Run for plants viewable online

By on 21 June, 2011
 
Two guys are running from Sydney to Melbourne to help save plant species, and you can track their progress online.
 
Chris Turnbull, aged 27, and Len Gervay, aged 30, stared their 900km journey at the Sydney GPO at dawn on Sunday 19 June. As it stands when I write this, they are currently between Goulburn and Yarra. I know this because they are tracking their progress with GPS, and displaying it on a web-map.
 
The first plant species that the two runners want to save with the money raised is the critically endangered Wee Jasper Grevillea (Grevillea iaspicula).
 
Len Gervay said, “We will be running close to Burrinjuck and Wee Jasper where we are told the last wild Wee Jasper Grevillea are growing.”
 
“All funds raised by the run, which we hope to complete in nine days, will be donated to the NSW Seedbank’s effort to collect and store seeds of our native flora.” Added Chris Turnbull, “We’ll be running through the biodiversity that we want to help preserve.”
 
Acting Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Dr Brett Summerell said, “This is a fantastic initiative for our Save A Species campaign. Every $2000 raised will save a plant species by funding the collection from the wild, preservation and storage of its seeds in the NSW Seedbank at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan. 
 
“In Australia we have 25,000 species of plants and at least 23 per cent are under threat of extinction. Our Seedbank is targeting plants most at risk from climate change and human activities to ensure powerful blueprints contained in plant DNA aren’t lost forever,” he said.
 
The two runners hope their run south will inspire others to participate in the Save a Species Campaign.
 
Dr Summerell said, “Anyone can set up a challenge or a goal they would like to achieve and ask people to sponsor them to help save a species. They can do it alone or with mates or work colleagues. Schools can also run challenges for students to undertake. Our Save a Species website has a template for setting up your on-line fundraising page.”
 
The NSW Seedbank program is part of a global effort co-ordinated by the Millennium Seed Bank in the UK to bank seeds of all the world’s known seed-bearing plants, estimated to be as many as 300,000 species. So far the NSW Seedbank has helped bank 10 per cent of the world’s plant species and with our international partners are committed to collectively banking 25 per cent by 2020.
 
For more information and to join the campaign to Save a Species, visit www.saveaspecies.org.au
 
For more information about Chris and Len’s run, and to track them online, visit http://sydney2melbourne.blogspot.com/
 

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