Worcestershire Record No. 5 Nov 1998 p. 1
As previously, there is little to report about the record centre except for the work being done by Martyn Hodgson, Richard Nicol and others in getting the historical records on to computer using the Recorder software. Martyn has written about this separately and I can only add how much this effort is appreciated by the management advisory group.
As most of you will be aware, other aspects of the development of our centre have been held up pending decisions at national level regarding our acceptance as a pilot site for the Linking Record Centres Project. First we applied to become one of the three demonstration sites and were rejected on the grounds of size and not covering a sufficient range of habitats (particularly coastal); then we expressed interest in becoming one of the second tranche of development sites but we now know we have again been rejected. This second rejection is on the grounds that we are not yet sufficiently resourced and established to take on the work. Naturally there is a sense of disappointment but now we know where we stand we can start to make decisions on our own future. It seems clear that further growth in the national network is some way off and that until the second tranche sites have been established and working for months or even a year or two we will get little help with the operating procedures, quality standards and legal issues.
Hopefully by the time this report is in print a meeting of the management advisory group will have been arranged, if not have taken place. We need to decide on our priorities, how these can be achieved within the framework of a business plan and, most importantly, how the centre can be resourced. Clearly we will need more hardware and software and, ultimately, some paid staff time to assist with managing the centre and the data base.
However, the practical side of the business - collecting and storing data can go on. I would like to see more projects initiated by the BRC or individuals to utilise the data and get it published in the form of reports on the county's wildlife. We have a huge amount of information of great scientific value and this should be publicised to raise the profile of the centre and demonstrate to potential financial supporters and users that investment in it is worthwhile. I look forward to receiving any ideas. We will continue to plan field meetings and the annual recorders "get together" and we look forward to another effective year in 1999. Perhaps as the active recorders you might like to give some thought to projects which we can take on. We will need fairly simple and easily defined projects to involve the public and, I believe, we should also be looking in the longer term to monitor key species as indicators of the health of the county's wildlife.
A key objective of the Records Centre will be to encourage and help new recorders. Any suggestions for training days, and more importantly, any offers to run one will be gratefully received by Tessa Carrick. The continuing high standard of wildlife recording and survey, which has been very much a feature of British natural history work, will be largely dependent on volunteer effort for many years as there are not enough professionals to undertake the task and with this in mind recruitment of new (and dare I say younger) recorders is essential. If you have the opportunity to bring a new person to the annual meetings or to the field meetings please make every effort to do so. I know some people feel intimidated and believe these events are only for the experts. We must dispel this idea whenever we can and get as many volunteers as possible enthused about studying particular groups in depth and contributing to the growing data base.
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