Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

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Australian Network of Plant Conservation

Technical training in seed handling for practitioners of native vegetation restoration - a collaboration with the Australian Network for Plant Conservation

Dr Amelia Martyn - Seed Research Officer

During 2012, research staff worked with the Australian Network for Plant Conservation to prepare and present a one-day workshop on 'Seed collection, storage and use for native vegetation restoration'. The workshop was the first of a series to be rolled out nationally and uses the guidelines edited by Principal Research Officer, Cathy Offord and Honorary Research Associate, Trish Meagher as a reference. It is designed to assist practitioners to plan, collect, store and use native plant germplasm in a restoration setting, with a focus on the use of seeds. Theory presentations, practical case studies and an opportunity to workshop issues experienced during seed collection and handling were offered, preceding an ANPC-run workshop on translocation of threatened species and a combined one-day field trip.

The pilot program for 62 participants from state and local government, consultants, community and commercial nurseries and universities was presented at the Australian Botanic Garden in November 2012. All presentations rated very well achieving a total rating of good plus very good of over 90% in participant evaluations. Tricia Hogbin from ANPC coordinated the course delivery which involved a number of Trust scientists. Bob Makinson presented introductory lectures. Amelia Martyn developed the course materials and presented a workshop session on 'Seed banking: cleaning, storage and longevity'. Karen Sommerville and Graeme Errington presented case studies on orchid seed conservation and storage of rainforest species. Collaborators from the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, the Department of Environment and Conservation in WA, CSIRO Plant Industry and Greening Australia gave presentations during the day and staff from our seedbank assisted with practical sessions.

A second workshop was conducted at the University of the Sunshine Coast in April 2013. Participants included Aboriginal corporation mem-bers conducting restoration programs, community nursery and landcare volunteers, local and state government staff as well as Greening Australia (Qld) staff and university staff and students. The program structure was refined following the pilot workshop, with a mix of practical and theory presentations throughout the day. The smaller group allowed for greater hands-on participation during practical activities.

Planning is underway for further workshops during 2013-14 in Queensland and Canberra and a second workshop at the Australian Botanic Garden, providing an excellent opportunity for transfer of seed science techniques and for collaboration with industry and community stakeholders.

The ANPC workshop, along with tertiary training provided to the University of Sydney prepared by Amelia Martyn, Karen Sommerville and Cathy Offord provides an excellent starting point for future professional education programs offered in PlantBank to local and international practitioners.

 

AM-Viability-practical-Image-Tricia-Hogbin
Participants at ANPC workshop assess seed viability. Photo: Tricia Hogbin

Reference

Offord CA and Meagher PF (eds.) Plant germplasm conservation (2009) in Australia: strategies and guidelines for developing, managing and utilising ex situ collections. Australian Network for Plant Conservation Inc., Canberra.

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