Grassy Talks

» Talk 1: The Pimelea spinescens story, Dr Debbie Reynolds

»  Talk 2: A new grassland for Royal Park, Katherine Horsfell

»  Talk 3: The striped legless lizard – A short history?, Megan O’Shea

»  Talk 4: Offsets: The good (Yes!), the bad and the intricacies, Lincoln Kern

»  Talk 5: Fat-tailed dunnarts, Dr Emily Scicluna

»  Talk 6: The Friends of grasslands’ experience, Geoff Robertson

» Talk 7: Gardening with grassland plants, Chris Clarke

»  Talk 8: Victoria’s golden sun moth, Graham Jury

»  Talk 9: Merri Creek grassy talk, Ann McGregor & Michael Longmore

»  Talk 10: Invertebrate pollinators in our grassy plains, Allison Menzies

»  Talk 11: Grassy Eucalypt Woodland talk, Ben Cullen

»  Talk 12: Rock the mighty Victorian Volcanic Plain, Dr John Webb

»  Talk 13: ‘Inch flora’, Prof. John Morgan

»  Talk 14: Metro’s rail grasslands, Ben Roberts

»  Talk 15: 25 years of grassland protection, Doug Robinson

Talk 15: 25 years of grassland protection

June 4, 2024

Trust for Nature protects thousands of hectares of Victorian grassland across Victoria. Doug Robinson, their Chief Conservation Scientist reveals some of his insights from the last 25 years.

Talk 14: Metro’s rail grasslands

May 7, 2024

Ben Roberts from Metro Trains tells us how Metro is implementing their Biodiversity Management Plan, caring for the many grassland biosites they’re responsible for, and updates us on an exciting direct seeding trial right now underway.

Talk 13: ‘Inch flora’, Prof. John Morgan

April 9, 2024

One of Australia’s leading grassland ecologists Professor John Morgan (La Trobe University) gives our next Grassy Talk on a favourite subject of his – ‘inch flora’

Tiny annuals, some ‘inch-flora’ are 100,000+ times smaller than a Mountain Ash!

Talk 12: Rock the mighty Victorian Volcanic Plain

March 5, 2024

Emeritus Professor Dr John Webb (La Trobe University) reveals what underlies our great grassy land – the geology and geomorphology of the Victorian Volcanic Plain.

Cue stony rises, lava flows and heavy clay soils!

Talk 11: Grassy Eucalypt Woodland Talk

February 2, 2024

Trust for Nature‘s Ben Cullen‘s Grassy Talk on Grassy Eucalypt Woodlands. We were promised that 1200 hectares of this critically endangered ecosystem would be protected as part of the Melbourne Strategic Assessment, but more than a decade later almost none has been protected. In a shift of strategy away from Public Acquisition Overlays, Ben is leading efforts by Trust for Nature to use covenants to secure the long term protection of Grassy Eucalypt Woodland in the north of Melbourne.

Talk 10: Inverterbrate Pollinators in our Grassy Plains

November 7, 2023

Allison Menzies will give us the buzz on pollination in our grasslands – from forester moths to flower wasps, small black beetles to leafcutter bees. Her current Latrobe Uni Masters project is looking at invertebrate pollinators of five key floral plants at Illabarook Grassland Flora Reserve.

Talk 9: Merri Creek Grassy Talk

October 3, 2023

Ann McGregor and Michael Longmore from the magnificent Friends of Merri Creek and Merri Creek Management Committee will talk about how these twin organisations got to be so fabulously effective at protecting and restoring the Merri and beyond – and bringing in so many people. They have been truly instrumental in creating change.


Talk 8: Victoria’s Golden Sun Moth: The challenges and complexities of managing a cryptic invertebrate

September 5, 2023

Graham Jury is an Ecologist with TREC Land Services. Last year he completed a knowledge synthesis on the Golden Sun Moth for Trust for Nature, incorporating scientific literature, industry reports and stakeholder interviews. He has a passion for invertebrate conservation and has a decade’s experience in grassland conservation across Melbourne and Victoria.


Talk 7: Gardening with Grassland Plants

August 8, 2023

Chris Clarke, Vice President of the Australian Native Plants Society, has a keen interest in the plants of the Victorian Volcanic Plain. He was involved in producing “Plants of Melbourne’s Western Plains – A Gardeners Guide”. Expect glorious photos and great insights from Chris’ Grassy Talk


Talk 6: The Friends of Grasslands’ Experience

July 4, 2023

Friends of Grasslands, the Canberra-based grassland conservation organisation which commenced in 1994, has exceeded expectations, but its vision and approach remains simple. The FoG model now used by many groups is almost self-evident. It is based on volunteers focused on an ecosystem approach, using simple but sound governance principles, learning through visits to grassland sites, workshops, on-ground work, communication of ideas and experience, and experienced-based advocacy, while developing partnerships and networks. This all flows from opening ourselves to nature, learning from First Nations people management of country and encouraging good science and research. It also requires us to unlearn many of our preconceived ideas, prejudices and fears of nature. While this may seem overwhelming and complex, a group of a few open-minded people can create a new beginning. We will briefly explore a short potted history of FoG where we can see how these lessons have been learnt.

Geoff Robertson is a former economist and statistician, who has worked many years in Canberra and internationally, and has extensive experience in many conservation groups. He has been privileged to have close relationships with a number of first nations people. He is a former long-term president of FOG, a former co-owner of a conservation property of Garuwanga, and has been an active innovator in creating grassland projects and initiatives.


Talk 5: Fat-tailed Dunnarts

June 6, 2023

Dr Emily Scicluna discussed all things Fat-tailed Dunnart: ecology, conservation status, skulls, behaviour, threats… and what needs to occur to conserve this species. The Fat-tailed Dunnart is the last small marsupial of the grasslands – and a mighty predator. Emily is the force behind the recent listing of “Dunnies” as Vulnerable under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, and they are now included on the Threatened Species List in Victoria. Loss of their native grassland habitat, as grazing becomes replaced by cropping, has been a major factor in their decline.

Emily recently completed her PhD at La Trobe University and is now a Research Associate at The University of Melbourne, specialising in carnivorous marsupial conservation. Within her PhD project, Emily investigated a number of key aspects of Fat-tailed Dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) ecology, captive breeding, characterisation of personality, cognitive ability, skull morphology and reintroduction success. Her questions revolved around what changes occur during captivity that might influence reintroduction success later.


Talk 4: Offsets: The Good (Yes!), the Bad and the Intricacies

May 2, 2023

Lincoln Kern on Offsets: the Good (Yes!), the Bad, and the Intricacies. Lincoln is Managing Director of Practical Ecology, and has been at the coalface of grassland conservation for 20 years. 


Talk 3: The Striped Legless Lizard – A Short History?

April 4, 2023

Our third Grassy Talk, The Striped Legless Lizard – A Short History? is delivered by researcher and academic Megan O’Shea. Striped Legless Lizards are endemic to Australia and pre-date the arrival of snakes. What do we know about them and why are we concerned about them in 2023?

Megan currently heads up The GREEN Lab @ Iramoo project at Victoria University which focuses on Grasslands: Research, Education, Engagement and Nursery (GREEN). Megan’s work has focused on Striped Legless Lizards, Spiny Rice-flower, and restoration, management and community engagement in grasslands of the Werribee-Keilor Plain. 


Talk 2: A New Grassland for Royal Park

March 7, 2023

For our second Grassy Talk, researcher and academic Katherine Horsfell will takes us through the successful direct seeding recreation of a grassland along the Gatehouse Street edge of Royal Park (one million seeds, 27 species, six surface treatments!), and what her research could mean for the future of grassland restoration.


Talk 1: The Pimelea spinescens story

February 7, 2023

Dr Debbie Reynolds, Pimelea Conservation Officer with Trust for Nature, speaks about the iconic grassland Spiny Rice-flower (Pimelea spinescens).