31 May 2010

ENVIROQUEST: A New Education Program at the Australian National Botanic Gardens

Australia’s Biodiversity: What makes Australia’s so unique? is the theme of the Australian National Botanic Gardens’ inaugural EnviroQuest.

EnviroQuest is a multidiscipline outreach program that fosters enthusiasm for environmental education and encourages students to engage in a range of learning styles. The program creates a context for connecting teaching and learning across the curriculum whilst encouraging independent and reflective learners.

Students can undertake a range of quest challenges such as creative writing, botanical fashion, Aussie art, produce a school newsletter and habitat restoration. In 2010 International Year of Biodiversity the Quest challenges are themed around Australia’s unique biodiversity.

For more information on EnviroQuest please contact Yvette Pratt, Public Programs and Outreach Manager, ANBG, telephone 02 62509405, Email: yvette.pratt@environment.gov.au

ANBG: New seed drying facility

A new seed drying facility at the Australian National Botanic Gardens has been funded with a $60,000 gift from the Friends of the Gardens.

The room means ANU post-doctoral fellow Dr Gemma Hoyle, and her team, can keep working with increasingly large amounts of seed, in a best-practice facility, collecting, drying and freezing Australian alpine seed.

The Australian alpine ecosystem has been identified as critically vulnerable to climate change and the Australian National Botanic Gardens has identified this nationally significant ecosystem as a focus for its future collection and research activities.

The Australian Alpine Seed and Seedling Ecology Project began in 2009 in conjunction with the Australian National University and the Friends of the Gardens after the Australian Research Council identified the Gardens as the only facility to have initiated effort to collect and conserve seeds of Australian Alpine plant species for further use, regeneration and research.

NEW POLICY FRAMEWORK: Invasive Plants and Animals

The Victorian Government has released, The Invasive Plants and Animals Policy framework. This represents the governments approach to managing existing and potential invasive species across the whole of Victoria.

FREE EDO WORKSHOP: Environmental Law for Rural Landholders (Dubbo)

The EDO will be presenting FREE environmental law workshops for NSW landholders in the Dubbo region. The workshops will provide an overview of some of the key laws relevant to rural landholders, including native vegetation and mining, agricultural chemicals, pests and weeds, and generating income from private conservation.

Date : Wednesday 30 June 2010
Time : 1pm to 4pm
Venue : Coolabah Room, Dubbo Community Arts Centre, 76 Wingewarra Street, Dubbo
Lunch and light refreshments will be provided.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact the EDO on (02) 9262 6989 or email education@edo.org.au

ANPC: 8th National Conference REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

The Australian Network for Plant Conservation (ANPC) 8th National Conference:

Planning conservation to achieving restoration:
A conference for everyone involved in conserving Australia’s unique flora and native vegetation

28 September to 1 October 2010, Perth, Western Australia

Early bird registration open until 28 July 2010

Call for abstracts open until 16 July 2010

This conference is for practitioners, researchers, governments, community groups, non-government organisations and anyone else interested in plant conservation. We aim to provide updates on the latest, most relevant information, and opportunities to link up with other people working to conserve our native flora.
One-day field trips during the conference, and a three-day field trip after the conference, will give you a chance to be guided by experts through one of the world’s richest and most diverse floras in the international biodiversity hotspot of South-West Australia.

Conference themes include:
*Conservation planning
*Seeds and genes for restoration
*Engaging with industry
*The role of taxonomy
*Soil health and restoration
*Planning for climate change

Sponsorship opportunities are still available: http://www.anpc.asn.au/conferences/2010/sponsorship.html

Further information can be found on the ANPC website:
www.anpc.asn.au/conferences/2010/ or contact the ANPC office 02 6250 9509

NEW WEBSITE: Australian Plant Families Recognition

A new website, Australian Plant Families Recognition has been developed by Geoff Burrows, Senior Lecturer from Charles Sturt University. The website (go to: http://www.csu.edu.au/herbarium/ and click on ‘Australian Plant Family Recognition’) features an illustrated tutorial and 5 interactive tests consisting of 20 images each. The tests feature high quality images and optional hints to the main features of the flowers.

The ability to recognise plant families ‘on sight’ is a very useful skill. Its advantages include:

*If an unknown specimen is encountered when identifying plants for a species list, biodiversity survey, quadrat assessment, etc. it is more efficient to start keying out at a known family rather than starting at the very start of a key.
*In illustrated floras it significantly reduces the number of images that need to be examined and thus markedly improves the efficiency of identification.
*Environmental science, agronomy or horticulture students can work more efficiently in most parts of Australia (e.g. east coast, south west corner, tropical savannas) and also overseas, as several of the largest plant families are cosmopolitan in their distribution.
*Leisure activities such as bushwalking/gardening can be more rewarding as ‘you’ are actually observing more.

Feedback and comments are most welcome to: gburrows@csu.edu.au

05 May 2010

DETECTION OF EMERGENCY PLANT PEST: Uredo rangelii (Myrtle rust)

The Nursery & Garden Industry Australia has issued a Pest Alert for the Australian Nursery Industry. Plant material sampled from a cut flower/foliage producer in NSW has been confirmed as Uredo rangelii (Myrtle rust). This is the first time this fungus has been found in Australia and is identified as a disease of significance in the Nursery Industry Biosecurity Plan.

This rust is known to infect a variety of genera in the family Myrtaceae. The current outbreak has been detected on cultivated plants of Callistemon (Bottlebrush), Agonis flexuosa, and Syncarpia (Turpentine). Overseas it has been known to affect Syzygium species, among others. Early identification of this rust is vital to eradication efforts.

A hotline number has been established for reporting symptoms, on wild or cultivated plants. A Nursery Industry Pest Alert Fact Sheet, with identication sheet and images is available at: www.ngia.com.au/files/news/Pest_Alert_and_Factsheet.pdf

NATIONAL CO-ORDINATOR WANTED: The Australian Seed Bank Partnership

The Australian Seed Bank Partnership National Co-ordinator position has now been advertised. The position is funded through DEWHA and is based in Canberra. Applications must be received by COB 10 May 2010. Details can be found at:

SCHOLARSHIP: 2010 Jill Landsberg Trust Fund

Applications for the 2010 Jill Landsberg Trust Fund Scholarship are now
open. The Ecological Society of Australia through the Jill Landsberg
Trust Fund, funds an ongoing postgraduate scholarship in the field of
Applied Ecology. Each year a grant of $6,000 will be awarded to support
the field-based research of a Postgraduate Student working in applied
ecology. The scope of research is open to terrestrial, marine and
freshwater ecology. The successful applicant is also funded to attend
ESA10, 6-10 December, in Canberra. Applications close Friday May 28
2010. For applications forms and more information: