Epic walk to save local plants

Most people spend time with family or friends over Easter but eight Sydney Royal Botanic Garden staff gave up those comforts and endured a tough 123km walk in three days to save rare plant species in the Blue Mountains from extinction.

“Our walk will raise awareness about the need for native plant conservation and preservation.  It costs $2000 to save each plant species from extinction,” said Dr Trevor Wilson, a post-doctorate research scientist, before setting off.

“So far the team has raised approximately $7000 for the walk which will save three plants from extinction. Now we’re keen to raise more money to save more rare and endangered plants found along the way and within the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park.

“There are many species found in only small areas within the Blue Mountains National Park and nowhere else in the world.  Many are endangered plants that still have not been banked,” he said.

“The $2000 for each plant covers the cost of collecting three plant specimens and lodging seeds at the Australian PlantBank, a world-class research and seed banking facility at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan.”

Dr Wilson said each individual plant they would like to save is special in its own right. 

“None of us have walked the distance before, but the team has participated in other charity challenges, marathons and overnight hikes in remote wilderness.” 

The team headed up hill from Mangrove Mountain (west of Wyong on the Central Coast) to the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah.

Over the duration of the walk, the team crossed four national parks, following watercourses taking them through rainforest valleys, wooded ridges and windswept escarpments.

Donations to support the team can be made through the Everyday Hero website: http://everydayhero.com.au/event/saveaspecies2014.

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