TAFE SA students go bush with Nature Glenelg Trust

Last month, Mount Gambier TAFE SA students headed out into the bush with NGT to undertake seed collecting as part of their Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management studies.

Students visited a number of local environments to learn about the diversity of plant species, seed types and the timing and principles of seed collection, and gained an engaging insight into on-ground conservation activities.

Lecturer Joley Didwell (second from right) and Bryan Haywood (far right) assisting students to check the ripeness of fruit for seed collection.

A range of plant species were collected throughout the day, such as Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), Running Marsh Flower (Villarsia reniformis), Spiny-head Mat-Rush (Lomandra longifolia) and Heath Tea-tree (Leptospermum myrsinoides). The final stop for the day was at Mount Burr Swamp, where students had lunch in the woolshed, learnt about the history of the restoration reserve, and visited various revegetation sites from the 20 Million Trees Program.

NGT visited TAFE the following week to demonstrate how seed can be cleaned after collection. Using sieves with a variety of mesh sizes, students separated leaves, twigs and chaff from the seed which was weighed and labelled (see below). The seed will be stored in the NGT seed bank and be used in propagating a range of local species used in revegetation of projects such as Mount Burr Swamp.

A few examples of species collected and the extracted seeds. Left to right: Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata), Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon), Spiny-head mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia)

A big thank you to Joley Didwell and TAFE SA for joining Nature Glenelg Trust in their on-ground environmental education activities – we look forward to collaborating again in the near future.

Lu-Wei Spinks