The Mark of Adventure (4 of 4)

So here we are at day 4 of our virtual explorations of plants and adventurers.

Being a like minded adventurous spirit,  I am always eager to learn a little behind the scenes – just what goes into planning an expedition… so I was delighted when ‘The Mark of Adventure‘, Mark Weathington, stepped in  at a recent event -Volunteer Appreciation Day –  for  J .C.  Raulston, Sarah B. Duke Gardens, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and Juniper Level Botanic Garden –  to share what was in his suitcase.

Even though Mark was leaving in 2 days to give a talk at a prestigious event: 5th Global Botanic Gardens Congress    and hunt plants in New Zealand, he took the time out to delight his audience with his always packed and ready to go roller bag for plant collecting.

MW Suitcase1This bag gets checked, let’s see what’s inside:

  • MW tech2Notebooks for documenting & sketching, multiple pencils for writing &  marking.
  • Business cards printed in English and the language of the visiting country… plenty of them!

All collected plants must be meticulously cleaned, packed and labeled.  No traces of  soil can be left on a cutting or on seeds… so each night plant hunters can be found in their lodging with sinks or trash cans filled with water for cleaning…  a soft brush is  handy.

MWZiplock2

  • Hefty Zipper Bags  – Mark prefers those with the actual plastic zippers.
  • Scissors  and knife.
  • A spray bottle for a little moisture.  Plastic Plant markers.
  • MWtech3Mark showed the size of the specimens collected (held in right hand), which after cleaning get wrapped in foil.  Paper towels, some moss which also acts as packing material.MW sifter
  • Little sieves from the Dollar Store help when cleaning and sifting seed.
  • Small muslin bags for storing seed in a variety of sizes.
  • A loop or magnifying glass to insure correct ID and check for tiny insects or minute traces of soil.  It is not uncommon for Customs agents to dump the whole lot!

MWtech4Then there’s the tech equipment…

  •  GPS,  to mark location of collected specimens.
  • Chargers for  phones,  that is if there is any reception!
  • Laptops, etc.  which  must also be compatible with the country’s power.
  • Charging for same in vehicles,  Mark brings a charger that accommodates multiple gadgets simultaneously.MW machete
  • Duct Tape – Of Course!!!
  • A re-engineered fishing rod,  when coupled with a cutting implement, PVC pipe  and wire…

MWMachete2An invention of Mark’s to give him extra reach up in a tree or down a ravine to get that plant of desire just out of reach.  Can’t you tell he loves his work!

  • MW booksBooks to research and ID in the country visiting….
  • Passports, Visas,
  • Collecting permits…
  • Folders,
  • Padded envelopes,
  • Flattened fed Ex boxes
  • Labels.
  • MW permits2 Research lists of  plants – those that can not be collected  in particular country and
  • A wish list for the expedition!

MW listAll collected material gets dropped at inspection center usually near an airport and the plant hunter holds their breathe hoping the documented specimens make it out of customs of the visited country.

Then more waiting as the specimens are sent on through to the US Department of Agriculture for another round of inspections… the waiting begins…

MW labelsWhile Mark was still out in the hinterlands of New Zealand… this was posted by Lizzi Lathers of JCRA…

imageLuck!!!   Some of the plants already arrived at the JCRA!

Stay Tuned!  I’ll be following up with a behind the scenes look at what happens next…. as we follow the journey of the collected plants!

Thanks again Mark for the interesting and creative presentation… It was a huge hit!

Enjoy – living the  EntwinedLife

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

JC Raulston Arboretum Volunteer

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