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Seed bank worker

What do they do?

Organise seed collections to contribute towards building a multi-provenance seed collection of all UK woody trees and shrubs to make sure the full range of species is covered. This involves working with forestry and conservation organisations to arrange and carry out fieldwork, transferring and processing of seeds, as well as assisting with training of Kew and partner organisation members on how to conduct seed collection. There is a big nuclear-proof Millennium Seed Bank in Sussex where the processed seeds end up.

What's a typical day like?

There isn’t really one kind of typical day for a plant conservation fieldworker but to keep it simple two kinds of day are in field or in the office. Fieldwork consists of wandering round a natural areas (woods, fields, wetlands etc) and either recording or sampling the plant species present. A day in the office would normally consist of preparing for a visit by researching sites and outlining work practices, or returning to the office after a site visit, entering data and preparing specimens, for further conservation purposes.


This career would suit people with:

  • A positive outlook with some tenacity

  • A sense of direction!

  • Good logistical skills with the ability to adapt quickly (to the weather and environment)

  • A good memory

  • A love of the outdoors and fascination with the natural world

  • The patience to observe and monitor species and habitats season to season and year to year


What makes it a green career?

Plant conservation allows you to watch the environment grow and thrive or do something about it when it doesn’t. It’s important for the future of our natural environments as species are threatened by human impacts.


What qualifications do you need?

A BSc degree as a minimum (but those interested in the science behind plants need an MSc or ideally PhD to achieve specialism).

How much would you earn?

£18,000 to £25,000 per year.

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