Plant stocks get a boost

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Blackwood Enivironment Society volunteers Jenny Dewing and Kylie Tizard inspect samples in the new facility.
Camera IconBlackwood Enivironment Society volunteers Jenny Dewing and Kylie Tizard inspect samples in the new facility. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Blackwood Environment Society’s community nursery will be able to provide a wider variety of species for re-vegetation projects thanks to its new micro propagation facility.

The $40,000 project will allow the group to grow species that struggle in its normal nursery and are vital to re-vegetation, including sword sedge, hair sedge and other wetland species.

Project officer Jenny Dewing said the tissue culture laboratory allowed them to grow plants they could not grow in their nursery.

“It’s all about getting some of the plants we can’t grow in the nursery, such as some of the sedges, back into re-vegetation,” she said.

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“There are a small number of plants that don’t seem to grow from seed we would like to see in re-vegetation, they are important plants and they are missing because we can’t grow them.

These varieties of plant are unable to be propagated in a normal nursery due to dormancy mechanisms, or the inability to collect sufficient amounts of seed.

Three of the group’s volunteers received training from Plantrite’s Dr Chris Newell, who also helped source second-hand equipment from a facility that was closing.

Mrs Dewing and Kylie Tizard — a volunteer and science teacher at Bridgetown High School — have taken on learning to operate the tissue culture lab.

“We can only really have two people in the lab at a time, so Kylie and I have taken on the responsibility of learning all the processes,” Mrs Dewing said.

“We need to get all the processes right, because it all depends on not having any contamination.

“We have to be absolutely perfect about our processes to succeed.”

The project is three years in the making and was made possible with grant funding from LotteryWest, alongside about $22,000 of the society’s own funds.

“The high school have allowed us to have this nursery for a long time on their school grounds and allowed us to add bits on, so that support is magnificent,” Mrs Dewing said.

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