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Lincolnshire Plants: Past and Future (popularly known as ‘LoveLincsPlants’) is a National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) supported project in collaboration with the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust (LWT), Sir Joseph Banks Society (SJBS), the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union (LNU) and the University of Lincoln. The main delivery phase ran from 2017-2021 and the five-year legacy phase of the project runs from 2022-2026. Born initially from the desire to secure the future of the LNU’s historical herbarium of c. 12,000 specimens, but with the aspiration to make a contemporary collection and in so doing training the botanists of the future. The historical herbarium, primarily the collections of the Rev. E.A. Woodruffe-Peacock (1858-1922) and those of the author of the first county flora, E. Joan Gibbons (1902-1988), but with some significant earlier collections dating back to the 1800s, is the largest repository of material from what is, in national collections, an under-represented county at NHM London. These items have been re-curated, digitised and incorporated into the British & Irish herbarium at the NHM, the specimen data and images made publicly accessible. This entire process has been documented in the reports below.

Since 2017, project partners have delivered training to local volunteers in plant identification, specimen preparation and collections care to enable the creation of a new herbarium for Lincolnshire. Through these activities we have promoted an understanding of the value of collections and their uses. The project has engaged with over 27,000 people, re-connecting people with plants, enabling people to rediscover their local natural heritage and be better informed about biodiversity and the environment. Knowledge of plant science is declining in the wider community and Lincolnshire is acutely short of younger skilled botanists, at a time when environmental concerns and awareness of the value of the natural environment and its appreciation is growing. To address this need, project partners have worked with the University of Lincoln on the development and delivery of their BSc Ecology and Conservation degree course while developing a core group of 18-35 year-old botanists in Lincolnshire. By making a contemporary herbarium collection, part of which is curated at the Sir Joseph Banks Centre in Horncastle, we hope to build capacity within the botanical sector and raise awareness more generally. During the legacy phase, the LNU will continue to develop a contemporary herbarium with Lincolnshire volunteers and our partners. To add your name to the collection why not join us on one of our field meetings. To get involved with herbarium tasks at the Sir Joseph Banks Natural Science & Heritage Centre in Horncastle, register your interest here: https://www.joseph-banks.org.uk/volunteer/ To find out more about the project, visit the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website.