Seed Conservation Techniques students at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank
The Millennium Seed Bank invites members of staff from institutions within its partnership to attend the Seed Conservation Techniques course, based at Wakehurst Place. Livhuwane Nkuna joined us as a participant in 2002 and Michael Eason attended the course in 2004.
"Learning seed conservation techniques on the course not only gave me new skills in handling seeds, but having those skills gave me the confidence to plan and carry out collection trips. Meeting the other partners from various countries was good fun and I learnt a lot from them too. I still keep in touch with Oble Neya from Burkina Faso.
The teaching of the course was very clear, although it would have been good to have more time on each topic. I was really glad to learn such a wide range of practical techniques on the SCT course, it’s just a shame that once back in South Africa, there are not the same opportunities to use some of the laboratory techniques. It would be nice to practice, remember and apply them more regularly.
Part of my work now involves training students and new staff in seed conservation methods, so I regularly have to tell people about the work of the Millennium Seed Bank project. The SCT course was brilliant preparation for this. I enjoyed my time in the UK and it would be good to return and see more of the country."
Livhuwane now coordinates the seed collection programme in northern and central parts of South Africa.
Michael Eason, SCT participant in 2004
"I found the course thoroughly enjoyable. Prior to coming to MSB, I was new to the seed collecting game and I learned quite a bit from the course - what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. I passed up many collections, thinking the population was not large enough. Since the course we have gone back to those populations and made collections from several of them. I still keep in touch with several of the partners from Australia and still have the hope that I will make it to Australia one day to assist in one of their collecting trips.
After completing the SCT course we were able to develop a mini seed conservation workshop for our volunteers at LBJWC. The volunteers absolutely love this program. They feel they are making a difference and enjoy the opportunity to travel to different areas of Texas in order to collect seed".
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew