Julie Cox, GiGL Partnership Officer
The 10th November was an exciting day for GiGL. Drawing on the success of similar events by our neighbouring Local Environmental Records Centres, we held a London Recorders’ Day for the very first time. This was an event specifically for London’s recording community, bringing together people engaged in recording all genera of wildlife and sharing recording projects across the city. We were delighted to welcome over one hundred people to the Natural History Museum and overwhelmed by participant’s positive feedback. The event was co-hosted by the Field Studies Council and the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity, and we hope to make the day an annual feature in the London recording community’s diaries. A couple of members of our Board provide a summary of the day.
We share just one example of the many fantastic talks presented at the Recorders’ Day. Morus Londinium is using a combination of existing data, local knowledge and input from the general public to map the location of mulberry trees in Greater London. The project’s co-founder tells us more about the project and these fascinating trees.
We’ve been celebrating the work of members of London’s recording community through our Joy of Recording feature. This time it’s the turn of Alison Fure to share her recording history, passions and her love of inspiring others.
Enabling anyone who is interested to discover more about their natural surroundings is very important to us. One of GiGL’s core objectives is to ‘support and enable stakeholders’ understanding of London’s natural environment‘. We’ve been displaying selected data on an online map since 2012, however our previous website “iGiGL” was showing its age. We’ve therefore given it a make-over and are now pleased to invite you all to Discover-London through our updated facility. The new website is clearer and simpler to use, while still providing access to key London datasets.
Another way of sharing selected data is through the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas. This autumn we published our first open (CC-BY) dataset onto the atlas: a comprehensive dataset of nearly 95,000 tree records across Greater London. Whilst we’re often limited in what data we can make open, we’re supportive of the aims of the atlas and continue to find our membership of the NBN a useful resource. Once again the whole GiGL team attended the NBN annual conference for a couple of days of stimulating talks and networking with the wider UK recording community.
A couple of the NBN conference talks convincingly illustrated how complexity is an inherent and difficult to define quality of healthy, functioning ecosystems. This is one of the themes of this edition’s book review, where we look at Fencing Paradise, by Richard Mabey. The book, written as a response to the Eden Project in Cornwall, explores the historic cultural connections we have with plants and the natural world.
When GiGL become an independent Community Interest Company in 2013 we established a new board of directors. Over the last five years they have performed a pivotal role overseeing the business, ensuring GiGL is maximising its potential in benefiting the community we’re here to serve – Londoners and their biodiversity.
Having shared his knowledge and advice, previous board member Mathew Frith recently resigned his position. We’re very grateful for his service to GiGL. Our thanks also go to our previous Board Chair, Valerie Selby, who has faithfully devoted her time to the organisation over many, many years. This year Valerie decided the time was right to step down as Chair and pass the reins to Suzie Jackman who takes up the position of interim Chair. We’ve undergone an exciting process of recruiting more company directors and are pleased to welcome three new members to the Board, all of whom bring a wealth of experience and expertise. Richard Smith and Tony Burton tell us about themselves in this edition, and Jon Riley will undertake our Director Interview to be released in the new year.