Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

National Science Week 16 - 24 August 2014

Australian PlantBank Open Day

We’re saving the world … one seed at a time! Millions of precious living seeds from wild plants are safely stored in the seed vault. Sub-zero vacuum packs, tissue-culture and cutting-edge cryogenic storage techniques; visit our labs on Sunday 24 August to see just how we do it. Delve into the secret lives of plants - survival strategies, amazing adaptations, reproductive feats and more.

Join us during National Science Week for the Australian PlantBank Open Day. This world class science and research facility has only recently opened. The day will be full of exciting and surprising demonstrations, talks and walks including an education station with plant science activities. Our botanical illustrators will be showcasing their beautiful art and the intricacies of plants. The art won't just be on the page, younger visitors can wear their floral art with help from talented face painters. Scientists including the cool molecular team and taxonomists will be on hand giving demos using the microscopes. Take advantage of the behind the scene tours or a Garden highlights tour or download the app and engage with the self-guided tour where you can discover fun, interesting and educational information at your own pace. There will be a delicious barbecue as well.

When: Sunday, 24 August 2014, 11.00 am to 4.00 pm
Where: The Australian PlantBank, the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan, Narellan Road, Mount Annan
Theme: Environment and nature
Cost: Free
Other: Wheelchair access
Further information: Belinda Howell, Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, email or phone 02 4634 7933

ClimateWatch Trail Walk in the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

ClimateWatch was developed to understand the effects climate change is having on our earth's natural processes. It is the first project of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney trail was the first developed on the east coast of Australia. ClimateWatch will allow every Australian to be involved in collecting and recording data that will help shape the country’s scientific response to climate change.

On this trail you will learn:

  • the role of ‘citizen scientists’
  • what indicator species are and why they were selected
  • how to collect data by observing and recording flora and wildlife in the Royal Botanic Garden
  • how to use the ClimateWatch App
  • how to record data from indicator species found  in  your own area

ClimateWatch empowers every Australian to become a citizen scientist, collecting and recording data that will help shape the country’s scientific response to climate change.

When: Wednesday 20 August and Friday 22 August, 10 am - 12 noon
Where: Meet at the Information Booth outside the Garden Shop at the Palm Grove Centre, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Cost: Free
Bookings essential: as numbers are limited 9231 8304

Endeavouring Science

Back by popular demand, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust – in collaboration with the Australian National Maritime Museum – presents ‘Endeavouring Science’.

Participants will step back in time more than 200 years on board HMB Endeavour – a replica of the ship James Cook commanded during his voyage to Australia in 1770 – and re-trace the botanical experiences of Endeavour botanists Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander by examining plant specimens from Kamay Botany Bay National Park in Kurnell (Sydney) in the ship’s Great Cabin.

Discuss botany, past and present. Discover the science of cannons, astronomy and air pressure. Hear all about the diseases that afflicted passengers during Captain Cook’s maiden voyage to Australia. And, take in some sailing techniques from the experts on board.

Flora botanist Louisa Murray from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust will demonstrate how to make a specimen collection and guide participants in looking for differences between Banksia species, the genus named after Sir Joseph Banks. Participants will also take a look at how the plants of the Botany Bay area were used by the local Aboriginal people for medicines and food.

When:  Saturday 23 August 10 am to 4.30 pm
Where: On board HMB Endeavour at Australian National Maritime Museum, 2 Murray Street, Darling Harbour, Sydney
Cost:  Participants must purchase an Australian National Maritime Museum ‘Big Ticket’  $27 - adults; $16 - child/concession; and $70 - family
Bookings: Website: - then click on ‘Events’ (under the ‘Events & Activities’ tab)

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust & Taronga Zoo Education Partnership

The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust is again working with Taronga Zoo to offer National Science Week workshops for primary school students that explore the incredible strategies plants and animals use to adapt to their surroundings. 

Living in a rainforest is as demanding as surviving in the driest of deserts, but for very different reasons. Animals and plants are successful in both environments, but just how do they contend with the extremes of nature?

Expert biologists will deliver specialised workshops and video conference sessions to excite and inspire students to better understand animals and plants, and explain how we can help in their conservation.

School groups will visit either Taronga Zoo or the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, attending two one-hour workshops with a lunch break between sessions. For school bookings click here.

When: 19 and 20 August, 10.30 am to 1.30 pm
Where: Taronga Zoo or the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney
Cost: $15 per student
Bookings: For school bookings click here

Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust presents the ‘Dandy Lions’ preschool Science Week program – “Smelly Plants”

Dandy Lions is a delightful morning of gardening, craft, storytelling and play for young children and their carers. It’s especially designed for children under the age of five years. Join Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, education staff for: garden activities; nature-based art and craft; lively, interactive storytelling; songs, music and dance; garden discovery walks; playtime and fun! Tuesday 19 August and Thursday 21 August.

When: Tuesday 19 August and Thursday 21 August, 10.30 am to 12 pm


'Science in the Swamp' program at Centennial Parklands

Education staff from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust are participating in the ‘Science in the Swamp’ program at Centennial Parklands.

When: Saturday 16 August
Where: Centennial Parklands
Cost: Free


Australian PlantBank. Photos: John Gollings

Diversity Wall. Photo: Simone Cottrell 

African tulip tree. Photo: Donna Osland

Succulent Garden