Australian National Botanic Gardens

12.30 pm on Thursdays from 1 Feb to 29 Nov 2019 — Theatrette

Our Thursday lunchtime talks cover diverse aspects of the natural world in Australia and around the globe.

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

Please email Doug Laing with any questions about our Thursday talks.

Upcoming talks

27 June – Monaro Runes: an artist’s response to dieback on the Monaro

Sharon Field 

Sharon, a renowned botanic artist, will discuss how the impact of dieback on Eucalyptus viminalis in the Monaro region has been widespread and dramatic. Sharon will tell the story of a visual artist’s response to dieback.

4 July – Flinders Ranges geo-heritage: potential World Heritage

Dr Graeme Worboys  

Graeme, from the ANU, will present the core outstanding universal value narrative for the Flinders Ranges that will help to underpin a World Heritage nomination under Criteria viii (geological phenomena).

His presentation will present ancient climates and four attempts at the emergence of animal life on Earth.

11 July – Nine interesting Canberra birds

Geoffrey Dabb

Geoffrey, a lifelong birdwatcher, will present an illustrative talk concentrating on nine species of birds that have a particular connection with Canberra. Three of the birds are residents, three are migrants, and three come and go throughout the year. There are different views on what birds are migrants and what are notable.

18 July – Garden design with native plants

Dr Ben Walcott

Ben will talk about garden design using native plants, including some well-known native gardens.

25 July – Taxonomy, plant names and why nothing ever stays the same

Brendan Lepschi 

Brendan, Curator at the Australian National Herbarium, will discuss some of the reasons plant names change and outline the principles of botanical nomenclature and the rules governing it. He will use members of the iconic Australian family Goodeniaceae as an example.

1 August – Value of wetlands and swamps

Dr Jane Roberts

Jane, a wetland ecologist, will talk about wetlands and how they are currently of scientific interest for their role in carbon storage (which has not always been how they are valued). A historical perspective of wetland values and their changes says more about human society than about wetlands.

8 August – Australian Seed Bank Partnership

Damian Wrigley 

Damian, from the Australian Seed Bank Partnership (ASBP), will outline how the ASBP is contributing to global conservation efforts and will give an update on the Seed Science Forum to be held at the Gardens in 2020.

15 August – Moths and Bushblitzes

Glenn Cocking

Glenn, a volunteer curator at the National Insect Collection, will discuss the moth fauna of Black Mountain in the context of some general observations about moths. He will explain how to understand the families present in the ACT and tell some stories about an eclectic selection of species from wider afield.

22 August – Parrot central for a bird on the edge

Dr Laura Rayner

Laura, a conservation ecologist, will bring us up-to-date on her research into superb parrots – a bird pushed to the very edge of its natural range by climate change and land clearing. It is now a race against time to determine what pressures the parrot is facing and what needs to be done to secure its future.

29 August – Frogwatch: successfully marrying citizen science and community engagement since 2002

Anke-Maria Hoefer

Anke Maria, from the ACT and regional Frogwatch program, will introduce you to the program that engages hundreds of volunteers each year. The data collected feeds into a wide range of frog projects, including frog censuses, climate change investigations and frog habitat studies.  

5 September – Wattle we do with Acacia

Dr Phillip Kodela  

Philip, from the Department of Environment and Energy, will discuss interesting facts and figures about this Acacia genus and related taxa, including recent taxonomic debates and developments in the flora of Australia and plant identification tool WATTLE.

12 September – The Belgica expedition in Antarctic waters (1897–1899)

Dr Patrick De Decker  

Patrick, an Emeritus Professor, at the ANU, will tell the tale of amazing scientific achievements and human endeavour on the Belgica expedition. He will discuss scientific data obtained during the expedition and their subsequent publications over 40 years.

19 September – Can plants meet the challenge of feeding the world’s growing population?

Jim Peacock

Jim, a CSIRO Fellow and former Australian Chief Scientist, is a leader in plant molecular biology. He has made a significant contribution to Australian science, agribusiness and science education in schools.

His talk will focus on the critical question: can plants meet the challenge of the food needed to meet the world’s growing population?

26 September – Alexander von Humboldt, scientific traveller

Jennifer Rowland 

Jennifer is a member of the Friends of the ANBG and Cactus and Succulent Societies. To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Alexander von Humboldt, Jennifer will discuss his life, plant discoveries, trip to Central America and legacies. Von Humboldt influenced many people and left scientific legacies which still impact on us today.


12.30 pm on Thursdays from 1 Feb to 29 Nov 2019




Entry by donation