Rare Plant Conservation Program

Volunteer Opportunities

consOps201602-01

Rare Plant Conservation Program volunteers help to preserve and understand some of Florida’s rarest plant species.

Throughout the year, we periodically have offsite work at various rare plant populations throughout central Florida. If you would like to be on the email list for field work as opportunities arise, please email cpeterson@boktower.org.

Email our conservation team

Current Volunteer Opportunities

Clasping Warea seedling transplantIrrigation of Sandhill restoration siteNational Collection BedsMiscellaneous tasks


Help transplant seedlings of Clasping Warea into bigger pots

Location: Greenhouse at Bok Tower Gardens
RSVP by: contact any time
Dates: throughout April and May
Contact: Cheryl Peterson, Conservation Program Manager,
cpeterson@boktower.org, 863-734-1220

The Rare Plant Conservation Program works to introduce new populations of rare species into protected lands. This year we are introducing the rare Clasping Warea, Warea amplexifolia, into two protected sites in Lake County. Our first step was to set up seed germination experiments in our greenhouse and seed germinator chamber. These experiments were designed to test whether weather parameters such as temperature, rainfall levels, and seed source parameters like collection site and year have a significant effect on viability of the seeds.

As the seedlings grow over the springtime, they need to be transplanted into larger pots. We are looking for help in potting up these seedlings throughout April and May in our greenhouse. This work can be done weekdays or weekends, and we will provide all training and materials. You can come for just one half-day or come several times, as your schedule permits.

We have hundreds of seedlings currently awaiting transplantation. Thank you very much for considering to help us out!


Help set up irrigation lines at a Sandhill restoration site to reintroduce the rare Clasping Warea

Location: Mountain Lake Estates (carpooling: meet at the Center for Education and Conservation)
RSVP by: April 28, 2017
Dates: May 9, 2017
Contact: Cheryl Peterson, Conservation Program Manager,
cpeterson@boktower.org, 863-734-1220

The Rare Plant Conservation Program of Bok Tower Gardens is partnering with Mountain Lake Estates, Duke Energy, and The Nature Conservancy to restore 20 acres near power line easements into healthy Sandhill habitat. This site is home to one of the last populations of the rare Clasping Warea, Warea amplexifolia. The Clasping Warea population disappeared for many years due to overgrowth of the site, but has reappeared with restoration efforts. As part of this restoration, we are working to introduce at least 600 Clasping Warea and many associated native plant species into the site.

We are looking for volunteers to help set up irrigation lines and injectors to each planting area on May 9. No experience is necessary – we will provide full instructions and all materials needed.

We will meet at 7:45 a.m. at the center for Education and Conservation building at Bok Tower Gardens, then carpool at 8:00 a.m. promptly to the adjacent site. We will work until approximately 11:30 a.m., but no later than noon, and will be happy to provide volunteers with lunch at our Blue Palmetto Café afterward.

Please wear long pants and boots or closed-toe shoes. Bring a bottle of water and a hat, sunscreen and bug spray if desired. Extra water and snacks will be provided. Thank you very much for your consideration in assisting us with this important restoration effort.


consOps201602-03Help maintain the National Collection Beds

Location: Behind the shade house at Bok Tower Gardens
Dates: Ongoing
Contact: Cheryl Peterson, Conservation Program Manager,
cpeterson@boktower.org, 863-734-1220

The 60 National Collection Beds house the living specimens in the National Collection which the Rare Plant Conservation Program curates as part of our participation in the Center for Plant Conservation. This is the only collection of central and north Florida’s rarest plant species. Each plant in the collection is tagged and accessioned, and provides material for research and population introductions, in addition to preserving genotypes which are being lost in the wild. Maintaining these beds requires ongoing, year-round care such as weeding and replacing ground cloth. Please help us maintain the specimens in the beds by helping to pull weeds. A a crew of volunteers works in the beds each Friday morning from 8:00 am to noon, but your help would be appreciated any time during the week.


consOps201602-07Miscellaneous tasks

Location: Garden House, Head House
Dates: Ongoing
Contact: Cheryl Peterson, Conservation Program Manager,
cpeterson@boktower.org, 863-734-1220

Cleaning plastic plant labels for reuse – since these labels cannot be recycled, we re-use them whenever possible, which also saves us money to perform other conservation activities. Cleaning involves wiping each with a Mr. Clean Eraser. This can be done indoors in the Garden House or outdoors at the Head House.

Sorting and packaging organza bags for reuse – we use these handy drawstrings bags for seed collection, hybridization trials and other research in the field. We have many used bags fresh from the laundry which we need help to sort and place into plastic bags so they’ll be ready for us to use again. Location: Garden House.

Sorting plant tags for reuse – we use round, numbered plant tags for many population introduction and monitoring projects in the field. Once removed from the field, we keep them to reuse again. This task involves sorting the tags numerically. Location: Head House.

Racking pipette tips – we use many pipette tips during our ongoing molecular biology projects. The tips are placed into boxes prior to sterilization in an autoclave for use. We have many empty boxes that need to be refilled. This requires wearing latex or other disposable gloves, which we will provide, so the pipette tips remaining clean.