Australasian Plant Conservation
Originally published in Australasian Plant Conservation 17(3) December 2008 – February 2009, p 27
Report from New Zealand
Plant Conservation Network
A face to face Council meeting was held in Wellington in October. We briefed the meeting on the conference, finances, progress with existing projects (e.g. The Threatened Plant book, Marae based training courses, and digitising botanical society journals), ideas for additional sponsors for the Network, recruitment of new members, and the establishment of the Trust to administer the David Given Scholarship. We also discussed publishing the conference abstracts and material from the conference workshops (which is now imminent), and decided to prepare a business plan for the Network to incorporate member aspirations for it and communicate our business more effectively.
Kids at the Conference
My last report omitted to mention a very exciting, and different, part of our conference: the involvement of more than 80 children from 20 of the Wellington region’s Enviroschools who presented their school conservation projects to delegates during one day of the conference. Enviroschools is a charitable trust that provides support and strategic direction for a nation-wide environmental education program. Organised by the NZPCN and Enviroschools to promote plant conservation to the next generation, the forum inspired both the children, who learned more about their native flora by discussing their projects with plant experts, and delegates who were encouraged and inspired by the on-the-ground conservation projects schools carry out. During lunch, awards were given to the children by NZPCN President Ian Spellerberg. I am certain no conference lunch has ever been this action-packed or noisy!
Perils of Web Popularity
The network website was one of the main items we discussed at our council meeting. It is not the content that is the issue; rather it is the hosting of the site and the associated technical problems, including the need to make the site more secure. We have been the target of malicious hackers due to the high number of ‘hits’ we receive and the number of sites which link to ours. All of this is taking time to resolve and there are associated costs of a not inconsiderable nature.
60th Newsletter Published
Trilepidea, the network’s monthly newsletter, has achieved a milestone with its 60th issue. Each month over 500 members receive an electronic copy of Trilepidea. The newsletter averages about 6 pages and is made up of member’s observations, trip reports, and anecdotes. It communicates name changes, new species, research updates, and much more. The newsletter also promotes botanical trips run by botanical societies regionally. It is useful as a forum for botanical debate as has recently been shown when one member posed the question “where in NZ is the highest diversity of plants?”