This is the grand entrance to the Natural History Museum in London. The front entrance is German Romanesque architecture style designed by Alfred Waterhouse, a young architect who was called upon when the original architect died. We all fall into our jobs in funny ways, don't we? But I digress...
This weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland's Annual Exhibition Meeting here in this fabulous building. I should mention that the BSBI recently changed names from the Botanical Society of the British Isles, but managed to hold on to the acronym. Nicely done!
So what happens at an Exhibition meeting? Well, I walked in shyly to find out and was instantly consumed by a small area of tables showcasing botanical information, fun plant identification curiosities, and plant research information. There was also a large book sale going on. When I say consumed, I don't mean by the exhibits themselves, but by the huge masses of very friendly, eclectic botanists of all ages chattering away about the exciting plants they had recently seen, discovered, or happened upon.
Following the exhibition period, there were talks by the staff and volunteers of the BSBI to discuss recent society happenings, plans, and updates. Then there were talks about how plant geeks like myself can use different venues to get others excited about the green leafy things around us too. We are encouraged to use digital avenues (social media like Facebook, Twitter and blogging) as well as tutoring, guiding walks, and engaging the public in all ways big and small. The highlights were from:
- John Tweddle (Head of the Angela Marmot Centre at the Natural History Museum) who talked about how he is working to engage the public at the museum with hands on science
- Brian Eversham, who is an amazing speaker and loves nature enough that he crosses over from entomology to botany. He can be heard in this video talking about the Wildlife Trusts in Britain:
It was a wonderful way to spend my day and as I was leaving, I paid my dues to be a member for the next year. I'm really inspired by the national botanical society and I can't wait to be kneeling in the mud next to fellow members looking at a new plant.