Leading international ecologist starts new role to promote biodiversity in Limerick

Limerick Voice reporter, Sara Pelizzoli, speaks to the BSBI recorder about his recent appointment and all things botany.

Oliver Lynch-Milner, plant ecologist and aspiring ecological consultant, was appointed as Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) Vice-County recorder for County Limerick last month. Lynch-Milner is responsible for the collection, maintenance and validation of Limerick’s flora, while also looking forward to promoting botanic in the city.

Oliver has been passionate about botanic since childhood, as his family were also very interested in nature. The aspiring ecological consultant studied Wildlife Biology at Munster Technological University. The course made him realize his what he wanted from his future career – to become an ecological consultant, a professional who deals with conservation of the flora. “Plants just give me a sense of excitement and joy,” he said.

Oliver Lynch-Milner out recording flora

After he developed knowledge and experience working in the field, he decided to enrol in a Master’s programme in Plant Diversity at the University of Galway, recently joining BSBI as a volunteer. 

Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, formed in 1836, is currently one of the world’s largest contributors of biological records. These data support scientific research and evidence-based conservation of the habitats and flora in Britain and Ireland. 

BSBI promotes botany to the wider public mostly through meetings, conferences, and record events. It has more than 4,000 volunteers, both professionals and amateurs, who work in various local groups to explore botany in a specific area of the country. “The purpose of this society is to encourage and promote botanical diversity to protect nature and flora habitats,” Oliver explained.

Limerick’s landscape

Oliver recently became Vice-County recorder of BSBI for County Limerick. As VCR, Oliver aims to promote the recording of native flora in Limerick. He’s also the point of contact for queries from members or citizens. “Limerick is well served at the moment: I plan to continue in the footsteps of the past VCR Sylvia Reynolds who made an enormous contribution to the understanding of the flora of County Limerick,” stated Oliver. 

The botany enthusiast is planning new projects for Limerick to achieve BSBI’s purposes: “I plan to run many events in the future which will both promote botany in Limerick and generate very important plant records. To give an example, the New Year Plant Hunt will be taking place this year; I will organise a group in Limerick to hunt for plants that may already be in flower in January.” Oliver also aims to undertake personal projects on the habitats of Limerick, like grassland research or investigation of Limerick’s city flora. 

Limerick’s flora

“Nowadays, more and more research is needed from everyone to contribute to the protection of habitats for the next generations. To give an example, there’s a lot of pressure to produce food and improve land, which ultimately is putting pressure on the natural habitats too, which are often reduced or destroyed,” stated Oliver. “Everyone has the possibility to make a positive impact, even if it’s a small impact. People should take some responsibility for preserving our plant species and increasing recognition of the natural species and habitats.” 

Oliver offered a piece of advice to give to whoever is interested in plant ecology: “Use the sources on BSBI website to explore woodlands and parklands. Try to encourage the use of native plants in green spaces and for the creation of wildflower meadows. Participate in projects that involve recording local biodiversity and report any invasive species sightings. Overall, get involved with the BSBI!”

Learn more about BSBI on their website.

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