Monkswort
Image by BSBI member Simon Harrap

Secondly, we've expanded our range of membership benefits in the past year and there are even more in the pipeline. As well as the three issues each year of our membership newsletter BSBI News (check out the free sample issue and this article to give you an idea of the contents), membership brings you big discounts on BSBI Handbooks and other selected botany books, favoured status when applying for BSBI training and plant study grants, exclusive access to 100+ expert plant referees to help you with identification... Find out more here about all these long-standing benefits.    

This year, we also launched an environment-friendly paperless membership option; we revamped the password-protected members-only area of our website with a range of new resources, such as 100+ scientific papers free to download and a free pdf of one of our most sought-after out-of-print Handbooks; we offered members-only volunteering opportunities; and we launched two new awards for outstanding contributions to botany at local and national level. We will also be offering a whopping 50% discount to any member who wants to buy our third plant distribution atlas, due to be published in March 2023.

Narrow-leaved Helleborine
Image by BSBI member Patrick Marks

There is a third reason to consider joining us. Many of our 3,706 (as of today!) members carry out amazing work studying, recording, monitoring and helping to conserve wild plants across Britain and Ireland. But many others are simply happy to know that their subscription helps support our work to advance the understanding and appreciation of wild plants and to support their conservation across Britain and Ireland. Check out our nature conservation policy and our strategic plan to find out more, or leaf through our latest Annual Review to find out what the Society achieved last year thanks to our wonderful members.  

If you are already a BSBI member, we'd like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you for all that you do, and ask you to spread the word to friends and colleagues who you think might enjoy becoming a member - and don't forget that a gift membership of BSBI makes a great present for a loved one!

Our ranks are growing - an 11% increase compared to last October - so if you haven't yet joined us, why not head over here and become our next new member? We can't wait to welcome you and send you your membership welcome pack. Together we can keep working towards a world where wild plants thrive and are valued - and so are the thousands of BSBI botanists who support them.