Volunteer Botanical Training Program 2016
Participants and Institutions
2016 was the twenty-fourth year that the Volunteer Botanical Training Program has been run. A total of thirteen applications were received by the closing date for the Program. Eleven placements were offered and accepted. All participants successfully completed the Program in 2016.
Output achieved by participants during 2016 was roughly equal to 75% of a year’s work (of an entry-level TO), based on a 240-day working year. Many supervisors provided positive feedback as to the accuracy and quality of the work achieved and the participants’ cheerful and enthusiastic approach.
Curatorial work was the major focus this year. Tasks included mounting and incorporation of vascular and non-vascular specimens, allocation of labels to specimens ready for mounting, finding specimens in the collection in order to update and correct label information, sorting of fern duplicates and an impressive amount of assistance provided in Loans and Exchange. In addition participants undertook research to complete Plant Introduction Forms for the Seed Bank, sorted both seed and DNA samples for CANBR researchers and provided research assistance to a literature review project.
Fieldwork in 2016 was planned to follow the well-established format of previous years with a one-day field trip around the local area and a longer, residential field trip to the South Coast of New South Wales. The four day field trip was based at the Kioloa Coastal Campus of the Australian National University. The trip visited the temperate rainforest at Monga National Park on the way to the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens south of Batemans Bay on the first afternoon. A staff member at the Gardens made himself available to show participants both the on-site nursery and herbarium, as well as talk about the Gardens in general. Some participants also joined two staff members on a walk the Snapper Point in Murramarang National Park in the early evening. A day trip was undertaken to visit Booderee National Park on day two, a one hour and twenty minute drive from Kioloa. Brenda Duffy met the group at Booderee Botanic Gardens for a talk and tour of the nursery and herbarium while two indigenous staff members led a Koori bush food and medicine tour. This was followed by a self-guided walk around the wider Gardens. Brenda then met the group again at Cave Beach to discuss Booderee National Park’s weed and pest management program. The day was unusually hot and humid so following this free time was provided for a swim at the beach or sit under the trees in order to cool down prior to visiting the Mangrove Boardwalk at Huskisson. The collection and plant identification exercise was conducted wholly on the Kioloa Campus and was again highly successful, with the afternoon identification session lasting until 6:30 pm. The "Treasure Hunt" style mapping and recollection exercise proved once again both enjoyable and enlightening with many participants again displaying quite a competitive streak.
In addition, this year a one day field trip was undertaken to collect specimens and DNA samples for a PhD study being undertaken by one of the participants. This allowed all participants to apply the skills learned during the program to a real life project and was a great success.
Concerns and Issues
No major difficulties were encountered during the running of the 2016 Program.
The perennial problem of accommodation for interstate and international participants remains a major issue. All participants from out of Canberra found short-term share accommodation, mostly with people who offered accommodation after a call-out by the program co-ordinator. The remaining participants were Canberra based or able to stay with friends or relatives. Accommodation costs are the single biggest issue mentioned by students undertaking the Program and assistance with finding short term accommodation is greatly appreciated.
The success of the 2016 Program is in no small part due to the considerable efforts of a number of Centre staff, outside academics and others who freely gave their time to present lectures and training sessions, as well as providing supervision for work teams. Thanks are also due to all CANBR and ANBG staff, especially those at the Herbarium, for their tolerance and enthusiasm during the course of the Program. I would particularly like to thank all those who once again provided invaluable support to the Volunteer Botanical Training Program Coordinator.
Volunteer Botanical Training Program Participants 1993–2016
|ACT||Australian National University, Canberra||66|
|University of Canberra||19|
|Canberra Institute of Technology||14|
|Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra||8|
|Department of the Environment||2|
|Booderee Botanic Gardens, Jervis Bay||1|
|NSW||Macquarie University, Sydney||14|
|University of New England, Armidale||13|
|University of Technology, Sydney||10|
|Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga & Albury||13|
|University of Sydney||8|
|University of New South Wales, Sydney||9|
|University of Newcastle||13|
|University of Wollongong||7|
|Southern Cross University||2|
|Janet Cosh Herbarium (UW)||1|
|University of Western Sydney||1|
|TAFE NSW National Environment Centre Thurgoona||1|
|NSW Office of Environment & Heritage||1|
|VIC||University of Melbourne||19|
|Latrobe University, Melbourne||5|
|University of Ballarat||1|
|Forestech, East Gippsland TAFE||1|
|QLD||James Cook University||14|
|University of Queensland||13|
|University of the Sunshine Coast||4|
|Queensland University of Technology||3|
|University of Southern Queensland||1|
|Metropolitan Institute of TAFE||2|
|Central Queensland University||1|
|NT||Charles Darwin University||2|
|SA||University of Adelaide||5|
|University of South Australia||1|
|TAS||University of Tasmania||3|
|Edith Cowan University||1|
|West Coast TAFE||1|