Council Minutes October 2012

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Meeting of Council of Friends of ANBG

Tuesday 2 October 2012

1.30pm – 4 pm Dickson Room



1. Attendance

Present: David Coutts (Chairman); Dennis Ayliffe, Anne Campbell, Lesley Jackman, Marion Jones, Anne Philips, Barbara Podger, Warwick Wright

Ex officio: Peter Byron, Steve Speer, Judy West

Apologies: Glenys Bishop, John Connolly, Alan Munns


2. Confirmation of Minutes of Council

Motion: That the minutes of the Council meeting of 4th September 2012 be confirmed:

Proposed: David Coutts,  Seconded: Marion Jones. Carried


3. Matters arising from Minutes of 4th September, 2012

3.1 Centenary

Red Centre Artwork - The artwork has been bought and arrived in time for display at the recent Friends AGM.  A high resolution scan of it is being done in the process of producing a CAD file used to guide the cutting of the design into the metal.  More details about this will be put on the Friends Web site.

Bush Capital Grant - The Deed of Grant has been signed and the ANBG will now liaise with the ACT Government with respect to payment.

3.2 Seniors Week Grant

Sponsorship of $100,000 has been provided to 21 ACT Community Groups for events in Seniors Week; the Friends of ANBG received $7,000.  David Coutts attended a presentation by the Minister for Community Services, ACT to announce this.  The ANBG function will be held in April 2013; it will be called a Family Day and will focus on Seniors particularly.  It will be driven by the Major Events Committee comprising ANBG Management and Friends.

3.3 Friends Storage Space & Equipment

Andy Rawlinson has overseen the installation of one refrigerator and is seeking another; two cupboards have also been accessed and another is being sought.  Further discussion with Floresco is needed with respect to sharing the space. Andy is also trying to fix the binoculars for use with the Breakfast with the Bird events; it may be necessary to replace them.

3.4 Eucalypt Discovery Walk

The Public Trust Fund formally agreed to provide $10,000 for additional signage and for the brochure.  Payment will be required within the next 3 months.

The text for the signs has been drafted and has been sent to ANBG Management for comment.  A draft of the brochure has been developed.

3.5 Association of Friends-  Report on Conference

Warwick Wright reported on his attendance at the Conference held in Port Augusta 18-19th August and noted the excellence of the speakers and the value of the tour of the Arid Land Botanic Gardens.  ANBG was well promoted in one of the displays at the Conference and Council recorded its thanks to John Connolly. He recommended consideration be given to supporting attendance of a limited number of ANBG Friends in the same way that Guides are supported for attendance at the biannual national Conference of Guides of Botanic Gardens.  Warwick was elected Vice President and Anne Rawson agreed to continue as the editor of Campsis, the Association of Friends magazine.  The next conference will be in 2014 on the Gold Coast.

Action: Consideration be given to providing some support for attendance by a limited number of ANBG Friends at the biannual Association of Friends Conferences.


4.         General Business:

4.1 Projects:

The main project for 2012-2013 is the funding for the Red Centre meeting place artwork and consultancy of Pamille Berg.  As this is substantial, it was decided that fewer, less expensive additional projects would be considered for funding in 2013.

Peter Byron noted that support for several items of equipment for the seed bank would be most helpful.

Action: Peter Byron to send to Dennis Ayliffe (Chair of Projects Sub committee) a prioritized list of items and their cost, prior to the next meeting.

Guidelines for applications for project funding by the Friends are to be developed; requests from the ANBG staff are first to be approved by ANBG Management before submission to the Friends Project Subcommittee

Action: Dennis Ayliffe to develop guidelines for application for project funding by the Friends.

It was noted that the Environmental Monitoring System is now fully functional.

4.2 AGM

David Coutts thanked all involved, noting it had gone well with addresses by the Patron, Michael Bryce and the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Malcolm Thompson

Action: David Coutts to write letters of thanks to Michael Bryce and Malcolm Thompson for their participation at the Friends AGM, as well as to the Artist whose painting was purchased by the Friends and to retiring Council member, Andy Rawlinson

Action: The list of subcommittees of the Friends will be reviewed at the November Council Meeting.

4.3 ANPC Conference

The opening will on 29th October; after registration, the 21 Gum Salute (planting of 21 eucalypts) will be held on the Eucalypt Lawn in recognition of the 21st anniversary of the ANPC. The Friends will buy one registration for attendance over 2 days, assuming that several different people can use it. No feedback has been received about any additional help needed; if it is required Council needs to be advised as soon as possible through David Taylor, ANBG representative on the organising committee.

David Coutts had circulated his abstract on NGOs and Research which he had written and submitted.

4.4 Gift Policy and Purchased Painting

Policy - Lesley Jackman tabled a draft paper prepared by herself and Lyndon Ayliffe  covering background, concept, process, recommendations. The overall thrust was accepted by Council with the recommendation to:

  • keep the process simple/focussed
  • establish a small committee to manage the process with representation from the Friends, Gardens’ management and the ANBG Public Art Group, with the option also of including an independent  person from a local cultural institution, such as the National Library of Australia or Canberra Museum and Art Gallery
  • the Committee would consider purchasing a painting from the Botanic Art Group Exhibition each year (quality permitting)
  • the Committee would also consider purchase of a photograph from the Photographic Group, if appropriate

Action: Lesley Jackman to revise the policy for consideration at the November Council Meeting.

First purchase: The painting from the 2012 Exhibition will be hung in the Dickson Room; as the collection builds another more public site should be considered.

Action: Hang the 2012 painting in the Dickson Room with suitable signage (name of the artist and the plant; source being from the 5th Botanic Art Group Exhibition; donation by Friends of ANBG).

4.5. Schools Photographic Exhibition

All arrangements are in hand; Penny Boyer from CIT has been appointed as judge. Time lines are: 29th September – closing date for applications; 18th October- hanging and judging; 19th October - opening; 20th October- announcement of winners.

Carol Summerhayes has indicated that she will not be able to continue as co-ordinator as she is moving to the coast. Cecilia Melano has offered to understudy her.  It would be prudent to enlist another understudy person as well.

Action: Seek an additional person to understudy Carol Summerhayes (in addition to Cecilia Melano) for the 2012 exhibition.

It was suggested that at the end of this exhibition, it would be timely to review it, as it has been staged for at least a decade.  Input from the new people as well as the previous co-ordinator, Shirley McEwan would be invaluable, particularly from the perspective of how to widen the appeal of it.

Action: After the 2012 Exhibition, review the staging of it with a view to widening its appeal, seeking input from past and current co-ordinators.

4.6 BRC

The operation of this needs to be reviewed, preferably when Bronwyn Copp, Coordinating Ranger, returns from long service leave in late February 2013.  Having two periods a week when the BRC is staffed by volunteers has not proved successful as very few visitors to the Gardens drop in; as a result the volunteers have stopped participating. One option could be to take bookings from interested people/groups (as per Booked Walks/ Tours).  Another could be for its activities (training; talks) to be incorporated into a broader Plant Science Sub-group of the Friends.

Action: David Coutts to include discussion of the BRC on the Agenda for the November Council Meeting with a view to reviewing the operation of the BRC early in 2013 and how best to do this.

4.7 Murray Fagg’s Books

Murray has a number of  botanical reference books which he would like to make available to the Friends. It was decided to sell these at a silent auction to be run in conjunction with the Growing Friends Autumn plant sale in 2013.  ANBG Staff members will be given the opportunity to participate.

Action: David Coutts to oversee arrangements for the sale of Murray Fagg’s books by silent auction at the Growing Friends Autumn plant sale in 2013.


5.  Reports

5.1 Executive Director

Red Centre Garden - Judy West thanked warmly the Friends for funding the Red Centre Garden Meeting Place artwork and its installation.  This has been included in the Department’s News.

Departmental Conferences -The Department ran a national conference for their directors for two days in Canberra recently; 180 people addressed the sustainability theme – managing in tight financial times.  Judy was involved in a debate “Managing workload expectations takes longer than the work”.

A Departmental SES conference will be held at the ANBG in mid November and about 70 people are expected to attend.

Director Kew Millennium Seed Bank – Dr Paul Smith will speak at the ANPC Conference at the end of October on Seed Banking. He will meet Hon Tony Burke,  Minister for  Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and  will also talk to the Department and participate in a round table meeting with Senior Executives to raise awareness about the application of seed banking and its importance in conservation; the thrust is now taking the seed bank from collection and banking to use.  This will help to highlight the work of the ANBG Seed Bank. Dr Smith will also talk with relevant staff at CSIRO.

ANBG Seed Bank – Senior staff (Dr Lydia Guja and Tom North ) are both very busy on several projects funded by grants eg mini seed orcharding for 10 threatened species (with Greening Australia). Dr Lucy Sutherland, National Seed Banking Coordinator  is currently overseas.

Additional efficiency dividend – another efficiency dividend is expected very soon; this is part of the Government’s thrust to try to avoid a deficit in the May 2013 budget.

5.2 General Manager

Red Centre Garden- All drainage work has been completed and rocks placed.  Coarse river sand will be laid and then on top of this, the red sand.  Planting out will begin soon.  A large palm (7-8 m) high is expected to be delivered on 16th October; the opportunity will be taken to attract media coverage. Tenders are being sought for the viewing platform construction.

Web site – Special funding from the Department has been obtained for development of a new web site in the next couple of months; the current one no longer meets Commonwealth accessibility guidelines for those with disabilities.

Parking – Tenders are to be called for a revamp of the parking meters/fees; it is hoped to install ones that can take credit cards.

Café – Feedback to the ANBG General Manager on all aspects of the Café and its operation is most welcome.  The menu has been reduced in order to allow faster service.

Action: Peter Byron to discuss with Café Management the potential to obtain feedback via a questionnaire included in the December issue of Fronds (with copy deadline for end of October)

5.3 Friends Liaison

Staff –Sally Bowman, Ranger, has been co-opted to fill the vacant Education Officer role until the end of this year (following the resignation of that Officer who has gone to the NMA). Sally’s position will be filled by two temporary appointments, one serving from Monday to Wednesday and the other on Thursday and Friday and every second weekend.  Julie Ackmacic and Jennifer Salkeld will both be on leave during October and Bronwyn Copp (Ranger), will shortly take Long Service Leave until the end of February 2013.

School Holidays – Flora Explorer tours (1 pm for 1 hour) will be offered daily for the two weeks of the school holidays in October, in addition to those on Saturdays and Sundays.  On the first long weekend in October, it was over booked.  Under these circumstances, consideration might be given to asking drivers to do an extra tour on the day.

Human Brochure - This is an initiative of ACT Tourism to raise the national profile of Canberra leading up to the 2013 Canberra Centenary. Up to 500 people from across Australia, who are heavy participants in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog etc), are being invited to a free weekend in Canberra. ANBG are participating in this Campaign and will host 230 people on Sunday 28 October between 9 and 10.30 am.  About 30,000 applications were received!

Events- Bookings for After Dark for the first Saturday in October are 75% of capacity so far.

Organisation for the Summer Concerts is well underway.  The method of collection of donations will change; money will be collected at the entrances (cars; foot traffic).  More expensive bands will be hired to improve the range of choice and potentially the quality; they are currently being shortlisted.  There was a considerable increase in cost of the bands in 2012 – for which the Friends paid.

5.4 Treasurer

A large term deposit was rolled over

Motion: That payments for September by accepted.

Proposed:Marion Jones.Seconded: David Coutts. Carried

 5.5 Secretary

There was no formal report from the Secretary who was away but David Coutts noted that he proposes to write letters of thanks to the Patron and Guest speaker at the AGM (see item 4.2).  He will also write to thank Professor Toni Makkai, ANU organizer of a recent DASSH Conference for the provision of certificates of appreciation which indicate that a donation has been given to the Friends of the ANBG in lieu of gifts for speakers.

5.6 Public Fund

Nothing new to report

5.7 Membership

Numbers -Renewal notices are being sent out for the new membership year starting 1st November.  The fees remain unchanged. Currently there are 1393 memberships including about 300 households.  Overall there are about 1800 people who are Friends of the ANBG. 

Brochure - A new brochure has been developed by Barbara Podger; this was circulated for comment and has now been sent to the printer. Proofs are awaited.  Three thousand copies will be printed.  The old ones will be discarded when the new ones arrive.

5.8 Thursday Talks

Program – This is in place for the rest of the year.  Currently the program for February, March and April in 2013 is being finalized and will be included in the December issue of Fronds.  A Centenary topic will be included once a month during 2013.  The Patron has agreed to talk on “A Biopic of my life” at a time yet to be finalized.  Contact was made at the launch with the publisher of Maria Hitchcock’s “Wattle – A celebration”, launched recently by Peter Garrett MP, and this may help identify some further speakers for the program.

Memorial lectures – It was suggested these only be continued for a limited time rather than indefinitely.  Thus after being run for a number of years, the final Bernard Fennessy Memorial Lecture will be held in 2013.  A new memorial lecture dedicated to Alison McKenzie will be included in the 2013 Talks Program. Martin Butterfield from COG and Ian Fraser, environmentalist and tour leader, are expected to be the first two speakers for this lecture

Sound system – This has not been used optimally and it is suggested that its operation be reviewed particularly the provision of simple instructions.

Action: Develop very simple instructions for the operation of the Sound System in the Theatrette.

Recording -The talks are recorded and provided to the library

Action: Review with the ANBG Librarian the extent of use of the recordings of the Thursday Talks

Talks Subcommittee - A replacement for Peter Davidson on the Talks Subcommittee is being sought; Peter is over committed and wishes to step down.

5.9 Newsletter

There is good liaison between the Newsletter team and the Friends’ Web site team.

December 2012 Issue -The December issue is in hand. All contributions are to be sent to Anne Rawson; Barbara Podger will be away from 10th October to 1st November. Deadlines are: late October for articles and AGM Report; 10th November for “What’s On”.  The editorial committee would appreciate warning in advance of possible articles so that they can allocate space.  It is proposed to start a series highlighting different members of ANBG staff in a Q&A format.   It is also planned to have a centre-spread covering Friends’ Events, ANBG Events and activities of other related organizations for the Centenary Year.

Centenary Issue - Plans are now being developed for the Centenary Issue to be released in August 2013, just before the official opening of the Red Centre Garden.

5.10 Guides

Key issue is the need to train another group of guides; this will await the return in April 2013, from maternity leave, of the relevant manager, Helen McHugh.  Following the success of a visit by several guides to Botanic Gardens in South Africa (on a tour organized by Guides from the SA Botanic Gardens), Warwick Wright offered to see if this could be replicated in 2014 for ANBG Guides.

5.11 Social Events and Activities

Breakfast with the Birds - Bookings have firmed up after being slow initially. There have been difficulties for some people booking on the web using Eventopia and many bookings have been taken by phone, necessitating daily checking to ascertain when the bookings for a particular day reach the cut off point.  Louise Muir is concentrating on organizing the guides. 

Twilight Dinner- This Friends event will be in February 2013 close to the date of the naming of Canberra (11th March 1913). The menu may reflect that of the dinner one hundred years ago.

5.12 Growing Friends

The next plant sale will be on Saturday 10th November, 2012.

5.13 Website

The new membership brochure will be posted as soon as it is printed.

5.14 Botanic Art Group

Nothing new to report.

5.15 Photography Group

A number of members of the group have offered to take and submit photographs by the end of October for selection for mounting in a Centenary exhibition planned for early next year (6th January to 5th March, 2013).  The theme is Friends and Families in Gardens. The exhibition will also include photographs from other Botanic Gardens.

Next meeting of Council – 1.30 pm Tuesday 13th November, 2012 in the Dickson Room, ANBG


Approved by Council 13 November 2012

D Coutts, President