Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Irish Members' Conference: the verdict!

Maria Long, Gerry Sharkey, John Faulkner, Paul Green, cakes

Many thanks to all of you for sending in these images from the weekend's Irish Members' Conference at Glasnevin, and I've also received a report from Scottish Officer Jim McIntosh, who led a MapMate workshop the day before. 

Jim says "The Irish Members’ Conference was one of the best I’ve ever been to - and I’ve been to a fair few in my time! There was a lovely welcoming and friendly atmosphere and a real buzz.  It was very well attended with 90 participants in total.  This was quite an achievement given that the entire BSBI membership in Ireland is 150 (excluding those who actually joined on the day). It was particularly good to see many young participants – including several students.

Grass ID workshop
Image: M. Long
"Maria Long, BSBI Irish Officer, did a great job in putting together a program of talks and workshops which were informative and entertaining, and much enjoyed by everyone. 

"Highlights for me were the talks on Marsh Saxifrage, by Caoimhe Muldoon, Killarney Fern in Ireland, by Emer Ni Dhuill. 

"Unfortunately I missed Robert Northridge’s talk on Towards a County Flora, but I heard that it was very amusing.  I gave a talk on the Atlas 2020 – the very first of what we hope will be regular slots at every BSBI conference and meeting between now and 2020!

BSBI Ireland 50th Birthday Party
Image: M. Long
"After a morning of talks there was an afternoon of workshops. With military planning efficiency, Maria had arranged for the (90) delegates to participate in four workshops each from a choice of eight.  Subjects included Grass Id, Aquatics (two), Charophytes, Euphrasias, Ferns in Ireland, MapMate and the BSBI Distribution DataBase.  In the evening, we celebrated 50 Years of the BSBI in Ireland, with a wine reception, speeches, a sumptuous meal followed by birthday cake!

"On the Sunday morning John Faulkner (Chair elect, Committee for Ireland) gave an excellent talk to launch the Irish Species Project. This is rather like the Threatened Plant Project but which aims to gather more information about 8 species of conservation concern in Ireland over the next two field seasons. Much lively discussion ensued.  This was followed by short reports by half a dozen Vice-county Recorders – some illustrated – and a talk entitled The next 50 years - by Declan Doogue.

The cakes: 50 years of BSBI in Ireland
Image: M. Long
"The conference finished with a welcome chance of fresh air in hazy spring sunshine: a tour of the gardens by Matthew Jebb, Director of the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.  Thanks are especially due to Maria, helped by members of the Committee for Ireland, for organising and to Matthew for hosting such a great weekend."

And thanks to Jim for sending this report! If you are now kicking yourself for not attending "one of the best" BSBI conferences, I suggest that you keep an eye on the Irish Facebook page. The campaign to get Maria to Do It All Again Next Year starts here! 51st birthday party for BSBI in Ireland, anyone?