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

Speakers and Topics for 2008

February 8th


Graham Dowden


"North by north-west, a botanical journey from Hornsby to the Kimberley"

Graham Dowden is the director of Skybrook Technical Writing. Prior to this, he was a biochemist working in the field of cell-surface proteins and cancer research. Graham has a particular interest in the botany of the Kimberley and the Sydney basin, where his pursuits have led to discoveries of numerous populations of rare plants, with contributions to the Hornsby Shire Council Herbarium, Atlas of NSW Wildlife, and Western Australian Herbarium. Graham spent 6 months at the Mornington Sanctuary in the Kimberley region and will talk about his work with the Kimberley flora and the on-line herbarium that he created.

March 14th


Dr Richard Major


"What are the historical changes in Sydney's Bird Communities: What are the main drivers?"

Richard is a terrestrial ecologist with the Australian Museum and has been closely involved with the “Birds in Backyards” programme. His research interests include:

  • The breeding biology of birds
  • Effects of fragmentation on animal populations and communities
  • Avian nest predation, and
  • Ecology of birds in urban environments

April 11th


Mark Abell


How to set up a Native Garden Pond

Mark is a member of the North Shore Group of the Australian Plants Society and has a keen interest in native freshwater fish (he is a member of the Australia & New Guinea Fishes Association) and has a garden full of unusual and, often difficult to grow, native plants.

Mark will explain how to establish an attractive healthy pond, using Australian fish and plants including basic pond and planting guidelines, natural ponds, fish, frogs and other animals, plant types including those indigenous to the Sydney region, and aquatic weeds. Water plants will be on sale.

May 9th


Maurizio Rossetto


"The modern botanist's molecular toolbox "

Maurizio is a conservation geneticist with the Royal Botanic Gardens and works on the evolutionary, ecological and conservation genetics of native plants. His current interest is in Australian rainforest habitats and the development and application of new molecular approaches that support innovative evolutionary and conservation research on the Australian flora. Maurizio is researching the biogeography and ecology of ELAEOCARPACEAE and CUNONIACEAE and is involved with a multi-species recovery planning programme for the Border ranges.

Don't be too perturbed by the technical sounding nature of this talk as Maurizio will explain DNA sequencing in laywoman's terms and how it has revolutionised the approach to systematics. Perhaps, after this you will have a clearer idea of why plant names keep changing every other week!

June 13th


Bob Makinson


"Plant Conservation in NSW"

Bob Makinson is a conservation botanist with the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust in Sydney. Before that, he spent 10 years as curator at the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra. Bob is a specialist in the taxonomy of Grevillea, Muehlenbeckia and Astrotricha. I notice that Bob has a Grevillea named after him: Grevillea makinsonii.

July 11th


Doug Beckers


"Coastal Heath"

Doug is an ecologist with the NSW Department of Environment & Climate Change who has spent many years undertaking research and conservation management projects on both plants and animals in heathland communities.


August 8th


Barry Conn


"Plants of New Guinea"

Barry is a botanist and manager of the Plant Diversity Section at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Barry has been spending a lot of time undertaking botanical research in New Guinea and will talk about his work over there. He has been developing an interactive identification key to trees of Papua New Guinea. He also specialises in the systematics of LAMIACEAE, LOGANIACEAE, URTICACEAE and XYRIDACEAE.

September 12th


Alec Fisher


"Flora of the high arctic"

This continues a series of talks to the Group by Alec, a long time member, on unusual plants in unusual places. He recently visited the high Arctic (80° N) to see the profusion of flowering plants of diverse form and colour, all in miniature, which appear for a brief time when snows melt on the flats between glaciers, mountains and the ocean. The signs of the massive slaughter of whale and walrus in the past and, currently, of global warming add visual impact to the story of the region, past and present.

October 10th


Nancy Pallin & Neroli Lock


"The BGHF Saga: where from and where to from here?"

Nancy and Neroli have been intimately involved with the campaign to save the remaining Blue Gum High Forests remnants - especially Rosedale Road - since the beginning. These two will talk about their experiences, the extent of the forest and the threats to it.

November 14th


John Martyn


"Geology, Landscape and Vegetation of the Sydney Basin"

John Martin is the author of the book Sydney's Natural World - a production that was inspired by the purchase of a digital camera. John was born in Cornwall and came to Australia in 1970 after mapping in the Rift Valley of Kenya for his PhD in geology. Although he has lived in Sydney since 1979, much of his fieldwork as a minerals exploration geologist over the last thirty years has been in Western Australia. John's first experience of spring in the goldfields left him stunned by the colour and variety of the flowers in the bushland. It was the beginning of a lifetime enthusiasm for Australia's flora and fauna. Moving to Sydney he was amazed by the beauty and variety of landscape and wild habitats within and around the city's suburbs. He has been exploring, mapping and photographing Sydney's natural world ever since. John has been on the STEP committee since 1986 and has been responsible for the production of three walking maps and a field guide to Sydney bushland.

December 12th
- Christmas Party

Other Past speakers