Although I came to Uni determined to be a zoologist, after a year of botany I was hooked! The course content was great and I felt I received a fantastic grounding in all things 'Planty'. Much to my delight the course became even better through second year and into third year where I undertook 5 subjects with the School of Plant Science.
Field Botany was my favourite and I did Honours with Greg Jordan as my supervisor. During this time I got to know lots of the people in Plant Science well, and enjoyed the social life attached to honours.
After leaving Uni I gained employment at Forestry Tasmania as a technical officer working in the plantations branch. Whilst this was a great introduction to the work force, I also longed to work on other native species (aside from blue gums!!), and use more of my skills I had gained from honours. I took up a short term contract at the Forest Practices Board where I got paid to walk around in the bush and survey plants!! It was great!!
At the completion of this contract, Damien and I (another keen botanist produced by Plant Science!), decided to go to W.A to go and see for ourselves some of Australia's most amazing flora. I got a job with the Flora Conservation and Recovery Group in the Science Division of CALM. Damien also got a job working as a botanist for Mattiske Consulting (he now spends his time flying around WA to the Pilbara, Shark Bay, Goldfields, South-West etc, doing vegetation surveys and mapping!!).
Many people we spoke to were impressed with our botanical skills and knowledge, and we were also told that having a botany degree from UTAS is a highly prized asset over here in W.A. Although W.A's flora is 10 times the size of Tasmania's, the plant identification skills we learnt at UTAS allowed us to recognise many families and genera over here, and has given us a head start in familiarising ourselves with the flora.
I'm now looking at the conservation biology of 4 rare species of Tetratheca that grow on banded ironstone ranges 7½ hours drive ENE of Perth. We are undertaking demographic monitoring on each species in order to construct models that can help us predict the risk of extinction, putting into practice what I learnt in 3rd year Plant Ecology!
I am extremely happy that I took Plant Science at UTAS, and enjoyed my time immensely! It has so far come in very useful to my career and I hope to bring back my 'built upon' knowledge and skills back to Tasmania one day. Thanks Plant Science!!
Authorised by the Head of School, Biological Sciences
29 May, 2015