There are 326 species of local plants growing in the Kings Park bushland, which represents about 15 per cent of the native plants of the Perth region.
Here in Kings Park, seeds and plant materials are collected and stored in the WA Seed Centre. Seed banks are often referred to as an 'environmental insurance policy'. Seeds are amazing little parcels of genetic information. Collecting and storing Western Australian seeds is an important strategy in helping to conserve WA’s biodiversity.
In Kings Park we are interested in the effects of climate change on flowering times and stages of plant life cycles. The ClimateWatch initiative is based on phenology, the study of periodic (seasonal) plant and animal life cycle events. Understanding, observing and recording these events will help unlock the intricate behaviours of some of our most iconic native flora species, contributing to real scientific research.
Join John on the Bushland Nature Trail here in Kings Park to collect data for ClimateWatch. John will show you how to record and make plant observations that could be indicators of climate change.
The Conservation Garden located in the Western Australian Botanic Garden in Kings Park, provides visitors the opportunity to see some of the State's endangered plants growing in a replicated natural habitat. The Conservation Garden highlights Kings Park’s success in saving some plant species from the brink of extinction by using techniques such as tissue culture and DNA analysis.
This is a simple experiment to investigate how a seed germinates. Follow the instructions below to watch a seed germinate, making observations on changes. Once the bean or pea starts to grow measure the length of its roots and shoots. Take photos. Compare with your class members.
- Glass jar
- Paper towel
- Permanent marker
- Bean or pea seeds
- Measuring cylinder
- Recording sheet
- Camera or phone
- Lay out the seed, paper towel, cloth, jar and a measuring cylinder of water. Label the jar with your name, start date and type of seed.
- Dampen the paper towel and cloth. Wrap the inside of the jar with the paper towel and then fill in the middle of the jar with the cloth.
- Push the seed halfway down the jar, between the glass and the paper towel. Make sure you can see it and that it’s not tucked into a fold. Why is this very important?
- Place your jar with the seed in a sunny spot.
- Draw a table for recording your observations (or use our template).
- Check the seed every day. Record and make observations. Take photos or draw changes to your seed. Include the first day the seed coat starts to break open. Use a ruler to measure the length of the root and shoot.
- Once the seed has grown into a full seedling complete your table. How many days did it take to grow into a seedling? Sketch a scientific drawing, labelling the parts - seed coat (testa), cotyledons, plumule, radicle and root hairs.
- Draw a graph to show the root and shoot growth rates (mm/day). Share your results with the class.
- Plant the seedlings in the school garden and watch them grow outside. Keep your eyes open for the next stage of the plant’s life cycle – flowers and fruits.
- Where do seeds come from?
- Students can bring a flower to class. Name the parts of the flower.
- Research how the flowers are fertilised. What is pollination?
- Carry out an apple dissection. Find the seeds. Draw a life cycle for an apple tree.
With your new skills and knowledge head out to a site near your school to participate in citizen science.
Participating in environmentally friendly behaviour increases civic interest and ability to take action. When we equip students to lead action at their school and in their community, they are more likely to become custodians of social and environmental responsibility, educate their families and broader community about the value of sustainability.
ClimateWatch is an Australian program that aims to monitor and collect phenology data during seasonal events that will help scientists understand the effects of climate change.
Being a ClimateWatcher is simple. Download the ClimateWatch app, then observe and record plant and animal information at school, or look for a ClimateWatch trail in your area. The information collected will be used by scientists, policy makers and land managers to understand climate change and take appropriate measures.
Watch this short movie presented by Kings Park Education Officer Rickeeta Walley. Rickeeta is a proud Wadjuk Nyoongar yok (woman) with connections to seven of the 14 Nyoongar nations. She has a passion for Aboriginal language preservation and education.
We would love to hear from you and your class. Share your photos and findings with us via social media using the hashtag #STEMActionInKingsPark.