Seedy volunteers

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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 Natural Temperate Grasslands of the Southern Tablelands and Alpine Sphagnum Bogs and Associated Fen communities within the ACT and surrounding NSW. 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.

Making new collections from the ACT to the National Seed Bank (NSB) is becoming more difficult as we narrow our target species to complete the collection of the total ACT flora. By 2020 we are aiming to have representative collections of all 891 vascular plant taxa (excluding orchids) in the NSB.

Over the 2018/2019 summer season the NSB made 73 collections from 37 species of ACT species. Due to favourable weather conditions there was a long collecting season, beginning on 15th November 2018 and continuing through to 30th March 2019. All Seedy Vols attended an afternoon of collection training prior to starting the season. 16 trips were planned during the collection season, covering all ecosystems across the ACT. All trips were completed successfully, but a dry winter and spring meant not all target species were setting seed.

In this eighth year of the Seedy Volunteer Program, 15 volunteers enrolled and everyone completed the season with no mishaps and a total of 256 hours contributed.

Seed collection

Each week during the collecting season, 2 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, recovery, garden display 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.

Some volunteers from the ANBG Friends also assist in targeted projects for the collection of Threatened Species for recovery programs plus the Bogs and Fens Seed Research Program. In past years, volunteers from the Friends took part in the Alpine Seed Collecting Project.

Tom North, Margaret Clarke and Barbara Podger, collecting Arachnorchis actensis on Mt Majura

Tom North, Margaret Clarke and Barbara Podger collecting Arachnorchis actensis on Mt Majura

Dianne Deans, collecting Westringia kydrensis east of Bombala
Dianne Deans, collecting Westringia kydrensis east of Bombala







Find out more

Contact Tom North at the Australian National Botanic Gardens on (02) 6250 9462 or email us at