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Guest Speakers & Workshops

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Nicole Hodgson

Topic: "Sarah Brooks: a botanical ecobiography"

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Jen Ford

Topic: "The Banksias of Esperance"

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Ken Mills

Topic: " Who killed Dryandra? A Botanical Murder Mystery"

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Tanya Mead, ETNTAC

Topic: "200,000 Seeds: Insights into the Tjaltjraak Holistic Flora Program for Resilient, Healthy Landscapes"

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Yann Toussaint

Workshop: "Regenerative writing: Using science and storytelling to sow seeds of hope"

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pic by Rosie Henderson

Katie White

Workshop: " Illustrating Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa)"

Nicole Hodgson

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Jen Ford

Topic: "Sarah Brooks: a botanical ecobiography"

Sarah Brooks (1850 to 1928) was one of the most prolific women collectors for Baron von Mueller at the Melbourne Herbarium. From 1883 until Mueller’s death in 1895, Sarah collected nearly 1000 specimens from Israelite Bay and near Mt Ragged, still housed at the herbarium in Melbourne. This PhD research is centred on the life of Sarah Brooks; part ecobiography, part environmental history, and will utilise the botanical specimens collected by Sarah as another archive to help tell her story. The research will also focus on the contrast between Sarah’s dawning understanding of the cultural and ecological values of the place she lived and the impact of the colonisation process she was part of.

Biography

Nicole is an environmentalist, writer and ocean swimmer. She has worked for decades in sustainability and environmental policy, primarily with NGOs like Gondwana Link and Green Skills, and for 15 years as a part-time lecturer at Murdoch University. She has recently changed direction to undertake a PhD in Environmental Humanities at UWA from her home base in Denmark, WA.

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Ken Mills

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Topic: "The Banksias of Esperance"

 Join Jen Ford, a local Esperance Wildflower Society member and great Banksia enthusiast, as she describes and shows you the beautiful Banksia species that call the Esperance region home. She will provide information about the evolution, pollination and fruit of our local Banksias. 

Topic: "Who killed Dryandra? A Botanical Murder Mystery"

In 2006 Tony Cavanagh and Margaret Pieroni teamed up to produce a detailed guide to the 94 species in the endemic genus Dryandra of Western Australia. However, if you search for Dryandra on Florabase today, you will be presented with page after page showing every species with a cross against its name indicating that it no longer appears on the official list of WA plants. So what happened to Dryandra in the meantime? How was an iconic group of plants totally eliminated?

 

Join botanist Ken Mills to follow a trail of evidence starting in 18th century Sweden, traversing England and Germany, and finally ending in Australia culminating in this dastardly deed. Meet the heroes and villains of the story and hear how their actions shaped the outcome of this case.

Biography

Ken Mills is an Esperance-based botanist with interests in plant taxonomy, sedge biology and fire ecology. Banksias are a particular source of interest due to their varied response to fire, and their ecological importance as sources of food and shelter for a wide variety of animal species. His interests extend beyond plants, having also been involved in pioneering research on migratory shorebirds. He is currently President of the Esperance Wildflower Society and Chairperson of the Esperance Community Arts Board.

Tanya Mead, ETNTAC

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Yann Toussaint

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Workshop: "Regenerative writing: Using science and storytelling to sow seeds of hope"

 Join nature writer Yann Toussaint in exploring how we can write fiction and non-fiction works that move beyond environmental grief to celebrating a world worth caring for.

Biography

 Yann Toussaint is an author, anthropologist and sustainability educator who lives on the South Coast of Western Australia. Over the years he has worked with threatened species in Mauritius, France and Australia, worked on Native Title claims, run a bush regeneration nursery and community garden, volunteered on organic farms across Europe and, inspired by reading Tintin in Tibet at a tender age, lived in a monastery in the Himalayas

Topic: "200,000 Seeds: Insights into the Tjaltjraak Holistic Flora Program for Resilient, Healthy Landscapes"

 This session is an overview of the Tjaltjraak Healthy Country Program - focused on flora management as part of the 2023 Wildflower Festival Theme.  We provide a snapshot into this holistic approach – involving biodiversity planting, that aims to restore degraded lands with examples of both large-scale and more focused, revegetation projects; with insights into the associated seed collection and propagation science.  This is framed as a case study from the last couple of seasons - with the team planting 200,000 seeds for the Kardutjaanup Ecological Restoration project.  The presentation also explores aspects of our broader program related to cultural plant health, vegetation mapping, and other related themes, including the use of fire for plant and wildlife health. The presentation concludes with a discussion on how this holistic activity is situated within a cultural leadership model - linked to restoring Wudjari Cultural Corridors.

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pic by Rosie Henderson

Workshop: " Illustrating Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa)"

 Katie White, a local Esperance botanist and artist, thinks that there’s no more interesting or more beautiful species than the Showy Banksia (Banksia speciosa). Join her to learn about how to develop a botanical illustration of the species. Begin by learning what the flower is formed by - what do the flower buds look like, what veins do the leaves have and what is the shape of the inflorescence? Then delve into creating a botanical artwork composition with the beginning layers of watercolour applied. 

Biography

Katie White (Caladenia Co) is a botanist and artist, with both disciplines and professions blurring into one with all she does. Working as a botanical scientist has unearthed the beauty of the bush through a different lens. Before beginning any art study, Katie spends hours understanding the morphology, taxonomy and ecology of the wildflowers she paints.

Katie White

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