Brian Ballinger is very experienced amateur field botanist. His working career as a consultant psychiatrist in Dundee is documented elsewhere, but Brian’s contribution to field botany, conservation and improvement of urban spaces is celebrated here. For numerous years he has been a Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland (BSBI) County Recorder for Easter Ross, a voluntary role, tasked with recording the changing flora of this enormous area, from coast to mountain top. Here, he has highlighted the fragile flora of locations such as Morrich More and been involved in protecting important species such as the Coralroot Orchid (Corallorhiza trifida).
He is also closely involved with the Botanical Society of Scotland’s (BSS) Urban Flora Project, collecting data on wild plants in our cities and towns, and has contributed more than 15000 records so far. He has had much advisory input into numerous ecological and environmental projects around Dundee through his roles with the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Dundee Naturalists and Butterfly Conservation. One example is his guiding hand over ‘The Miley’ (a SWT reserve), a one-mile length of disused railway track, transformed from a dump to a pleasant urban space.
Brian is always happy to share his knowledge and experience with others in both urban and rural environments. Each year he runs a botanical display at the Dundee Flower and Food Festival, he leads and supports many field meetings with natural history groups across Scotland, and his infectious enthusiasm was well demonstrated when he was BSS President, from 2017-19.
Brian’s work as a field botanist, who also effectively engages with ecological and environmental projects in urban areas, helps to enhance the understanding and appreciation of plants in local communities.