Super crocodilians, ancient cycads, model dolphins and more: Biodiversity in November

International Year of Biodiversity

Welcome to our November bulletin celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity (IYOB).

October saw the launch of the crocheted coral reef, the discovery of science, policy, leadership and action in Wellington, New Zealand, and discussion of the politics of biodiversity in Canberra.

Here’s a taster of what’s on in November:

  • The Melbourne performance collective ‘The Masters of Space and Time’ are performing at the Australian Museum: Swamped is a razor-sharp black comedy demonstrating how the universe twists good intentions into disastrous consequences.
  • There are more than 25 events taking place around the country over the month including asparagus fern eradication in NSW; biodiversity photography in the Murray Darling; the Dunstan dialogues in SA, discovering Victoria’s marine sanctuaries; and butterfly study in WA.
  • And have you visited the biodiversity website lately? You can find out what would you look like as a snail, fish or bat with Monkey Me!
  • Next month The Ecological Society of Australia will be holding their annual conference ‘Sustaining biodiversity: the next 50 years’.

Event highlights for the coming months include a Murray Darling photo exhibition in NSW; coming face to face with super crocodilians in the NT; learning about Victoria’s marine parks and sanctuaries and more.

For full details of events and activities near you, visit

The website is open for events, blogs, essays, photos and more. Please use it to promote your own events and ideas. It is the only source of event listings for this bulletin.

We are keen to communicate with anyone with an interest in biodiversity. Please pass this bulletin on to others you think might like to receive it.

Our next bulletin will cover December events.

Kind regards,

Teresa and Valerie

Coordinators, International Year of Biodiversity (Australia)

Teresa Belcher ( | tel: 08 9212 3760)
Valerie Gregory ( | tel: 02 9320 6342)

This bulletin has been sent by Science in Public, on behalf of CAMD and the International Year of Biodiversity Coordinators.

IYOB 2010 is an initiative of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD), funded with assistance from the Science Connections Program within the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.


The biodiversity hub: have your say
Biodiversity events coming up
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia

The biodiversity hub: have your say

Our website ( is a ‘biodiversity hub’ for events in Australia where you can promote your biodiversity news and events, and share stories and ideas. We encourage everyone with an interest in biodiversity to contribute to the website, and to hold events to promote biodiversity during 2010.

You can ‘Add an Event’ at Your event is then added to our searchable calendar and distributed via this news bulletin.

You may also like to create a ‘story’, to tell everyone about your biodiversity activities. You can also add photos (via Flickr), or videos (via YouTube) or interact with us directly on Twitter (

We look forward to seeing your contribution soon!


Crack Theatre Festival at the Australian Museum

‘When you’re up to your arse in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your original intention was to drain the swamp.’

This November at the Australian Museum in Sydney, performance collective ‘The Masters of Space and Time’ present Swamped, a razor-sharp black comedy demonstrating how the universe twists good intentions into disastrous consequences.

Set in Melbourne in 1866, Swamped is based on the real-life Victorian Acclimatisation Society, a group of academics and landowners dedicated to ‘civilising the savage bush’ by introducing as many European species to Australia as possible.

As the Society prepares to unveil their latest triumphant acquisition at a gala event featuring the cream of 19th century Victorian society, one tiny oversight in their planning triggers a series of increasingly catastrophic disasters.

More details at

And event details at

Take your revenge on Asparagus fern

Asparagus fern (Protasparagus aethiopicus) is the worst noxious weed in the Pittwater local government area. It infests various types of bushland and requires a lot of digging to control as spraying is often impossible.

Rocky Point is on the western shores of Pittwater, NSW, near Elvina Bay and only accessible by water. Join the local bushcare group in their quest to eradicate asparagus fern. Enjoy a free ferry ride and splendid lunch and an opportunity to work in the endangered ecological community of Pittwater spotted gum forest.

More details at

Murray Darling Basin proposed plan

9 & 11 November 2010, Horsham, Echuca, Narrandera & ACT region

To discuss the ‘Guide to the proposed Basin Plan’, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority is holding community information sessions across the Basin and in Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Senior staff from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, are also attending to provide information on the Australian Government’s Water for the Future program.

Details of the plan are available at Session times and locations at

The crochet coral reef is now open

In Upwey, in the Dandenong Ranges on the outskirts of Melbourne, you can visit The Melbourne Reef. It’s a fusion of higher mathematics, women’s handicrafts, marine biology and environmental activism. Actually—it’s a crocheted coral reef, with contributions from Melbournians ranging in age from three to 93. See how it has come together on the blog at

Sustaining biodiversity: the next 50 years

Ecological Society of Australia – annual conference
6-10 December 2010, Manning Clark Centre, Australian National University, Canberra

Speakers will set the achievements of the past 50 years of ecology in Australia against the biodiversity challenges that still face us. And we will hear from how biodiversity science can be applied on the ground and can shape biodiversity policy.

For further details see

Biodiversity events coming up

Click on the link or visit for full details of each event, and to see newly added events.

Australian Capital Territory

Sustaining biodiversity – the next 50 years

6 – 12 December 2010, Manning Clarke Centre – see conference listings above.

New South Wales

Biodiversity discovery project

1 November – 31 December 2010, Mid north Coast Red Rock to Urunga

The Biodiversity Discovery Project aims to connect a diverse cross-section of the mid-north coast community (Red Rock to Urunga) with their local estuarine wetland. Targeting community members that not only heavily utilise the coastal environment but consider it an important part of their social identity, the project will seek to reach an audience that have a large role to play in the sustainable use and on-going protection of estuarine wetlands.

Murray Darling biodiversity photographic exhibition

1 November – 31 December 2010, Lockhart

This stunning photo display has been created to show the importance and beauty of biodiversity outside your front door.

It highlights the fact that biodiversity is not simply an abstract scientific concept or a pet project of the greenies. In the Murray Darling it supports a number of natural ecosystem processes and services, such as air quality, climate, clean water, pollination, and prevention of erosion

Asparagus out field day

13 November 2010, Rocky Point

A highlight of the bush regeneration year is to see 30-40 people eradicating Asparagus Fern! Join the local bushcare group for another Big Day Out in beautiful Spotted Gum forest, with a splendid lunch as the finale.


16-18 November 2010, Australian Museum, Sydney

What does Jack Bonhom have in that box? The Masters of Space and Time present a razor-sharp black comedy exploring how our good choices lead us to disaster.

Outdoor biodiversity classroom, Coogee Public School

20 November 2010, Coogee public school

The opening of the ‘Outdoor Biodiversity Classroom’ is scheduled for Saturday, Nov 20 at 11am at Coogee Public School, Byron St, Coogee (Sydney).

Planting of natives will occur at 11am alongside presentations of biodiversity-related museum artifacts from the Australian Museum. A BBQ using produce from the school’s new vegetable garden will be provided at 12:30.

Sapphire Coast cetacean diversity program

22-26 November 2010, Eden

The Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre is teaming up with a local professional artist and an Australian National University scientist to mentor regional secondary students in constructing models of local whales and dolphins for permanent display at the Discovery Centre. Each model will be accompanied by electronic displays showing up to date scientific information gathered by participating students, which includes the diversity and importance of cetaceans in temperate marine environments.

Would the planet be better off without us?

24 November 2010, Pyrmont

Does the planet even need us at all? What’s all this biodiversity stuff anyway? To celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity, we’re chatting to a panel of experts, including a fluvial geomorphologist and hydrologist, to discuss why we should care about biodiversity at all. Chaired by Wilson da Silva, editor of COSMOS, it promises to be a night of fun, stimulating discussion, a few laughs, door prizes plus real science with a beer chaser.

Biodiversity discovery workshop – Urunga

27 November 2010, Urunga & Red Rock, mid-north coast NSW

This workshop is part of The Biodiversity Discovery Project, which aims to connect a diverse cross-section of the mid-north coast community (Red Rock to Urunga) with their local estuarine wetland. Targeting community members that not only heavily utilise the coastal environment but consider it an important part of their social identity, the project will seek to reach an audience that have a large role to play in the sustainable use and on-going protection of estuarine wetlands.

S.O.S Aussies

1 January – 31 December 2010

Save Our Species Aussies is a mobile environmental education program which uses live reptiles and a hands-on student-centered approach to environmental education and related topics.

Northern Territory

Exhibition: Supercrocodilians: Darwin’s ultimate survival story

Until 20 January 2011, Museum and Art Gallery, Darwin

Come face to face with one of the largest crocodilians known to have ever existed, which may have measured more than 12 metres in length.

Exhibition: Wildlife of Gondwana

4 December 2010 – 13 March 2011, Museum and Art Gallery, Darwin

Wildlife of Gondwana describes the wildlife of the Great Southern Super continent, Gondwana, from 3.8 billion years to the present.


Ancient Seed Plants and Evolution in the Wet Tropics

15 November 2010, James Cook University, Cairns

Dr Gary Wilson, a biologist and photographer based in north Queensland is presenting a seminar that will discuss aspects of studies being conducted at James Cook University on the evolution and diversity of the cycads, an ancient order of non-flowering seed plants that predate the dinosaurs but persist to this day.


Ongoing, Queensland reefs

CoralWatch is a non-profit organisation built on a research project at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Very little is known about trends of coral bleaching on a global scale. Currently, coral health monitoring mainly occurs around a few reefs that are regularly visited by scientists. There are many questions that will have to be answered in order to try and save the reefs. This is where you can help!

South Australia

Dunstan environment dialogues: biodiversity begins at home

24 November 2010, The Science Exchange, Adelaide

This Dunstan Dialogue will focus on ways we can make a difference by protecting and restoring habitats, and reducing our ecological footprint. With Craig Gillespie, Corey Bradshaw, Sarah Lance, Andrew Lowe, Matt Turner and Mike Young.

Sprigg lecture series – Tim Jarvis: following Mawson

30 November 2010, the South Australian Museum, Adelaide

Tim is an environmental scientist, adventurer and conservationist and involved in many environmental projects around the world.

Diversity at sea: Port River dolphins

Until 10 December 2010, South Australian Maritime Museum, Port Adelaide

School students in all year levels can explore the rich biodiversity of South Australia’s marine bioregions. The program draws in depth from the local and topical example of the Port River dolphin pod and students will engage in innovative and experiential activities, including role-play and storytelling, using the South Australian Maritime Museum’s resources. It will be available during school terms in 2010.


A year of wonder in the island arc

Until 21 December 2010, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart

Hands-on real science and the wonder of discovery! Choose one or more of these elegant and achievable programs at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.


Hyperbolic crochet coral reef project – the Melbourne reef exhibition

Until 9 January 2011, Burrinja Gallery, Upwey

The Melbourne Reef is a satellite of a Global Community Endeavour created in 2005 by Australian sisters Margaret & Christine Wertheim, of The Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles. Fusing higher mathematics, women’s handicrafts, marine biology and environmental activism, this project has captured the imaginations of people all over the world with ‘Satellite Reefs’ now having been made on every continent except Antarctica.

Wild: amazing animals in a changing world

Permanent exhibition, Museum Victoria, Carlton

Be surrounded by the wonderful diversity of mammals, birds and reptiles from around the world. Experience Victorian environments such as alps, grassland, wetlands and discover why biodiversity is under threat and get clues about how we can create a more hopeful future.

Wet, wild & wonderful – Victoria’s marine parks & sanctuaries

16 November 2010

What are Marine Sanctuaries? Why are they important? What lives in a Marine Sanctuary? Find out answers to all these questions and more in an illustrated talk by Mark Rodrigue from Parks Victoria. This is part of the public program for the coral reef project (above).

Western Australia

A monument to biodiversity

3-12 November 2010, Kensington

An exhibition of student design competition work from the first year of Landscape Architecture, University of Western Australia.

Butterfly study – young naturalists club

14 November 2010, WA Museum, Albany

We have butterfly specimens for club members to rehydrate and pin to a display board just like our scientists do. You will learn how to identify the species of butterfly you have and include this information inside your display box. The butterfly and display boxes are for club members to keep.

Biodiversity in the ‘burbs

19 November 2010, WA Museum, Perth Cultural Centre

Do city dwellers know what’s in their backyard, parklands and ponds? It’s often the last refuge for an amazing diversity of animals that lived in the area first.

Wildlife carers – young naturalists club

21 November 2010, WA Museum, Albany

Local wildlife carers, Bob and Tina Smith, will come along to the museum to show us and talk about the wildlife that they have rescued and are rehabilitating to be released back into the wild.  They will tell us about what they do and how we can best help our wildlife, especially if they are injured. They can’t guarantee what animals they will have on the day but will bring along whatever animals are in their care at the time.

Mini Muses – multiple events

25 November 2010 & 24 February 2011, WA Museum, Albany

Mini Muses are a fun series of junior sessions (children 5 years and under) which will introduce your child to the wonderful native creatures of Western Australia.

Rehabilitation as a biodiversity tool

26 November 2010, State Library of Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre

Join Harry Butler as he discusses how rehabilitation can be used as a biodiversity tool, including the reclamation of derelict or abandoned lands to assist the restoration of initial or preferred biota of particular interest to miners.

Tales of fight or flight

25-26 November 2010, WA Museum, Albany

Who are the villains and heroes, victims and survivors in the changing diversity of birdlife in the Southwest? Take a look at the last 200 years since European settlement.

WA wetlands – touring exhibition

24 October 2010 – 30 June 2011, launching in Mandurah

The exhibition will encompass such themes as the importance of wetlands to healthy water supplies, biodiversity and living sustainably, myths and indigenous stories, and community activities to rehabilitate and save wetlands.

Whiteman Park presents ‘super natural elements’

12 October 2010 – 31 December 2011, Whiteman Park, Perth

‘Super Natural Elements’ is an Environmental Education Program which aims to educate students about important aspects of the natural environment including biodiversity.

To get your event mentioned in the next bulletin, please add it to the online biodiversity event calendar.


This bulletin has been sent by Science in Public, on behalf of CAMD and the International Year of Biodiversity Coordinators.


Teresa Belcher,, tel: 08 9212 3760
Valerie Gregory,, tel: 02 9320 6342

IYOB 2010 is an initiative of the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (CAMD), funded with assistance from the Science Connections Program within the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.