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Conference Program


We have now finalised our conference program as well as our our full suite of Keynote Speakers. A series of conference workshops will be held on Tuesday 15 May with all conference participants encouraged to attend. Click the button below for further details.

Additionally, formal presentations will be held across the two full days of the conference and will cover the following themes:

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Keynote speakers

Keynote 1: dr Ian Lowe

One of Australia's most respected environmental scientists, Dr Ian Lowe is emeritus professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University, where he was previously Head of the School of Science, and an adjunct professor at Flinders University and University of the Sunshine Coast. He holds earned degrees from University of NSW and the University of York, as well as honorary doctorates from Griffith University and the University of the Sunshine Coast. His principal research interests are in the broad area of policy decisions influencing use of science and technology, especially in the fields of energy and environment. He is the author or co-author of 10 Open University books, 12 other books, more than 50 book chapters and over 500 other publications or conference papers. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

Dr Ian Lowe was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 for services to science, technology, and the environment. In 2002 he was awarded a Centenary Medal for contributions to environmental science and won the Eureka Prize for promotion of science. His contributions have also been recognised by the Prime Minister's Environment Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, the Queensland Premier's Millennium Award for Excellence in Science and the University of NSW Alumni Award for achievement in science. Lowe was named Humanist of the Year in 1988. He was President of the Australian Conservation Foundation from 2004 to April 2014. In 2009 the International Academy of Sciences, Health and Ecology awarded him the Konrad Lorenz Gold Medal.

Dr Ian Lowe  Courtesy of Celebrity Speakers -

Dr Ian Lowe
Courtesy of Celebrity Speakers -

Dr Anne Kerle

Dr Anne Kerle

Keynote 2: Dr anne kerle

Born and bred in the NSW Riverina, I was raised with a deep interest in the natural world, the landscape around me and my local community. This subsequently led me to become an ecologist, a profession I have followed for some 35 years across many places and landscapes: from tropical northern Australia to the arid centre and the western slopes and plains of NSW, as well as Vanuatu and sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. I have lived and worked in NSW, west of the mountains, for the last 23 years.

I have a holistic, landscape view of environmental issues. My professional interest lies predominantly in understanding the interactions between the landscape, plants and animals and doing all I can to ensure the survival of our wonderful Australian natural heritage, alongside agricultural production. My passion, however, lies in mammal ecology, having studied the Brushtail Possum in Arnhem land for my PhD. I have also completed a Masters of Environmental Law.

I have worked in both the public (Local, State and Commonwealth governments) and private sectors. As a consultant I have been engaged in strategic planning, natural resource management and monitoring, ecological surveys and impact assessment, policy and legislative reviews, education and training in environmental assessment and monitoring, and the review, evaluation and analysis of existing information and data.

I have been appointed to several natural resource management boards and committees, notably the Central West CMA Board and NPWS Western Rivers Regional Advisory Committee. I am currently a member of the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee which has responsibility for determining whether nominated species or vegetation communities should be listed under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

I have always taken every available opportunity to work closely with the community, and especially with our young citizens, informing and teaching in an easily accessible way about the beauty and importance of our natural surroundings. This includes the publication of two books and habitat management guides, working with filmmakers and running activities such as “Skulls, Scats & Sign”, “Birds, Bats & Bees” and Streamwatch with school children, Girl Guides and local communities. 

When not working I take any opportunity I can find to just be out bush, birdwatching, photographing and looking for little treasures such as native Australian ground orchids.

Keynote 3: Dr David Watson

David Watson is Professor of Ecology at the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University. After completing his Bachelor of Science (double major in Botany and Zoology) and Honours degrees at Monash University, he earned his PhD in Ecology at The University of Kansas, using cloud forests in the highlands of Central America to explore the long-term effects of habitat fragmentation on ecological communities.  His current research interests fall into four broad areas: the biological consequences of habitat fragmentation, ecological interactions between plants and animals with an emphasis on parasitic plants, biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes, and biodiversity survey methods. Combining community-scale descriptive work with species-specific studies, most of his work is restricted to mistletoe and birds, with a growing interest in how interactions with arthropod and microbial assemblages influence ecosystem processes. He has developed new ways to conduct bird surveys and estimate diversity, currently collaborating with computer scientists to build an acoustic observatory to monitor ecosystem health across Australia using autonomous recording units.

Prof Watson has served on the board of directors of Birdlife Australia for two terms, and chaired the Research and Conservation Committee for the organisation. He is currently a member of the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee, and a founding member of the Slopes to Summit regional hub of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative. In addition to training research students and teaching environmental science to undergraduates (which includes leading an annual 18-day trip to northwest NSW), he’s best known in many parts of regional Australia as the flannel-shirt-wearing, binocular-toting ‘Dr Dave’, the face of a series of videos about biodiversity in the Murray Darling Basin. 

Dr David Watson

Dr David Watson

Ben Peacock

Ben Peacock

keynote 4: Ben Peacock

Ben Peacock is Founder and Executive Creative Director at the Republic of Everyone, an award-winning and world-leading community, sustainability, and all round do-good company.

Ben combines creativity with change making to achieve the company's mission to "make doing good, good for business". He's on a mission to create 100 ideas that change the world.

Among them so far are the award winning 202020 Vision, Australia's biggest community day, the Garage Sale Trail and Grow it Local, a fun way to get people to compost and grow their own food.

Ben's book, 'Lessons from My Left Testicle', is about beating cancer and learning to live. He is a spokesperson for the Cancer Council.