Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Oxfordshire botanists out recording for Atlas 2020

The Oxfordshire Flora Group and the Tricky Fescue
Image: O. Pescott
Good news for plant-lovers in Oxfordshire, which has become the latest county to have its own BSBI webpage - click on the interactive map on our homepage to find out if your county has its own page yet. They are a great way to find out what's going on (botanically speaking) where you live. If you want to get involved in learning more about wildflowers, or you've just moved to a new area and want to get out in the field and meet some fellow botanists, there really is no better introduction than to go out with a local botany group for the afternoon and see if it appeals to you.

Oli Pescott did just that in Oxfordshire recently. Having relocated to work for the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology at Wallingford, he hasn't been able to go out with his old muckers in South Yorks this year, so he joined the Oxfordshire Flora Group on a recent excursion. You can read about the meeting here - the aim was to "bash a square" and record as many species as possible for the forthcoming BSBI Atlas 2020.

OFG in distance, white Knapweed in foreground
Image: O. Pescott
They found some nice things on the oolite, agonised over a possible Epilobium hybrid, saw a white Centaurea and braved the rain to reach an abandoned quarry where they found Basil Thyme. Sounds like a great day out and each of those 200+ plant species they saw and recorded will work its way through the BSBI process and, if accepted as valid, will show up on a map like this but with a differently-coloured dot, indicating that the plant was recorded between 2010 and 2020.

Oli said "The Oxfordshire Flora Group excursions are a really fun way to get to know other local botanists and to improve your field ID skills as a part of a supportive community -- botanists of all abilities are welcome! It was my first time out with the group, and I was made to feel really welcome. Atlas recording is a fantastic way to force yourself to look hard at everything you find, and the next few years recording for Atlas 2020 are going to be a great opportunity for up-and-coming botanists to cut their teeth on a really worthwhile project".