Thursday, November 23, 2006

Plant Science Internship

I am absolutely over the moon. I've been accepted into the Plant Science Internship Program at the National Herbarium at the Sydney Botanic Gardens!

The internship takes place over January and February next year, full time. (This means that I'll have to miss my first month of my TAFE studies, but I think I'll be able to manage that okay with the support of my hort friends.)

From the Program's website:
This program offers undergraduates and recent graduates in the plant sciences advanced working experience in a leading scientific institution. The work program is supported by task-specific training and a professional-level introduction to key areas in Australian plant science and conservation. Specific training is given in skills for job-seeking and higher study....

The program is for students at the end of second or third year, and recent graduates, in botany, ecology, forestry, general biology (with plant interests), scientific horticulture, and related subjects. The program will benefit those seeking professional or technical careers in plant sciences or conservation management....

Interns work full-time on a voluntary, unpaid basis, assisting scientific staff on work of real scientific value. In return, Interns receive extensive practical training in botany, plant conservation, collections management, and job-seeking in the scientific workforce....

Training sessions are led by professional scientists and technicians from the Botanic Gardens Trust and other institutions. Training complements and extends that given at university....
  • Work sessions
    • Interns work in teams under staff supervision on routine and advanced tasks of specimen preparation, plant identification, collections management, and some research assistance.
    • We attempt to accommodate interns’ interests, but allocation to work teams and tasks is at our discretion. The scientific context of all work is made clear – you will be making a real contribution to the running of the Herbarium and its programs, and the skills you acquire will be applicable in many other jobs, especially in science and conservation....

  • Training About 40% of time is spent in training sessions. Again, these will be relevant to a wide range of science jobs. You will become familiar with:
    • key sources of information on the Australian flora
    • plant identification resources
    • key sources of information in conservation science and policy
    • principles and practice of the curation of scientific collections

  • Seminar sessions will focus on theoretical and practical issues in botany and conservation, including current major research programs.

  • Field training will include specimen selection and collection, field data recording, and permit and access protocols.
In other words, bliss on a stick.

I fully intend to write here about my experiences at the Herbarium. And take lots of photos with the trusty camera.

Callooh! Callay! O frabjous day!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Assassin's cousin

Another bug, spotted today at TAFE on a corn leaf. Not as pretty as the assassin bug, but it looks seriously mean. As I got in close and personal to take photos, it looked like it wanted to take a piece of me.

(I've edited this post because I'd wrongly identified this as another Assassin Bug. Insect Mark saw the photo and put me right: it's actually a Crusader Bug, family Coreidae.)

Assassins and crusaders! The bug world is nothing if not full of drama.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Tonight, we ate the first squash from my vegie patch.

Aren't they pretty? They certainly tasted good.

Not a great photo, but doing a macro shot at night isn't easy.

Yesterday, part of my lunch was snowpeas from my patch. So crisp, sweet and perfect!

I love growing my own stuff to eat. My ideal garden would have four raised vegie beds (four for efficient crop rotation) of 1x3 metres. Should keep us fed. Well, along with the chooks and the goats and the orchard. I'll barter fruit and vegies for the odd bit of meat.

Thank you, Edna.

I'm doing a little spring-tidying up of my patio, where I have lots of pots of sundry plants. The aspect is North-Westerly, so it gets a lot of sun and heat.

Most recently, I've had a row of pots with lobelia spilling out over the garden wall, but they were getting a bit scruffy.

I've replaced them with a few ground cover herbs: Lemon Variegated Thyme, Golden Thyme, Variegated Oregano and and Creeping Thyme 'Doone Valley'. Hopefully they will give a similar cascading effect--with the advantage of being edible.

Here they are. I'll post another photo when they've grown.

This is vaguely inspired by Edna Walling, who'd often use plants not generally thought of as decorative, to great effect. I love informal, rambling designs with lots of terracotta and stone and nooks and crannies. My garden is nothing like that yet. But one day....