Growing together – Seeds in Schools

Darwinia squarrosa seed production area at Woodlupine Primary School

The Western Australian Seed Centre (WASC) in Kensington is a member of the Australian Seed Bank Partnership and collects and stores seed of WA’s conservation significant plant species. These collections can then be utilised in recovery actions such as translocations.

As part of the Partnership’s Banking Seeds for Bushfire Recovery Project, the WASC aimed to limit decline of species from fire affected areas in the Stirling Ranges National Park. It can be difficult to collect enough seed from these areas due to a rarity of plants, often combined with low seed production. In order to boost seed stocks, seed production areas can be established from existing collections.

In 2019, the Woodlupine Primary School approached the Australian Seed Bank Partnership with the idea of developing a school-based seed conservation project in Western Australia. Collaborating with the WASC on their threatened species recovery work resulted in the establishment of a seed production area in the school grounds.

In its first year, the seed production area has trialled the growth of three species, with seed collected from all species planted (Darwinia squarrosa, Schoenia filifolia subsp. subulifolia, Ptilotus pyramidatus). Despite the small scale of the plantings, the amount of seed harvested added significant quantities to WASC’s seed collection.

This work provided students with an opportunity to engage in sustainable activities and develop knowledge about environmental issues and global stewardship. It also enabled them to participate in a long-term sustainability project that protects Western Australia’s biodiversity. These dedicated students have learned that small, local conservation actions can have a meaningful impact on species in situ.

Learn more about this work from the Urban Natures Bushland News (Pg. 23).

The Banking Seeds for Bushfire Recovery Project was funded through the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program.