Another year has ended on a sad note with the recent
death of Mr. William (Bill) Payne a founding member and Councillor of
the Foundation who was the driving force behind the formation of the
AFF back in the early 1980's. Bill is known to many for his lifetime
of championing the appreciation of our Australian native plants, not
least as an active member of the Australian Plants Society (previously
SGAP) and editor of Australian Plants for many years.
The most significant achievement for this year has been the continuing improvement of the AFF Web site for which we are indebted to Peter Goodwin and his team. Peter has also done a sterling job in tracking down many of the grant final reports and publishing them on the web site. Recently he established the Foundation's own independent web URL [http://www.aff.org.au/ ] so that the site can be updated efficiently. The support of UQ School of Agronomy and Horticulture in hosting the original site is acknowledged with appreciation.
Thanks also to Ian Cox for taking on the task of compiling our Newsletter. This has been difficult to sustain in the past but with Peter's commitment, and help from people submitting suitable material, hopefully we can keep the volumes flowing. This printed Newsletter goes out to all members and complements the Web site.
The Foundation continues to promote interest in native plants research by awarding Young Scientist Prizes to students presenting the best papers on native plant research at selected national conferences. In memory of Val Williams, who died last year, we now have the Val Williams Prize to be awarded to the best student presentation at the Biennial Wildflower Conference.
We have completed another round of awarding AFF Research Grants with three new projects approved for funding in 2006 (see the Web site for details). Thank you once again to the Scientific Committee for scrutinising the applications. Since its inception the AFF has funded 73 projects totaling $429,000. Considering none of the grants contribute to the researchers' salaries, and all the host research institutions provide additional resources, the total value of the research fostered by the Foundation would be several million dollars. .
So once again, thank you to all the ongoing supporters of the Foundation, including members and donors, and of course the members of Council who make it all happen. While we must continue to work to sustain and grow the Foundation, we can be justly proud of its achievements to date. We are indeed 'Fostering Research into the Biology and Cultivation of the Australian Flora'.
Professor Richard Williams, President