Australian National Botanic Gardens

12.30 pm on Thursdays from February through November — Theatrette
Our Thursday lunchtime talks cover diverse aspects of the natural world in Australia and around the globe.

The talks are aimed at a  general audience and everyone is welcome.

Please direct queries about the talks to the Thursday Talks Team

To assist in maintaining COVID-19 guidelines, bookings are essential.

The booking link for each talk is on the Friends calendar website entry for the respective talk. Bookings available from the Friday before the talk until Wednesday night before the talk.


22 July
Dr Natasha Robinson
Reintroducing Bandicoots and Quolls to Booderee National Park

Natasha, is a Research Fellow with the National Environmental Science Program, Threatened Species Recovery Hub.  Natasha will talk about what mammal species have been reintroduced to Booderee National Park and what has been learnt so far regarding their ecology and threats to their survival.

30 July
Linda Groom
Threatened alpine species: an update on the campaign to save them from feral horses

Linda, a volunteer with Invasive Species Council’s Reclaim Kosci campaign, will talk about some of the Australian alpine plants threatened by feral horses and how those plants function as natural water managers. She will also provide an update on recent developments in the Reclaim Kosci campaign.

5 August
Professor Andrew Cockburn
Love Life of Blue Wrens

Andrew is an Emeritus Professor at the ANU where his research centres on the evolution of mating systems in birds. DNA fingerprinting of fairy wrens debunked the myth that these birds lived in faithful monogamous pairs. But why are the birds in declining numbers?

12 August
Roger Farrow
Recovery of native vegetation from the recent catastrophic fires: a “remarkable” phenomenon or a natural response. The Nerriga experience.

For many years Roger has studied the sandstone flora of Moreton National Park along the Nerriga Road with members of ANPS.  After the park was entirely burnt by the 2019-2020 fires, a unique opportunity arose to examine the regeneration of the vegetation, as there was great concern that some species could have been lost.
Roger is happy to sign copies of his books after the talk.

19 August
Dr Leo Joseph
Australian bird names are all sorted out. Yes? No? Maybe?

Leo, Director of the Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO, will focus on birds from northern Australia to show where knowledge of the names we need to apply to birds still needs a lot more work.  Examples from lorikeets, friarbirds, orioles, quail-thrush, whipbirds, black-cockatoos, pigeons and maybe a few more!

26 August
Professor Justin Borevitz
Precision Landscape Regeneration

Justin, Professor Research School of Biology Center of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, ANU, will introduce the components of precision landscape regeneration and the outsized role Australia can have in the world. Landscape Genomics methods in Eucalyptus foundation species re-build agro-ecosytems and boosting soil carbon with microbes and management. Integrating and scaling these land-based solutions can build planetary health and resilience.

2 September
Dr Denis Saunders
A working life with Carnaby’s Cockatoo 1968 – 2021

Denis will talk about his research on Carnaby’s Cockatoo, which commenced in 1968 and continued until the present. Classified as “vermin” in 1968, this magnificent species was reclassified in the 1980s as endangered by the WA and Commonwealth governments, and internationally. He will provide results of a study of one breeding population from 1969 to 2020.

9 September 
Jo Harding and Dr Kate Grarock
Bush Blitz – 10 years old and going strong!

Jo and Kate from Bush Blitz, will describe how Bush Blitz has been discovering more than 1700 new species since 2010, across 41 expeditions, including a voyage on RV Investigator. They also engage with land managers, traditional owners, teachers and students. 

16 September 
Dr Arnagretta Hunter 
Climate change and our health and wellbeing

Black Summer 2019 / 2020 left many people in Canberra with personal insight into the health impacts of our changing climate.  This discussion will explore both the health impacts of climate change and the health benefits of our natural environment.

23 September
Dr Prame Chopra
Melting ice and rising seas; how much, how fast?

This talk will discuss the uncertainties in the future paths of ice volume and sea level, the machinations of the imperfect Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the likely consequences for us all.

30 September 
Michael Mulvaney and Chris Davey 
Gang Gang nesting ecology

Chris Davey and Michael Mulvaney will reveal how citizen science research by hundreds of Canberrans has contributed to the scientific and wider understanding of Gang Gang and how this research is to be continued with a focus on trying to answer why the Gang-Gang numbers have been stable but declined in other places. 

7 October
Professor Simon Haberle
What you never knew about poo!

The fascinating story of tiny fungi that live on dung and what they tell us about giant animals that roamed the earth.

14 October
Dr Stuart Rae
The Little Eagle – a botanical perspective

Stuart, a visitor at the Research School of Biology, ANU, has been studying Little Eagles in the Canberra area for the past three years as part of the Little Eagle Research Group, which has amassed a wealth of data on the breeding ecology and range of the eagle, and a botanical perspective helps explain the bird’s distribution.

21 October
Lindy Butcher and Corin Pennock
ACT Wildlife and its wombat programs

Lindy is Wombat Coordinator for ACT Wildlife, and Corin is ACT Wildlife Mange Treatment Program Coordinator. They care for thousands of injured or orphaned wildlife each year. The most endearing wildlife is the wombat, and there is a mange treatment program for wombats; and we look forward to sharing some of their journeys with you.

28 October
Nancy Tingey
27 years in the Garden – The Story of Painting with Parkinsons

A team of facilitators and voluntary helpers have, over the years, enriched the lives of people with Parkinson’s with a program which looks at the challenges raised by the condition and addresses them with a tailor-made approach to relieve stress and encourage self-expression.
Nancy is happy to sign copies of her book after the talk.

 4 November
Anthony Whalen and Anna Fuchs
Global alignment of biodiversity informatics systems

Anthony and Anne play different roles at ANBG, in the Australian National Species List. With an estimated 600,000 or more organisms native to Australia, and many millions found globally, the task of keeping up with published names and taxonomic concepts is a significant one in Australia, and contributes to the Catalogue of Life and other international initiatives.

11 November
Professor David Lindenmayer
The Great Forest

David, from Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU, will present intimate insights into the biology and ecology of Mountain Ash and Alpine Ash forests and outline how human and natural disturbances can interact to threaten these magnificent environments. David concludes with important initiatives to reshape the future trajectory of these tall, wet eucalypt forest ecosystems. 

18 November
Ian Fraser
How Did Australian Birds Get English Names?

Ian will describe how stories of these creations can be intriguing, funny, erroneous and sometimes downright ridiculous. Names usually tell us more about us than the birds. This talk is a celebration of birds, words and history

25 November
Ian Walker
Climate Resilient Environments and Communities

Ian, ACT Conservator for Flora and Fauna will talk about looking after our natural environment as we face climate change with increased fire risk and different patterns of rain, and how communities will cope with the impact of climate change.


12.30 pm on Thursdays from February through November




Entry by donation