Botanical Resource Centre closed

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Plant identification in progress at the Botanical Resource Centre
Plant identification in progress at the Botanical Resource Centre

The Botanical Resource Centre (BRC), a former joint initiative of the Gardens, the Herbarium, and the Friends of the ANBG, has now closed.

The BRC occupied a room in the Ellis Rowan Building adjacent to the Friends Lounge. It was established in 2007 after discussions between the ANBG, the Herbarium and the Friends of the ANBG. The Friends agreed to fund room alterations and fit-out. The room was ready just before Christmas 2007, and the Public Reference Herbarium specimens were moved in by Botanical Interns during February 2008. The facility also has microscopes, access to an extensive library of botanical books and two computers with interactive identification tools to some major plant groups.

The Friends recruited volunteer facilitators, who were trained to use the BRC's resources and tools to help visitors identify Australian plants.

In recent years the technology used for plant identification changed, and the BRC's computer-based tools in particular became obsolete. Usage had declined, and since the extended closures of the Gardens due to hailstorms, bushfires smoke and COVID-19 there has been almost no public interest in plant identification. The ANBG and the Herbarium have now decided to close the facility.

The Public Reference Herbarium specimens and the BRC's reference collection will be moved to the ANBG Library for storage. [Correction: an earlier draft of this item stated that these materials would still be available to members of the Friends. This is not the case.] The room in the Ellis Rowan Building will be returned for use by Gardens staff, and access from the Friends Lounge will be closed.