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Monday, May 31, 2010

Threatened Species to Stand Tall at Grampians Wildflower Show



Threatened wildflower species will be a hot topic at this year’s 73rd annual Grampians Wildflower Show from September 30 –October 3 in Halls Gap, with experts unveiling exciting – and even global - initiatives which aim to preserve, protect and repopulate species like the Grampians Rice Flower.

Endemic to the Grampians region, the Grampians Rice Flower (Pimelea pagophila) is one of many wildflowers that have experienced a substantial growth in population following the January 2006 bushfires that spread through the Grampians National Park.

Grampians Threatened Species Group, Parks Victoria and Department of Sustainability and Environment have been working together to locate and monitor the new populations, and will be excited to share their findings at this year’s Grampians Wildflower Show, says DSE Biodiversity Services Project Officer, Pauline Rudolph.

“This plant was in fairly low numbers before the fires,” Ms Rudolph said. “Post fire we have observed massive germination and establishment of the Grampians Rice Flower. In fact we have now collected enough seed to contribute to the Millennium Seed Bank Project – a global initiative that aims to collect and conserve seed from 10 percent – or 24,000 - of the world’s flowering plants. We’re also enlisting Grampians plant enthusiasts to grow the species for educational purposes and, potentially, for replanting in the Park.”

The Grampians region has the highest number of endemic wildflower species compared to any other region in Australia.

Grampians Wildflower Show spokesperson Margo Sietsma said wildflower lovers would also learn about woodland, heathland and wetland species at this year’s show, which was expected to attract more than 2,000 people from Western Victoria, Melbourne and South Australia.

“Spring is the best time to visit the Grampians and appreciate the multitude of magnificent wildflowers,” Mrs Sietsma said. “The show will display an impressive variety on the day, but there will also be opportunities for people to take part in wildflower and orchid tours throughout the weekend to see the flowers in their natural environment.”

Exhibitors will include Parks Victoria, Friends of Grampians and Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and, for the kids, roving environmental performance group ‘The Connies’ will perform on the Friday and Saturday. Other event highlights include a demonstration by fibre artist of botanical embroidery Lynne Stone from Marysville and the works of renowned Grampians artist Ken Woodcock.

The Grampians Wildflower Show will be held at Centenary Hall, Grampians Road, Halls Gap from 9.30am to 4.30pm daily. Entry is $5 adults, $4 concession and 50 cents for children under 16. Wildflower and orchid tours will be held at 10am and 1pm daily ($4pp – book on the day). For more information call 1800 065 599 or visit grampianswildflowershow.org.au.
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