Thursday, 31 December 2015

Countdown to the New Year Plant Hunt

Seen in flower at Glengarriff NR,
Co. Cork, Republic of Ireland
during New Year Plant Hunt 2015
Image: C. Heardman
Courtesy of Glengarriff NR.
The calm before the storm... BSBI's fifth consecutive New Year Plant Hunt kicks off at dawn tomorrow - unless Oisin Duffy decides to repeat his party trick from last year and heads out just after midnight to photograph the first flowering plant of the year! We gave Oisin a prize for sheer nerve.

For normal people, the Hunt kicks off at sunrise tomorrow and Ryan and I will be manning the virtual desks. We'll be responding to enquiries at nyplanthunt@bsbi.org and receiving the photos and lists you send us there of plants in flower under the New Year Plant Hunt rules. These are very simple and are here, along with a link for our new on-line form to make it even easier for you to submit your records. 

Ryan will be concentrating on processing the data and I'll be helping people who send us their observations via the BSBI Facebook page and the BSBI Twitter account. And I'll be keeping you updated regularly on this News & Views blog! 


Ivy-leaved Toadflax seen by Phoebe
in Brighton & Hove.
New Year Plant Hunt 2015.
Image: P. O'Brien
With so much interest in the New Year Plant Hunt this year, Ryan and I realised that we would have our work cut out for us. But hey presto, this is the BSBI where we all work together to get the job done, so we're delighted to report that we have two rather special helpers.

Dr Ian Denholm has only just stood down as BSBI President and tomorrow he takes over as Editor-in-Chief of New Journal of Botany, but Ian has also offered to do a shift on the New Year Plant Hunt desk. 

He'll be working with Ryan on Saturday afternoon to handle your enquiries and incoming data while I go out Plant Hunting with the VC55 group.

Gorse seen in bloom by Karen in Devon.
New Year Plant Hunt 2015
Image: K. Woolley
BSBI Head of Science Dr Kevin Walker has also stepped up to the plate. Not only has he agreed to take a look at Ryan's analysis of results next week, bringing us his considerable knowledge and experience to help us draw some meaningful conclusions from the first five years of the New Year Plant Hunt, but when he heard that we were going to be really busy, Kevin very kindly offered to roll his sleeves up and man the desks on Sunday so Ryan can have a break. 

Kevin also took a look at last year's results and couldn't resist coming up with a cool graph and a few thoughts. You can read his analysis here.

The man himself has already been out doing a New Year Plant Hunt dry-run with his family so I'll leave the last word to him: 


. out with my 4 year old today and recorded 17 plants in flower! Why not get your kids out to look tomorrow?