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Jane and Peter D’Olier

Volunteers since 2006 and 2018

Volunteering at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney has been a way for us to share our passion for plants and especially orchids, with visitors, staff and fellow volunteers.

We both have a keen interest in Orchids. We belong to a number of orchid societies, are orchid judges in Australia and internationally and have travelled extensively around the world seeking orchids in the wild and visiting orchid collections. 

I started volunteering at the Garden in 2018 prior to my retirement from work. At that time, I was looking for voluntary work as something to keep me occupied during my retirement with something that was meaningful and provided ongoing interaction with others, such as the Garden's staff.

Jane started volunteering in 2006 in the Herbarium Mounting Room, mounting or remounting dried plant specimens on paper. These specimens are vital for scientific research and there are over 1.6 million in our Herbarium. In 2014, she applied to become a Volunteer Guide and has been leading guided walks for visitors and answering questions at our Visitor Centre ever since. Jane also volunteers in the Garden’s library, scanning the original illustration of Alex Dockrill’s orchids.

A large part of both Jane’s and my leisure and social time has been centred around our orchid collection and volunteering at the Royal Botanic Garden, helping with their orchid collection, orchid illustrations and extending our knowledge of plants fitted very well with our interests.

What have you been doing during Covid-19 to keep busy?

Jane and I have been spending a lot more time looking after our orchid collection and the back yard and fortunately being able to return to the Garden's nursery when permitted. Jane has been working on the Atlas of Living Australia and the DigiVol program – a program transcribing herbarium specimens for the Edinburgh and Kew Herbariums. All virtual but very stimulating.

Learn more about the volunteer programs at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney here.