Sunday, 17 February 2013

VC55 Recorders' Conference, Rothley Centre, 16/2/2013.

Our annual Recorders Conference took place yesterday and Nathalie Cossa, who organised the Conference for Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, kicked off by telling us about bats surveyed at Charnwood Lodge. John Showers from Northants reported on national distributions and range changes of hoverflies, and then Geoffrey and I gave a short talk about the VC55 group - history so far and some plans for this year, like the new communications tools Geoffrey has been working on. The group now has this Blog, a Gmail address and a secure way for us to store and share our site records and photographs. We will upload a copy of the presentation so you can view it - details to follow, and I'll ask Nathalie about links to the other presentations.

Mike Jeeves' 'The Flora of Leicestershire & Rutland'
was exhibited on the BSBI display.
Photo by Katie Field.
After tea and a chance to view the display stands (and yes, there was a BSBI stand - need you ask?) Ivan gave us a VC55 lichen update; Ian Merrill, the Dragonfly Recorder, told us about work towards the new national atlas and a second edition of 'The dragonflies of Leicestershire & Rutland'; and then Mike Jeeves, Head of Conservation at LRWT and BSBI's Vascular Plant Recorder for VC55, talked to us about... birds. But once the botanists in the audience had overcome their disappointment, we were reminded what a great all-round naturalist our VCR is and how many decades he's been at it!  

After lunch, Vicky Price told us about the Stoughton pollinating insects project and welcomed specialist surveyors, so a local group visit may be in order (and the Cow & Plough afterwards?). 

Sue Timms ( LRERC) talking to LRC delegates 

Sue Timms' annual update on the Leics & Rutland Environmental Records Centre made sobering listening, but she and what remains of her team are making the best of the impact of severe funding cuts with customary pragmatism and a wry aside. 

I think we are all just so glad that, thanks to the support of Mike and all at the LRWT, we still have a Recorders Network that can keep putting on these annual Conferences and continue to publish Leicestershire & Rutland Recorder, now under Steve Woodward's editorship. 

From right: Chris Hill, Jim
Graham, Jenny Harris,
Nathalie & Jools Partridge
Steve's closing talk, on how we can access the reports of Loughborough Naturalists' Club, reminded us what a local group can achieve and how many keen recorders we have in VC55. And some real stars like Mike & Steve - their names were mentioned, with thanks, by many speakers throughout the day. 

Nathalie and the LRWT team did a brilliant job organising such a successful conference and she really deserved that drink in the Woodman's Stroke afterwards.         

Posted by Louise