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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

24 February 2000


Four of the ACT's budding student scientists have been officially congratulated for their hard work over summer as part of a unique botanical science program.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, was on hand today to present the student Botanical Internship Program participants with their 'graduation' certificates.

The ACT students were among 16 dedicated young adults who sacrificed their summer holidays to participate in the voluntary scheme, run by the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research in Canberra. The Centre is jointly run by Environment Australia and the CSIRO.

Dr Stone said the Interns would leave the program with a better understanding of Australia's unique flora and, skills needed to enter the scientific and natural resource management field.

The Internship included eight weeks of hands-on work identifying rare plans and working on the collection of more than one million preserved plant specimens in the Australian National Herbarium. This scientific knowledge was then put to use by the Harden Murrumburrah Landcare Group as part of their Natural Heritage Trust Bushcare Project.

"Greening the Grain Belt funded through the Natural Heritage Trust's Bushcare program ($62,000), is contributing to the revegetation of the area, believed to have only 2.8 per cent of its original vegetation remaining," Sharman Stone.

"The interns responded to a request from a Landcare group who wished to revegetate with local indigenous species, but not enough remnants remained for them to do the job."

"As part of their practical training, the Interns reconstructed what the Harden area flora may have been like prior to European settlement. Their assistance helped the local Landcare group more effectively plan their revegetation works, enabling them to strategically plant hardy local species and target local fencing and salinity management works in degraded ares."

"We've enhanced the student scientists academic and scientific training with practical work experience with farmers and other experienced land managers. It's been a vital exchange of information, with the students, the Landcare Group and the environment benefiting significantly."

"My congratulations to all those involved in this dynamic partnership," Sharman Stone said.

Media Inquiries:
Nicole Johnston, Assistant Adviser, 02 6277 2016 or 049 219 415

And a word from the Interns...

Angelo Feliu, of the Canberra Institute of Technology hopes to work in technical support in the plant sciences, like the Australian National Botanic Gardens or CSIRO.

"The course helped me immensely, through contacts, information gained, self-esteem, and the motivation to do more study."

Timothy Coutts, who has completed a Bachelor of Science at ANU and is presently studying Laboratory Technology in Biological Science at the Canberra Institute of Technology.

"The Internship program has provided valuable training and experience and will most definitely help when applying for employment. The skills I've gained from the Internship will help me reach my aims."

Currently employed at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, and a graduate of Bachelor of Applied Science in Systems Agriculture at the University of Western Sydney, Deborah Edwards thought the course would help her better carry out her work.

"The Internship may further my prospects of a shift to a Herbarium technical position, or a records position in another botanic garden. It has given me wider experience which may help me move into a conservation-related area of Environment Australia."

Caroline Pampling of Canberra is currently studying a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Horticulture at Charles Sturt University in Wagga.

"I am mainly interested in Australian native plants and their promotion and conservation. The Internship program has helped a great deal in my decision about where I want my career to head."

Kimberly Van Niel, is completing her Geography PhD at the Australian National University.

"The Internship will help with future research opportunities, especially since I have been working on the Harden Landcare revegetation project. The project is very closely related to my future research interests."

Commonwealth of Australia