We (Martin Allen and Lesley Edmondson) were at the AGM of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) to raise awareness of ABBA amongst their members and to discuss ideas and options for work we could do in the future (and also let them know how the Worldwide Exhibition went as ABBA had promoted it at the 2017 AGM). This year it was held at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk near Liverpool https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/biology/ . BSBI blog http://bsbipublicity.blogspot.com/
Photo above taken by @drmgoeswild on Twitter (Dr Jonathan Mitchley) who teaches Field Botany at Reading University – they are holding a series of events next year to celebrate their 50th year of Botany Masters degrees https://readingbotany.net/
(the knitted chocolate-orange-cosy octopus at the left end of the table was a present from another botanist to Martin, obviously)
There were many posters on display about the exciting botanical research that students were carrying out and also information from personal studies that BSBI members had carried out on their local patch. Eight short (15 mins) talks were given on topics as varied as a rare plant re-introduction scheme in the north-west, gene flow across fragmented species-rich grassland, and how the BSBI national flora surveys are progressing.
The theme of “how do you use visual images of plants to engage different audiences at different ages with identifying plants and their conservation?” was a topic that Lesley and I were chatting about, in between talking about the process of creating botanical art with other attendees at the conference who came to our stand. People were particularly interested in looking at works-in-process; we had some computer prints of Gaynor’s sketchbook and Lesley’s and Annie Morris’s blog as well as some preparatory sketches and an illustration of mine.
Also present were a couple of botanical book stalls; Summerfield Books had brought with them a good selection of the latest botanical art books (https://www.summerfieldbooks.com/search.asp?types=Botanical+Art ) and I also noticed that The Wildflower Society https://www.thewildflowersociety.com/ had some colouring in sheets on display at their stall.
Finally, a quick mention to a very easy and contemporary way of learning to name native UK and Irish wildflowers. Go to https://twitter.com/hashtag/wildflowerhour?lang=en and then click ‘latest’ on the tab at along the top bar and you’ll find loads of named wildflower photos that people have posted of what’s flowering near them that week.
Thank you to the meetings/communications team (Louise, Ellen & Ciara) at BSBI for inviting ABBA to be at the event – we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.