Dr Lucy Commander (MC)
Dr Lucy Commander is a restoration ecologist who enjoys sharing information through writing practitioner guidelines & literature reviews, as well as organising workshops & conferences. She is currently Project Manager at the Australian Network for Plant Conservation (ANPC) in charge of producing the second edition of the FloraBank Guidelines for best practice native seed collection and use, is writing reviews for Project Phoenix - the Greening Australia program to build and secure native seed and plant supply for post-fire restoration, and undertakes consultancy work for various clients. Lucy has been interested in native seeds and restoration for over 15 years, starting with an Honours project at a mine in the Kimberley, followed by a PhD with a field site in Shark Bay. Based at Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Lucy completed post-doctoral research projects for several industry partners in the mid-west and Pilbara, enabling them to improve their seed use for restoration, producing restoration plans and writing scientific papers. Published in 2018, Lucy was the lead editor of the third edition of the ANPC Translocation Guidelines, and in 2019, organised Nature City Seminar, which brought people together to share research and case studies on how to better manage, restore and connect with nature in urban areas.
Dr. Catherine Baudains (RR8 Advisory Committee spokesperson)
Dr. Catherine Baudains is an Adjunct lecturer in Environmental Education for Sustainability at Murdoch University, a qualified teacher, the secretary of the WA Chapter of the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE WA). Her academic interests focus on the role of education for achieving sustainable environmental outcomes through voluntary human behaviour change. She is involved in diverse projects relating to urban biodiversity, biosecurity, wetlands, and climate change through to youth engagement and curriculum development.
Felicity Bradshaw (Keynote)
Ms Felicity Bradshaw AM MSc, has been involved in biological sciences for all her professional life, either learning it, teaching it or researching it. She now shares its methods, as a CSIRO STEM Professional in Schools with Primary School students, helping them to understand their natural world. Felicity has entered many classrooms, translating current biological research into something accessible to teachers and young children, whilst maintaining the integrity of the science. As a recent participant in a two-way science program for Aboriginal desert schools, Felicity is extending this understanding to work with Balardong people in their desire for educational improvement in their children.
Rachel Standish (Keynote)
Rachel Standish is an Associate Professor of Ecology at Murdoch University. She is passionate about the application of science to ecological restoration and inspiring the next generation of ecologists to pursue careers in environmental science and conservation. She has been involved with the Roe 8 Rehabilitation project since its inception, providing scientific advice, and designing student-led research projects to provide data to monitor Roe 8 recovery and to give undergraduate students real-world learning opportunities. Her work was showcased on an episode of Gardening Australia in 2019. Rachel sits on the Roe 8 Rehabilitation Advisory Committee and the Perth Urban Restoration Scientific Advisory Committee
Oral McGuire (Keynote)
Oral McGuire, Principle Consultant of Gundi Consulting, is a Whadjuk/Ballardong man. He brings knowledge of the land, rivers, hills and forests, which has been shared through Noongar stories, song lines and beliefs within the Nyungar cultural world and the significant places and sites that are hubs for Noongar cultural heritage and spirit. He has 18 years experience as a professional fire-fighter and for the past 10 years has been driven to regenerate the sacred knowledge around traditional (cultural) burning on his 2100 acre property where he and his family are transforming the land back to its natural state. Their vision is to plant 1 million trees and to (re)create a Noongar cultural sanctuary. Oral is a prominent Noongar community leader, landholder and long-term champion of Aboriginal advancement with extensive experience in traditional land and fire management practices, cultural interpretation and self-development. He has extensive knowledge and experience in cultural and corporate governance, business model innovation and has a proven track record in bridging the divide between ‘mainstream’ and Aboriginal communities and how better engagement can create genuine mutual value and benefit.
Kit Prendergast is a native bee scientist and conservation biologist, dedicated to promoting evidence-based actions to preserve indigenous native bees. She earned a Forrest Scholarship for her Ph.D. research documenting native bee biodiversity in the southwest Western Australian biodiversity hotspot. She created a Facebook group 'Bees in the burbs' which now has almost 8.5K members, and has conducted citizen science projects to engage the community to care about native bees and ensure that there are thriving bee communities. Kit was awarded the Flow Hive Pollinator Support Program, Graduate Women WA Mary Walters Bursary, Australian Wildlife Society University Student Grants Scheme and the Ecological Society of Australia’s Outstanding Outreach Prize, and was a FameLab Australia finalist. She’s been invited to speak at community events and has published several scholarly articles. Kit has also written the popular book 'Creating a Haven for Native Bees.' When she's not out among the bees and flowers she is spending time with her dog, bunny and birds, or tumbling about doing acrobatics as a circus performer.
Merryn Pryor is a conservation biologist with a passion for native bird research, citizen science and education. She has previously worked for the Conservation Council of Western Australia on their citizen science bird survey program, and has experience through working and volunteering at Broome Bird Observatory, Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and with other wildlife conservation organisations. Merryn currently works for Birdlife Australia as the WA Black-Cockatoo Project Officer and is coordinating the 2021 Great Cocky Count, as well as other activities focused on Black-Cockatoo recovery and conservation
Julian Kruger is an environmental scientist with over 20 years’ experience working in the environmental consulting sector. Over the past 15 years he has been the Managing and Technical Director of Astron, Western Australia’s largest independently owned environmental consultancy. He is also the Founder and CEO of Emapper, an environmental data and analytics platform which uses drones, satellite imagery and IoT sensors to monitor environmental outcomes.
Stephen Beatty is Research Leader in the Catchments to Coast node within the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems (Harry Butler Institute). His focus is on determining how inland aquatic ecosystems respond to environmental and human-induced changes such as climate change, water extraction and introduced fishes; and has published over 200 journal articles and reports. His research is highly applied and aims to directly inform the sustainable management of aquatic ecosystems. Science communication is a particular passion of Steve's and he is a CSIRO STEM professional in schools and regularly works with State and Local Governments, community and NRM groups to raise awareness on the value of healthy aquatic ecosystems.
Kate Sputore and Wayne Walters
Kate Sputore has worked in the field of ecosystem conservation and restoration with a focus on coastal and marine environments for many years, and has been fortunate to have worked for Rottnest Island and the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation prior to joining Perth NRM. Her background encompasses significant work as a science communicator and environmental educator, sharing knowledge and inspiring people to become engaged with local conservation initiatives that will lead to positive outcomes for natural areas. Wayne Walters is an experienced environmental educator. His background includes teaching high school science and a variety of education and engagement roles across local government, Perth Zoo, the Western Australian Museum and recently at Perth NRM. He is currently the Program Coordinator for Perth NRM's Adopt A Beach Program. The Adopt A Beach program helps schools experience, learn about and conserve our coastal and marine environments with in-class activities and excursions.
Dr Ben Miller and Russell Miller
Ben Miller is Fire Science Program Leader, and Russell Miller is a Research Scientist in the program, within the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. Part of their research focuses on the effects of fire regimes and grassy weed invasion on native plant communities in urban bushlands. Through collaborative efforts with local and state government agencies, they have established a long-term study aiming to identify the best land management strategies to protect biodiversity values while reducing bushfire risk.
Dr Jane Chambers and Vicky Hartill
Dr Jane Chambers is the Director of NatureLink Perth. NatureLink Perth provides a hub for diverse stakeholders working together to promote nature-linked urban design, to conserve and enhance biodiversity in this global biodiversity hotspot and nurture a healthy, liveable city. She is also a Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University with over 30 years research and management experience in wetlands, rivers and estuaries in South Western Australia. She has been involved in south west snake necked turtle research since 2010. Vicky Hartill is a passionate environmental educator with over a decade of experience in local government. Working with the City of Cockburn’s Environmental Services team since 2008 she has helped build the City’s environmental education program from the ground up. Vicky has always had a strong passion for wetlands, completing her honours in wetland salinity in 2005 at Murdoch University, and she has been involved with the Turtle Trackers program since its inception. Vicky was the winner of Australian Association of Environmental Educators (AAEE) WA Environmental Educator of the Year award in 2013, where she is a regular volunteer.
Tom Mansfield is undertaking a PhD in ecology at Murdoch University. His research focuses on the effects of Phytophthora dieback on bandicoot habitats and fungal food sources. He completed an honours in 2019 studying native root fungi and received First Class Honours, enabling him to engage in a PhD the following year. He is looking to publish that research in 2021. Tom is interested in native fungi and the ecology around them, and as such, has tailored his research towards learning more about them. In his spare time, he enjoys getting in touch with nature through hiking, gardening, and bird watching.
Ali Babington is undertaking a PhD at Murdoch University because she is motivated to improve the sustainability and liveability of urban areas. She completed a Masters Degree in Urban Horticulture at the University of Melbourne, receiving First Class Honours in all classes and graduating in 2020. She enjoys anything plant-related and is excited to learn more about the incredible flora of Western Australia. Ali also volunteers for the City of Melbourne Gardens for Wildlife program and is in the process of starting a group with the Town of Mosman Park.
Liz Kington has been a core crew member since 2014. She has been engaged in Wheatbelt environmental recovery for over 15 years. A Toodyay smallholder, Liz holds a Ph.D. in environmental management and works in National Malleefowl Recovery, which oversees one of Australia’s largest citizen science programs.
Stephen Szydlowski, as the Natural Areas Team Leader for the Town of Victoria Park coordinates and enables the proactive and innovative Friends of Jirdarup Bushland to play a key role in the long-term conservation of an inner urban Threatened Ecological Community. Stephen has led the planning and implementation series of revegetated areas surrounding Kensington Bushland, converting what was historic rubbish tips into a planted buffer zones that has extended the ecological connection to the Banksia Woodland within. His work has engaged the grass roots support from the broader local community and given them voice to the management decisions that have protected this wonderfully diverse urban bushland.