The West Australian Herbarium initiated a Regional Herbaria Programme in 1997, and the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Show Committee were invited to participate. It set out with the lofty aim of collecting every flowering plant in the Shire of Ravensthorpe. As the shire comprises 13,553 square kilometres, needless to say there is still a long way to go, and collecting new different species becomes more difficult as the collection grows. There are currently about 3000 specimens in the herbarium – some of them duplicates.
Being in partnership with the W.A. Herbarium is the only way such a collection of ours can attain credibility. This is achieved by the volunteers collecting two specimens of each plant along with the necessary data. When pressed, one specimen is forwarded to the W.A. Herbarium. There it is identified and data-based with the result being sent back to Ravensthorpe, giving the specimen the necessary provenance. The specimens are then mounted and filed in their correct families. The Herbarium has benefited from the donation of specimens collected by local botanists during flora surveys.
All the work is performed by volunteers. Plant identification workshops are organised twice a year, so that local enthusiasts may increase their knowledge bank. The ‘Friends of the Herbarium’ donate $10.00 each, annually, and proceeds of the sale of the book ‘Native Plants of the Ravensthorpe Region’ are also put towards the cost of running the herbarium.
Grants and donations have enabled the group to acquire microscopes, a computer, and a number of reference books to assist in identifying specimens. In the past few years Ravensthorpe Nickel Operations, Traka Resources, and Tectonic Resources have all contributed towards specific items such as the plan horse and shelving.
Anyone interested in joining this project is very welcome – nobody began with other than the most basic of knowledge about plants, so the main requirement is enthusiasm. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.