Monday, 7 April 2014

Local botany group crosses boundaries...

Vinca minor, Short Wood, Northants.
Image: A. Freeman
Great to hear from Alyson Freeman about the recently-formed East Northants and Soke of Peterborough Botany Group. 

Alyson tells me "The group is up and running again after the winter break (well, actually walking very slowly!). We have joined forces with the South Lincs group and had a joint meeting in February to plan our recording for 2014. Quite a few of us like to record across vice-county borders so this should work well.

Alyson (on left) & VC55 group looking for Herb Paris
Image: L. Marsh

"We aim to visit 16 tetrads in VC32 this year, concentrating on some under-recorded areas that the VCR has identified. Our programme is not scheduled, but organised by email and Doodle poll on a week-to-week basis.

"Our first outing was a visit to Short Wood, a popular site for bluebells. Everything seems well-advanced and we enjoyed a leisurely, if muddy, stroll around the wood. 

"We recorded 61 species and will return in the summer to add to this. A nice find was Ranunculus auricomus, no flowers yet though. On the edge of the wood we found Vinca minor – very pretty.

Alyson photographing Herb Paris
Image: L. Marsh
"We all enjoy learning from each other – one of the advantages of going out as a group is that each person brings their own knowledge and experience along, as well as lending many pairs of eyes to the plant-spotting! Whether beginner or expert, everyone contributes to recording the flora of our local area. And it’s fun as well!"

So it sounds as though the informal, beginner-friendly botany group that Alyson talked about setting up - when she was interviewed at last year's Birdfair for this video about local groups - has got off to a great start. 

She has promised to send some photos of the group in action, but for now here is further evidence of Alyson's love of crossing boundaries: yesterday, she joined the VC55 group in the field - or rather the wood - to look for Herb Paris at Great Merrible Wood in Rutland. 

We found it, even though Brian Laney wasn't with us. He and Richard Gornall were offering talks at an indoor meeting of the local botany group in Warwickshire VC38, organised by VCRs John and Monika Walton. BSBI botanists really do like crossing boundaries to see nice plants and spread the botanical message!