Australian National Botanic Gardens

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Talk: Koalas, their habitat, diet and breeding programs ended on Wednesday 13 March 2019.

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Visual art diary

Creating a Visual Art Diary

Sunday 26 May, Sunday 18 August 10.00 am – 12.30 pm — Banks Building

Learn how nature and art can be combined to create unique, beautiful and captivating artistic images in a creative and inspiring session with Julia Lanford.

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NatureArt holiday program

Puggles and Explore NatureArt school holiday program

8–12 July, 15–19 July 2019 — Banks Building

Discover and learn about nature through observation, drawing, painting, nature journaling and craft. Get to know the birds, insects, marsupials, reptiles and the unique Australian plant communities featured in the Gardens.

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Free Flora Explorer rides for National Botanic Gardens Day

National Botanic Gardens Day – Free Flora Explorer Rides

Sunday 26 May 10.30 am – 2.30 pm — Leave from the Visitor Centre

Celebrate National Botanic Gardens Day with a new way to see the Gardens on board our electric bus. Hop off and explore the Gardens or loop all the way back to the Visitor Centre.

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Wiradjuri storyteller Larry Brandy

National Botanic Gardens Day and Reconciliation Day – Wiradjuri Storytelling

Sunday 26 May, 10.30–11.30 am & 1.30–2.30 pm — Crosbie Morrison Amphitheatre

Join Aboriginal storyteller Larry Brandy in the Gardens as he shares his Wiradjuri culture with people of all ages through performance and storytelling.

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Wednesday 13 March, 6.00–7.30 pm — Theatrette

Hear an insightful talk about koalas and their habitats, diet and breeding programs from ecologist Dr Karen Ford and veterinarians Dr Arianne Lowe and DrJayne Weller.

Learn about koala distribution, health issues and diseases facing koalas in captivity and in the wild.

Find out how temperature can affect koalas and the food they eat as well as Koala anatomy and social dynamics relevant for breeding programs. Discover what ‘koala browse’ means relative to leaf quality, junk food, trees and habitat.


Gates and the theatrette will open from 5.30 pm. Talk is from 6.00 pm – 7.00 pm followed by drinks and nibbles in the Dickson Room until 7.30 pm. Gates close at 8.00 pm.


Dr Karen Ford

Dr Karen Ford is a Research Fellow in the Division of Ecology and Evolution at the Australian National University.

Karen is particularly interested in how the nutrient and toxin composition of eucalypt leaves influences the diet and population ecology of koalas. Some of the diverse projects on which she has worked include why captive koalas are picky eaters, what makes good quality koala habitat, and how hot weather affects food quality and diet selection.

Dr Jayne Weller

Dr Jayne Weller is the Senior Veterinarian for the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra.

Jayne began her veterinary career after graduating with a veterinary degree from the University of Sydney in 2011 but her path to becoming an exotic animal and zoo animal veterinarian began much before this. Jayne always had a passion for animals and before becoming a veterinarian, Jayne studied zoology at the University of NSW, worked as a zoo keeper in Australia and worked in Africa and Nepal with wildlife.

After graduating, Jayne was employed by the University of Sydney in the exotics and wildlife clinic, first studying as an intern and then as the associate veterinarian. She then spent three months working as the veterinarian of the Lilongwe Wildlife Sanctuary in Malawi before returning to Australia to start and run the Avian and Exotic Service at the Animal Referral Hospital in Sydney. 

For the last three years, Jayne has been the National Zoo and Aquarium veterinarian. She has assisted in setting up the zoo clinic, trained staff and has provided consultation in medicine and surgery for the zoo’s entire collection. Jayne is passionate about her job and her role not only as a veterinary practitioner but in conservation, animal welfare and advocacy.

Dr Arianne Lowe

Dr Arianne Lowe is a small animal and wildlife veterinarian practicing at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and in private practice in the ACT.

Arianne graduated from the University of Sydney as a veterinarian in 2000. Her first job was looking after the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, which was when her love of working with koalas began. Several years later an increasing interest in the environment led her to undertake a PhD at the ANU in environmental conservation and identifying factors for successful project outcomes.

Arianne’s goal is to help as many animals as possible: pets, wildlife and endangered species. At the same time she wants to share information widely with clients, colleagues and children.

At Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, the clinic in the ‘Sanctuary’ enclosure has large windows and a sound system so she is able to chat while working on our amazing Australian native animals. This communication enables a wonderful opportunity to bridge the modern disconnect between people and nature – showing how gorgeous the eyelashes are on a yellow-footed rock wallaby, the luscious tail on a brush-tailed rock wallaby or the amazing double thumbs of a koala. Arianne believes every opportunity to share these stories is a gift.


Wednesday 13 March, 6.00–7.30 pm




$5 plus booking fee