Amateur Logan botanist Glenn Leiper to receive Australian Native Plants Award

HONOURED: Amateur field botanist Glenn Leiper will receive the Australian Native Plants Award in the amateur category.

HONOURED: Amateur field botanist Glenn Leiper will receive the Australian Native Plants Award in the amateur category.

A LOGAN man who co-wrote the top field guide on native plants of south-east Queensland will be recognised for his contribution to the knowledge of Australian plants.

Glenn Leiper, an amateur botanist who has studied and taught about plants in areas including Logan and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands - will be presented with the Australian Native Plants Award on October 1.

The awards are presented every two years by the Australian Native Plant Society to one professional and one amateur who have made outstanding contributions to Australian botany.

A retired educator, Mr Leiper now devotes his time to recording and preserving the indigenous plants of south-east Queensland.

"I retired to try to achieve some of my botanical goals. My love is getting out into wild areas, especially around Queensland, and trying to see plants in their natural habitat," he said.

He has conducted volunteer work with the Queensland Herbarium around the south-east.

"I go out with botanists as a volunteer and photograph plants to get them on file at the herbarium," he said.

"We're trying to increase our knowledge of plant distribution in the region, and at the same time often trying to find long-disappeared plants from the field."

Among his shared achievements was rediscovering the rainforest myrtle tree Gossia gonoclada in the 1980s, more than 100 years after the plant was thought to have become extinct.

He found a new population of native violet and had the Androcalva leiperi species of flowering plant named after him when he spotted a 15 centimetre-high plant from a car window while driving past.

"It's always in partnership with other people," he says.

"I get taken along because I've got good eyes."

Mr Leiper is a conservation officer for Native Plants Queensland and advocated for Murray's Reserve to be bought by Logan City Council in the 1990s after the endangered Gossia gonoclada was discovered there.

He collects seed of local plants for Logan City Council revegetation programs and propagates plants for sale by the Logan River Branch of NPQ.

Mr Leiper's interest in native plants started as a primary school teacher, when trying to green up the bare land around Eagleby South State School, where he was teaching at in the 1970s and 80s.

"We started a bush tucker garden and published our own book of bush tucker and it just took off," he said.

CONSERVATION: Mr Leiper (right) with Kent Endres at a Belivah Creek tree planting event last year.

CONSERVATION: Mr Leiper (right) with Kent Endres at a Belivah Creek tree planting event last year.

He ran the Jacobs Well Environmental Education Centre for the Queensland Education Department for nearly 25 years, first as teacher-in-charge and then as the teaching-principal.

"There was never a dull moment there, with visiting students from all ages and all areas of south-eastern Queensland, with canoes, boats and a 12 metre catamaran," he said.

"We had the islands of southern Moreton Bay and all the forests and mangroves of the area at our disposal for exploration and study by the students."

While learning the names of the new plants he was being introduced to, he started taking photos, then, with three others from the Logan River Branch of NPQ, set about compiling a basic field guide.

After many reprints and two editions of Mangroves to Mountains, the team has more than doubled the number of plants described to about 2500.

The national Australian Native Plant Awards are presented in conjunction with ANPSA's biennial conference and seminar, held this spring in Albany, Western Australia. Presentations will be made on October 1.