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Australasian Plant Conservation

Originally published in Australasian Plant Conservation 14(3), December 2005 - February 2006

President's report

Judy West
Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO Plant Industry

The essence of this report was presented at the Annual General Meeting held at the end of November, and as such is largely a summary of ANPC's activities during the past twelve months. The ANPC has consolidated its position in the increasingly active conservation-space in Australia during the past year. This has primarily been at the interface between the science arena, the policy makers and land managers, and the on-ground practitioners. We have seen some exciting times and events taking us into new directions.

The high quality training workshops organised and hosted by the ANPC during this past year have contributed significantly to the scientific level of information provided to practitioners. Around 350 people have been trained during the translocation and rehabilitation workshops during this year. The feedback from each of the workshops has been extremely complimentary on the quality of presentations, as well as the relevance of the content.

A series of 'Translocation of Threatened Plants' workshops was held responding to user demand, including a request by NSW Environmental Trust as a follow-up to the revised Translocation Guidelines, which they supported. Two to three ANPC committee members have provided the core of presentations for each of these workshops and the formula of incorporating real case scenarios into the program seems to have hit on a winning combination. I would like to express gratitude on behalf of all of us in the ANPC to those members who have contributed so much of their time and energy to the success of these workshops.

A series of rehabilitation workshops was hosted by ANPC in regional NSW under the able organisational abilities of Sally Stephens, and with contributions from those with local experience. Again these have had very positive response.

The support ANPC has managed to bring on board for running these training sessions has been extremely encouraging. It is clear there is a demand to increase the scientific level of information being provided to those of our community responsible for on-ground management and conservation. I wish to acknowledge the generous backing and cooperation of all the various organisations and agencies concerned.

Australasian Plant Conservation It is exciting to see the content of the Bulletin expanding to incorporate more substantial articles, for which we have received positive feedback. In addition, the concept of publishing issues of APC dedicated to a particular theme seems to have met with approval. Feedback from members on these issues and other suggestions would be very helpful. We have managed to secure small amounts of funding to sponsor the publication of various issues of APC, and will be proactively seeking further support during the next year.

National Conference 2005 - September 25-28 in Adelaide

Theme: Plant Conservation in times of change - dealing with extremes of climate, threats and policy. Jointly hosted by South Australia's Department of Environment and Heritage and ANPC. The National Conference was a great success and provided an excellent opportunity for networking and learning from others - this meeting provides a pretty unique venue bringing the practitioners together with researchers and policy makers, and certainly stimulates thoughtful debate and discussion.

The number of participants in the National Conference was slightly disappointing (just over 100), even though those who attended certainly felt it was an excellent conference. The ANPC Committee members have spent some time working through the efficacy of the national conference format in the crowded plant conservation space. One outcome of our deliberations was the idea of trying a different style of meeting, perhaps in the form of a one-day forum with a specific topic (perhaps the 'ANPC Annual Forum') together with one day of workshops. The large number of science and conservation related meetings around Australia now provides a greater challenge to holding a meeting that will attract the mix of conservation interests that has always been ANPC's remit. Those with whom I've discussed this feel it is worth pursuing - further feedback would be helpful.

ANPC's staff members, Pam Strickland holding the office together, and Sally Stephens, project officer for the environmental grants and workshop organiser, have both done a fantastic job supporting our organisation. I greatly appreciate their dedication to ANPC and the commitment they have shown to keeping the organisation buzzing.

We have invested in a new accounting system for the office and Pam has undertaken training with MYOB to set up the system, greatly assisted by our new Treasurer Jim Crennan. This will establish a much clearer view of our financial situation.

The National Committee has worked well together and individual contributions have been outstanding. The ANPC should be proud of the dedication of its elected office bearers. I would like to see greater input from a broader range of the committee members in the next year, and we are already off to a good start with a planning meeting scheduled for late February.

I take this opportunity to sincerely thank the retiring members of the National Committee - Gerald Mueller, John Arnott and Andrew Smith - for their long term commitment to the organisation, which I am sure will continue under different guises. Particular thanks are due to Ged for taking the responsibility of the Treasurer's position and trying to handle the finances in slightly difficult times. I am sure all ANPC members would wish me to thank Tricia Hogbin, who has stepped down from the Secretary's position, for making such a major contribution over the past few years. It is fortunate for us that Tricia has remained on the committee and is easing the new Secretary into the position.

The enthusiasm for ANPC is reflected in a number of new members elected to the national committee at the recent AGM. It is with pleasure that we welcome Tom Celebrezze, Jim Crennan, Deanna Marshall and Paul Gibson Roy as new members. Also, Helena Mills, previously a committee member, was appointed as Secretary. Jim Crennan has taken the Treasurer position and is bringing his finance and accountancy skills to the ANPC. The team making up the national committee brings together an outstanding range of expertise and experiences that the organisation should capitalise on into the future.

The ANPC is extremely grateful to the ANBG and the Director Robin Nielsen and Deputy Director Jim Croft for the hospitality and accommodation that the Gardens provides for ANPC. This support is invaluable for us to deliver the activities and functions that we have been able to pursue.

It is with sadness that I report the death of one of our past Committee members and a strong advocate for plant conservation. David Given lost his battle with cancer on November 27 after a career of serving the conservation community. A tribute to his life and career can be found on page 26. David was a long-term member of the ANPC from its foundation in 1991, and was a consistent source of encouragement and international experience for plant conservation in both New Zealand and Australia. David will be missed in both our countries and around the world.