THE BOTANIC GARDENer WINTER 2021 - Botanic gardens – Plant science in botanic gardens

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A retrospective − 20 years at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, Canberra Dave Taylor, recently retired Curator, Living Collection, Australian National Botanic Gardens For many years before I started work at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG), I would regularly visit and ‘wander the grounds’, being inspired and intrigued at the extensive and diverse collection of Australian plants. Each visit brought new discoveries and delights. It was not until I started working at the ANBG in 1999, however, that I really became aware of the significance and

Dave Taylor

value of the living collection, and more broadly, the ANBG. I soon picked up that this, together with the amazing specialists and dedicated work behind the scenes, is what makes it such a special place. The more I learned about and worked with the collection and its custodians, the more I recognised it as a truly unique piece of our natural capital. What was a real eye opener was the continuous, dedicated effort by many throughout the history of the ANBG to capture and link the collecting and securing of living collections and seed to their origin, and accessible information. This has ensured the collection is a useful and readily accessible reference for education, research, conservation and history. Today it remains a priority, with constant collaboration to improve the systems, protocols and priorities. Having the fortune to be involved in a range of roles over the last 20 years also allowed me the privilege of working with a diverse group of people who are tremendously dedicated and passionate specialists. Being able to be part of a team that would typically celebrate the collective effort to make a difference, which extended to our many partners outside the ANBG, has been a particular highlight for me. This approach has really developed into a strong cultural ethos here at the ANBG, with many new initiatives and priorities now often starting with: ‘Who can we collaborate with to enhance what we are doing?’ We typically follow through with: ‘How can we share what we are doing with a wider audience and, more broadly, how can we better engage people with our wonderful 66