2016 Conference

National Recording Schemes and Societies - celebrating the past, looking to the future

Thursday 12th - Saturday 14th May 2016 at Lancaster University

NFBR's 2016 conference was organised in partnership with the Biological Records Centre.  It was held on the 12th-13th May at Lancaster University followed by a field trip to the Forest of Bowland AONB on the 14th May.   We would like to thank all the speakers, chairs, workshop facilitators and exhibitors for their excellent contributions, all our delegates for their enthusiastic participation in discussions, and Jon Hickling for leading a wonderful field trip.

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The inspiring and long-standing contributions of volunteer-led National Schemes and Societies (NSS) are critical to biological recording in the UK.  NSS perform many and varied roles, from engaging and supporting recorders to interpreting data and identifying trends.  As a group, they are as diverse as the wide range of taxa they represent, for example in terms of age, size, capacity and organisational structure.  While their aims and motivations vary, core values include improving our understanding of the UK’s biodiversity, providing information to help conserve it and creating opportunities for others to learn about and enjoy it.

Their contribution is widely appreciated and hugely valued by decision-makers, conservation practitioners and researchers.  NSS face challenges, such as turnover of members, competition for resources and increasing demands on their time and expertise, but also new opportunities arising from emerging technology, growing interest in and support for ‘citizen science’ and an increased need for biodiversity surveillance and monitoring.  The NSS, in all their guises, show great resourcefulness and innovation in rising to these challenges and seizing opportunities.  The conference will celebrate the achievements of NSS and help to build on these achievements in future by:

·         Highlighting the crucial and evolving role of volunteer-led NSS in UK biological recording

·         Raising awareness of resources and opportunities available to NSS and their volunteer recorders

·         Facilitating collaboration between NSS and other partners on local and national scales to achieve common goals

The conference consisted of presentations, speed talks, a poster exhibition and discussion workshops.  A report of the conference will be published in the NFBR Newsletter.

Photographs of the Forest of Bowland AONB courtesy of Jon Hickling.  L-R: Jawthornthwaite Fell, Myttons Meadow, Tarnbrook and Roeburndale Woods.  Banner image: Hammerton Mere.