Volunteers in this small group primarily assist the Gardens to build its seedbank collection of local species for research and conservation.
The Seedy Volunteer program first commenced in the summer of 2011-12. The program targets threatened Grassy Woodland communities within the ACT and surrounding NSW Southern Tablelands. The seed collection is aimed at ensuring we have adequate stocks of rare and threatened species from these vegetation communities in order to undertake research and aid the recovery and restoration of Grassy Woodlands.
Over the 2012/2013 summer season the ANBG National Seed Bank made 115 collections from 67 species of Southern Tablelands Grassy Woodland plant species. Due to favourable weather conditions there was a long collecting season, beginning on 8th November 2012 and continuing through to 14th March 2013. 19 trips were planned and 17 completed.
In this second year of the Seedy Volunteer Program, 15 volunteers enrolled and everyone completed the season with no mishaps and a total of 360 hours contributed.
Each week during the collecting season, 3 volunteers join an ANBG staff member and drive off to search for ripe seeds in selected bush sites.
Seeds of grasses, non-woody and woody native plants are collected and returned to the Garden, where staff and the Seed Bank Volunteers process the material collected and undertake germination tests. Quality seed is stored in the Seed Bank for conservation and to support research and education.
The local collections made by the Seedy Volunteers and ANBG staff are of potential value for ACT and regional conservation projects.
Each Seedy Volunteer is initially trained in the protocols of collecting seeds and taking voucher herbarium specimens. They are then able to assist in the collecting process by photographing the flora and surrounding environment and gathering seeds from carefully selected plants.
Each volunteer is rewarded by pleasant days out in the bush, the opportunity to hone their plant identification skills in the field, as well as contributing to ongoing conservation and research on Australian plants. The Friends assist in this program by coordinating the volunteer roster throughout the season.