FOGG members may remember that we have been supporting the work of Dr Noushke Reiter in the conservation of orchid species, including some of our threatened local ones. I asked Noushka to give us an update on the move to Cranbourne Botanic Gardens.
As you are aware the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria and the Australian Network for Plant Conservation joined hands to raise funds to fit out an Orchid Conservation Centre at the Botanic Gardens. The response was overwhelming thank you to all who contributed, both individuals and organisations. On Christmas Eve boxes were unpacked and now 6 months later we have a fully functioning laboratory and nursery full of threatened orchids grown from seed with their mycorrhizal fungi being prepared for re-introduction back to their native environment. We have six regular volunteers in the laboratory including Wendy Bedggood who still manages to make it into the lab from Horsham.
Seven species are being supplemented this year back into the Wimmera including three into the Parks and surrounding covenanted private property of the Grampians with partners including landholders, Parks Victoria, community volunteers, Australasian Native Orchid Society, Trust for Nature, WCMA and DELWP.
The Orchid Conservation Centre is currently working with 24 state and federally threatened orchids for re-introduction across Victoria, South Australia and N.S.W and aims to collect a genetically divers representation of seed and mycorrhizal fungi from all Victorian threatened orchids for propagation and re-introduction to reduce the threat of these species becoming extinct in the wild.