Rare Plant Conservation Program

Volunteer Opportunities


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

Showy Dawnflower rescueNational Collection BedsMiscellaneous tasks

Help rescue Showy Dawnflower from construction site

Location: South Citrus County
RSVP by: January 13, 2017
Dates: January 17, 2017
Contact: Cheryl Peterson, Conservation Program Manager,
cpeterson@boktower.org, 863-734-1220

The Rare Plant Conservation Program performs rare plant rescues from development and impact sites throughout Florida as needed. These rescue efforts rely on volunteer help for success, and have allowed for the preservation of thousands of plants and over a million seeds which would otherwise have been destroyed.

This January we are partnering with the Florida Turnpike Authority, the Florida Forest Service, and local chapters of the Florida Native Plant Society for a rare plant rescue in south Citrus County on Tuesday, January 17. We are looking for about 20 volunteers to help in the relocation of several hundred Showy Dawnflower (Stylisma abdita) from an impact site. We will need about ten people to dig up the plants and place into pots, and another ten people to transplant the plants into the recipient site. No experience is necessary – we will provide full instructions.

We will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Oak Park North Trailhead of the Withlacoochee State Forest and will work until roughly 1:00 p.m. Everyone attending MUST RSVP by Friday, January 13. We will provide you with maps and further instructions prior to the day of the event.

Please wear long pants and boots or close-toed shoes, and bring a hat if desired. Water refills and snacks will be provided. All volunteers will be provided a complimentary (late) lunch at a local venue following the work.

Thank you very much for considering assisting us in this important preservation 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.