Sunday, 20 January 2013

BSBI maps on TV: 'Wild Things' on Channel 4

The much awaited new TV series on British plant distribution, “Wild Things”, will be launched on Channel Four on Monday, 21st January, and the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) is delighted that our plant distribution maps feature so strongly in the six-part series. Channel Four has acknowledged the BSBI Atlases, in which these maps were first published, as “a remarkable record of plant distribution and one of the biggest natural history projects ever undertaken” with a lasting and worldwide impact on all biological recording. BSBI’s pioneering work, to map and monitor what plants grow where, underpins many of the stories to be featured and continues to shape 21st century nature conservation.

Jim McIntosh opens the BSBI/RBGE Conference
Image: L. Marsh
Trevor Dines, one of the three co-presenters on “Wild Things”, has been a keen and active BSBI member for over 20 years and was a key speaker at the BSBI/RBGE Mapping Conference in September 2012 (pictured on left) to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of our first, ground-breaking ‘Atlas of the British Flora’. Its 2002 follow-up, the 'New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora' was co-edited by Trevor with David Pearman & Chris Preston (photograph below).

On his home patch in Anglesey, Trevor discovered a hybrid between two of our native horsetails that was new to science and named it Equisetum x robertsii after local school teacher, Dick Roberts, one of Trevor’s botanical gurus. Dick was also BSBI’s county Recorder for Anglesey for over 30 years.

Co-editors of the 2002  'New Atlas of the British & Irish Flora'
David Pearman, Chris Preston and Trevor Dines (l to r)
Image: L. Marsh

BSBI has at least one such Recorder in every county in Britain and Ireland. Much of the work for both Atlases was done by BSBI volunteers, submitting  records of the plants they identified and recorded locally each year. These records were fed through our networks of Plant Referees and Vice-County Recorders, and then collated by the Atlas editors, with support from across the membership. BSBI  counts the most eminent British & Irish botanists amongst its members, alongside enthusiastic beginners - this mix of professional and amateur botanists is key to BSBI's success in pulling off "one of the biggest natural history projects ever undertaken”.  

“Wild Things” will try to show how Britain’s landscape has changed dramatically over the last 50 years. From Snowdonia to the Yorkshire Dales, from Merseyside to inner London, Trevor and his co-presenters will introduce viewers to plants with interesting histories and distributions, using the latest BSBI data to reveal what grows where today, how plant distributions are changing and, above all, how much fun it is mapping these changes.

Dr Kevin Walker, Head of Research and Development at BSBI’s Plant Unit, refers to the BSBI Atlases as “landmark publications that have influenced the biological recording of living organisms worldwide”.

BSBI President Ian Bonner said that the Atlases “provide the basis for our understanding of plant distribution in Britain and are a testament to what can be achieved by voluntary effort”.

More information on what plants grow where, and BSBI’s work to map these distribution patterns, is available via our website, where you can view the maps used in "Wild Things" by using the ‘Maps scheme’ pages here

For more information on BSBI, contact :
Publicity & Outreach Officer Louise Marsh:
Head of Research & Development, Plant Unit, Dr. Kevin Walker: