Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Phoebe's 3 botanical wishes for 2015

For recording on two landmasses for the BSBI New Year Plant Hunt, botanist Phoebe O'Brien wins this year's Phil Collins Tribute Award and the chance to share her 3 botanical wishes for 2015 with all of you. Phoebe says:

Ivy-leaved Toadflax
Image: Marc Cruise Photography
"My first wish is for support for the Galway Botanic Garden project nursery. Galway Botanic Garden is a project that some fellow students and I started a few years ago to see if we could set up a Botanic Garden of native Irish plants in Galway. This year we are focusing on setting up a nursery to grow some of the plants which we hope will become the core of the collection. They will be grown from seed collected last summer, some of which was collected by BSBI members. It will give us a chance to learn about these species’ growing requirements and have plants to show people who are learning about our flora. We will have costs in the region of €5000, and the more we raise the more volunteers we can support. If anyone can help us financially or physically please do get in touch via the website 

Red Dead-nettle
Image: Marc Cruise Photography
"My second wish is for extra-curricular support for National University Botany students. NUI Galway is one of the last universities in Britain and Ireland which offers a Botany and Plant Science degree. Having recently been a student I know how important it is to have expert help during the summer while learning field work and plant recognition and the wonderful Dr Micheline Sheehy Skeffington who taught me has just retired from teaching. There really isn’t much time in the curriculum for field trips unfortunately, so if any BSBI member is visiting Ireland and wants to come and take some students and recent graduates out for walks or give talks (possibly via the Botany Society) that would be huge help. They can get in touch with me, Maria Long the BSBI Irish Officer or directly to the NUIG BotanySociety

"My third wish is along the same lines: I hope that BSBI can establish an annual prize for the best Botany students at NUI Galway. This could be a free membership or a book prize. It really helped me that BSBI held their Annual Summer Meeting at Galway while I was in second year. I got to meet many of the members and go out in the field and learn so much. If I hadn’t had this in-at-the-deep-end experience I probably would have been much slower in getting involved with field meetings, recording and other BSBI things. So along with my wishes, I also have a thank you to say to BSBI! I hope all your Botanical wishes come true in 2015!" 

Daisy
Image: Marc Cruise Photography
I will ask BSBI's Publications Committee what they think about a book prize and run the membership suggestion past Gwynn, our Membership Secretary. I'll leave the first and second wishes to readers of News & Views!

Thanks also to ace Irish photographer and wild flower recorder Marc Cruise, who very kindly supplied the images on this page, of plants which Phoebe saw on her Plant Hunt but didn't have a chance to photograph. Watch this space for a post coming soon about Marc's work and his fabulous Plant ID Quiz.