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Surrey Wildlife Trust contribute to Royal Botanical Gardens Kew's Millennium Seed Bank

PUBLISHED: 16:05 03 December 2013 | UPDATED: 16:05 03 December 2013

Millennium Seed Bank UK Native Seed Hub training with Surrey Wildlife Trust

Millennium Seed Bank UK Native Seed Hub training with Surrey Wildlife Trust

RBG Kew/T.M.Heller

Surrey Wildlife Trust staff are helping to contribute to the Millennium Seed Bank after receiving training from the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank currently conserves seed collections representing 93% of species that produce bankable seed from the UK native flora.

These collections are stored in the vaults at Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, at -20°c. The remaining elusive species are being sought to complete the collections and existing collections are being strengthened. The seeds are made available for scientific research, education, and the conservation and development of botanic gardens.

Earlier this year, some SWT staff and volunteers were lucky enough to have a guided visit to the Millennium Seed Bank where they were shown the whole seed storage process.

“The support of conservation organisations such as the Surrey Wildlife Trust is invaluable in contributing to this work by making seed collections from species occurring in their Nature Reserves or advising and monitoring of populations ready for harvest,” says Stephanie Miles, UK Collections coordinator, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

After visiting the Seed Bank, a training day took place on SWT Nature Reserve, Thundry Meadows, in Elstead. Experts from Kew Gardens taught SWT staff the tools and techniques required to make a seed collection that would be suitable for the Seed Bank. They were also taught how to work out the correct percentage of seed to collect, so that the on-site populations were not compromised, and how to make herbarium specimens to help in the identification of the species.

The rangers hope to be able to use this knowledge to collect seeds from this and other SWT sites in the future, to continue to contribute to the Millennium Seed Bank.

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