North Shore Group

Walks & Talks
Coming events


Friday Night Meetings

Meetings are held at 8.00 p.m. on the second Friday of the month
Plant sales from 7.45 p.m.

  At the: "Willow Park Community Centre"
25 Edgeworth David Ave.
NSW Australia

Next meeting

February 10th, 2017

Speaker: To be announced
Topic: To be announced

Information will be posted as soon as it is available.


2017 information will be posted as soon as it is available. Thank you for your patience

Speakers and Topics for 2016

February 12th

Speaker: John Cowgill
Topic: ‘ Australian plants as bonsa’

John has been practicing bonsai for 12 years. He is a member and instructor at the West Pymble Bonsai Study Group, and an active member of Suiseki Australia. He attends many shows and workshops and enjoys working with Australian natives.
At the meeting he will discuss the history of bonsai, then give us a practical demonstration using nursery plants. A lot of information will be available, enabling you to start your own bonsai project.

March 11th

Speaker: Peter Bernhardt, Ren Zong-Xin
Topic: 'International research on orchid pollination'

Dr Peter Bernhardt and Dr Ren Zong-Xin are in Australia on a grant from the Australian Orchid Foundation. They are studying pollination in a group of terrestrial orchids known as Corunastylis and received the grant in conjunction with Dr Peter Weston from the National Herbarium of New South Wales, Dr Dan Bickel of the Australian Museum and Wendy Grimm of the Australian Plants Society.

The two speakers in the field looking at Orchids

April 8th

Speaker: Marco Duretto
Topic: ‘RBG Herbarium - what, why and how to make a good collection’

The National Herbarium of NSW is located at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and contains over 1.2 million preserved plant specimens for botanical and conservation scientific research. But apart from the great location what does it do and how can it help you?  Marco Duretto leads the Plant Diversity group, one of the six research groups at the gardens, and he will discuss what a herbarium is, what role it plays in scientific research and conservation, what is a herbarium specimen and how to make one, and why it could be in yours and the national interest to consider lodging them.

Marco sitting on a rock ledge in bushland.

May 13th

Jonathon Pankhurst
‘Coastal Foredune Plants & Mycorrhizzal Fungi’

For my Honours research I have combined my love for the coast with my passion for biology, to explore the relationship between coastal plants and various species of root fungi collectively known as Mycorrhizal fungi. These fungi are essential for providing nutrients to plants, especially those growing in low nutrient soils.
Bitou bush is a highly invasive coastal weed and its presence may influence the relationships that native plants have with these fungi. The Val Williams Scholarship allows us to sample a greater area of the Illawarra coastline.
At the meeting, Jonathon will share the results of his interesting research.

Jonathon in amonst some coastal scrub.


June 10th

Ian Thompson
‘Insects in your garden’

Before retirement, he worked as a Research Scientist and Entomologist in the development of products for the control of urban insect pests that invade the home, and in particular insects that are vectors of disease such as mosquitoes, cockroaches, dust mites, houseflies and the like. His leisure interests include photography and bush-walking.
His talk will include discussion on insect habit, reproduction and life cycle of some insects and other arthropods found in and around the home garden, together with information on plant - insect interactions and a look at beneficial insects that are encouraged in the garden environment.

Ian Thompson portraitButterfly head up close.

July 8th

Speaker: Liz Burton
Topic: 'Orchids in the Hunter Valley'

Elisabeth Burton has been a life-long naturalist; a botanist, bushwalker, photographer and bush regenerator. Over the last ten years her interest in botany has been focused on Australian native orchids. While collecting orchid specimens for the herbarium at the Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney numerous images were also collected which were then compiled into a book "Orchids of the Hunter Region". This talk will be about that journey.

A ground Orchid

August 12th

Speaker Holly Parsons
Topic: *Birdscaping your garden’

Australia has a wonderful array of birdlife, including those in our parks and gardens. But life in the suburbs is tough and our urban bird community is changing – with big and bossy birds becoming more common. There are things we as individuals can do though to help our local bird life.
Birds in Backyards is a research, education and conservation program from BirdLife Australia about the birds that live where people live. The program was developed in response to the loss of small native birds from our parks and gardens, the rapid expansion of our urban landscape and the subsequent loss of habitat for native birds. As well as focussing on birds, we also want to foster a love of the environment and a connection with nature in the community. Come along and learn about them and some ways you can make your native garden a little more bird-friendly.

A yellow Robin

September 9th

Speaker: Ros Mort
Topic: 'Early logging on North Shore and Identifying Eucs’’

Eucalypts dominate the Australian landscape with over 900 different species displaying great diversity. Identification of eucalypts can be a daunting task.
Ros grew up on the Central Coast on a citrus farm surrounded by bushland.  Her life-long interest in native plants developed here and continues today. She is a Science graduate from the UNSW and has worked as a High School Science teacher in the public and private system for over 40 years.
  We’ll take a look at the early logging of some of the finest forest trees on the North Shore and the importance of conserving our endangered remnant forests e.g. the Blue Gum High Forest. Methods of identifying eucalypts in the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden at St Ives and surrounds will be explored.

Eucalyopt forest

October 14th

Speaker: Marion Anstis
Topic: ‘ Frogs and tadpoles’

Coming from her profession as a high-school music teacher, Dr Marion Anstis is now associated with Newcastle University and the Australian Museum. She has had a lifetime passionate interest in studying which tadpole becomes which frog. She has published numerous papers in scientific journals about tadpoles and frogs, and has produced three books, of which the last was presented for her PhD and has been published by New Holland. Her presentation will highlight the research involved in her latest book and introduce us to selected frogs and tadpoles including some of our local frogs.

A frog

November 11th

Speaker: Mark Abell
Topic: 'Aquatic and Riparian Plants of the Sydney Area'

Australia has one of the world’s most diverse native flora, there are parts of the country that rank amongst the most biodiverse regions in the world.  However, there is much less known about our aquatic flora.  In spite of this being the driest continent on earth, we still have a rich and diverse aquatic flora to accompany our terrestrial flora.
This talk will provide an overview of the many and varied aquatic and riparian plants that are found in the Sydney area. 

A yellow fringe lilly

December 9th

  Christmas Party at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden

Down load the 2016 speakers program.

Past speakers