I often think it would be nice to meet other iSpotters - do any of you ever get together?
but the various organisations of which I am a member meet and involve several iSpot-ers. Have a look for your local natural history society and join that and you will likely meet others from iSpot (and other non-iSpoting naturalists who are just as interesting).
I've checked the listing of the Natural History Museam and sadly, my local group (I'm just south of Oxford) appears to have ceased.
The Oxford Rare Plants group appears to be the only other local-ish thing, and I really don't think I am quite in the market for something that exclusive!
But I will keep looking!
How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
Botanical Society of the British Isles may have a local group near you if plants are your thing.
Similarly RSPB tends to have locally active groups (if you do birds).
For lepidoptera Butterfly Conservation (who also do moths) tend to have active local groups as well.
Local entomology for other groups can be a bit hit and miss (there are far fewer non-lepidoptera enromologists than most other things) but you could contact the AES and see if they do anything local to you.
...the BSBI don't have a group local to me (that was my first thought) and yes, it's only botany that I'm interested in.
BTW have learned something today: when googling for natural history groups, it's important to know how to spell naturalist, as opposed to naturist...
"BTW have learned something today: when googling for natural history groups, it's important to know how to spell naturalist, as opposed to naturist..."
But I bet the latter enlarges your horizons for meeting people ... ;-)
Anyhow, the BSBI doesn't have a formal system of local groups, but it may well be that your Vice-County Recorder is in touch with or part of informal local groups.
Checking the BSBI website at http://www.bsbi.org.uk/recording.html, I note that the Oxfordshire recorder cannot be contacted directly online [and neither can I, I note, which I must alter].
However, you can send a message via Alex Lockton I would think. VC Recorders should promote and foster local interest, so this is an entirely legitimate query.
iSpot themselves are paranoid about members contacting one another, which can be very frustrating at times. Since they emphasise that they want to be accessible to younger members, I can understand the ban on personal messages. Dunno if Jimmy Savile was ever a member, but it's a theoretical concern. However, it seems to me that adult members should be able to opt in on their profiles to receive private messages and undoubtedly it would benefit many to do so.
...not nekkid people! *blushes*
I am a member of the BSBI but frankly, I have found them less than helpful.
The business of not being able to contact the CV recorder by email is ridiculous (glad to hear that you are adjusting your own contactability) - I have never met a VC recorder but I imagine them to be senior people, very knowledgeable, probably very busy: and I simply cannot phone up a complete stranger, not knowing what I am interrupting, to say "oh, hi, errr, I'm interested....errr, sorry if you're busy... errr, don't quite know what I want to ask really."
Nope, can't do it.
However, if I could email, then I could take the time to compose an introduction, explanation, and request, knowing that it would be read at a time to suit the recipient.
So if the Oxfordshire VC recorder is out there, please, PLEASE!, get email!!
Regarding personal messages on iSpot, I read the forum comments about it, and although I would like a way to speak to members "offline", I can see their point about keeping it all visible, what with the recent scandals etc.
They do allow us to add our websites to our sigs, (as you have done), so anyone wanting to contact you direct would just go to your website and contact you through that. Although of course that only works if the person you want to contact has a website!
It is OK, I believe, to put a web address in your iSpot profile that links to a page where you are allowed to give some kind of contact details. This is not necessarily a personal website.
Rachy wrote: "I have never met a VC recorder but I imagine them to be senior people, very knowledgeable, probably very busy."
Oh yes, how true this is. If you do meet a VC recorder, you can recognise us by our stately posture and regal gait, and in the right lighting you can see a faint golden crown hanging over our heads, like a halo. For all that, we are mostly very approachable, provided you kneel in a suitably respectful manner. :-)
And we do welcome anyone new and enthusiastic, especially those who might provide records. I was on the telephone to another vc recorder this evening and she reminds me that in the latest list of responsibilities of a vc recorder (which I probably didn't read), it is a specific duty to foster local interest.
I don't know the Oxford recorder very well (think I discussed Euphrasia with him once at a conference) but I am sure he would not mind being contacted. It may be that he doesn't want his e-mail on open display (and I do know one vc recorder who doesn't have e-mail, for a rather odd reason that I nevertheless respect). Nevertheless, a message can be passed through the BSBI website. They send things to me sometimes, even though my e-mail is not currently public.
Of course, there may simply be no local group.
If you have a local records centre, they may know of or foster local activities (sometimes in cooperation with the BSBI, sometimes in seeming total ignorance of them ...)
I assume there is also a county trust.
Or you could move to Wigtownshire. We need botanists.
*peers cautiously up from kneeling position*
OK, I have emailed the BSBI to ask if Mr H has an email address. I will let you know how they respond.
Wigtownshire needs botanists? *packs bags*
OK, I take back the rude things I said about the BSBI being less than helpful: they have dealt with my request almost by return, and I have just received an email from the Oxfordshire recorder!
I must say that if I wished to contact you it would be very hard.
Only clue from Google was
"Fridays belong to dj ramone, who plays the best classic rock from the 60's to modern day."
I can assure you that I don't play classic rock from the 60s to today... old Alice Cooper, 70s glitter-pop, Enya, and the Lord of the Rings soundtrack is more my style. Which neatly ages me, doesn't it?
Well, I must admit, I didn't think that anyone here would want to contact me... but you have a point. OK I'll have a think about that. I have a massive aversion to putting my details on the internet (ytou may have read my forum comments about not participating in Facebleurk) hence the nom d'internet, if you can call it that!
The Ashmolean Natural History Society of Oxfordshire seem, from their website, an affable bunch. The Rare Plants Group that you mentioned are under their aegis but allegedly they are hard to find.
Apart from that terrible joke, I have to say that anything with the word "Ashmolean" automatically gets put in the "far too snooty for me" box... I am probably doing them a mis-service, but I feel they'd be a bit highbrow.
I must say that I agree with Alan, it would be great to be able to PM other members. There are sometimes things I would like to say that would not be of interest to others - for example, recognising another iSpotter and wanting to say hi.
I suppose meeting others could be arranged through the regional forums on iSpot, although they don't seem very active!
I had to look up the verb to PM
Something like http://www.proboards.com/forum-help-guide/private-messaging ?
I suppose that iSpot would prefer this happens externally? http://www.ispot.org.uk/faq-personal
I could not find out from the documentation the point of
"Log in to use your Facebook account with iSpot."
I must have missed something.
Sorry, yes, private message or personal message. It's a way of contacting somebody without revealing your (or their) contact details. Examples I use are Friends Reunited and Ravelry.
The regional forums on iSpot are just about dead!
I started there - the ones for South and South West had had no new entries in over a year, and that of the South East had nothing for over 23 weeks.
Not exactly vibrant!
Possibly because the regional forums have to cover all the "subjects", do you think?
It's true that our regional forums have been rather dormant lately, but we do have plans to encourage them to put on fresh growth.
We don't have plans to allow people to contact each other directly on iSpot, for reasons discussed earlier in this thread. However, if you do particularly need to contact another iSpot user you are welcome to use the iSpot contact page to ask us to contact them on your behalf - I know that's long-winded but it does keep the site as safe as possible:
And the only other thing that I would add is that wildlife groups are only as "snooty" as the people that join them! Always worth giving them a try, in my experience they are generally contain a high proportion of friendly, helpful people.
Entomologist and biological recorder