By biological recorders for biological recorders

The National Forum for Biological Recording (NFBR) is a membership organisation with the unique distinction that it represents, at a national level, the interests and work of biological recorders across all taxonomic groups. We think of ourselves as an independent voice for biological recorders in the UK. Members include individual biological recorders, Local Record Centres and recording schemes and societies. When established in 1986, the NFBR was known as the National Federation for Biological Recording and took the name of National Forum for Biological Recording in 2013 when it became a registered charity.

NFBR logoI think about the NFBR as working in two distinct, but related, spheres. Firstly, through its two governance bodies - the Executive and the Council - the NFBR membership is represented at a strategic level in the UK and has influenced recent development of UK biological recording infrastructure, for example the National Biodiversity Network (NBN). The NFBR is continually seeking opportunities to represent its membership at this strategic level and has ambitious plans to develop its influence.

The second sphere where I see the NFBR working is less strategic - but no less important - and relates directly to the immediate needs of its members. Two shining examples of this are the periodic NFBR newsletter and the annual NFBR conference. The newsletter is always packed with interesting features and is a great way to keep in touch with what the players in the biological recording world are up to. Martin Harvey, the editor of the newsletter, always ensures that there's something for everyone - stories of good practice, innovation and exciting new ideas.

The Edge conference venueFor an increasing number of biological recorders, the annual NFBR conference is a highlight of the social and professional development calendars. This year's conference promises to be one of the most exciting and best attended ever. The 2015 conference is titled 'A Question of Ecology – Answers from Biological Recording' and has been organised in collaboration with the British Ecological Society’s Macroecology Special Interest Group. It will run over two days at the University of Sheffield's world class conference known as The Edge on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th April with an additional field trip to Thorne and Hatfield Moors, the largest lowland raised mire system in the UK, on Saturday 25th April.

A look at the conference programme or the book of abstracts is enough to convince anyone of the careful planning and attention to detail behind the organisation of the 2015 conference, which has been ably led by Paula Lightfoot. Full details of the conference, including links to the online booking form, can be found on the NFBR conference page. I'm looking forward to the conference with great anticipation - to meet friends and colleagues, listen to some riveting presentations and see some exciting technology. I'm contributing myself by demonstrating the Tom.bio QGIS plugin.

If you can afford to attend one conference this year, you should give serious consideration to coming to The Edge in Sheffield this April - its a jam-packed conference put together by biological recorders for biological recorders.