Science for the Curious – Biodiversity in the Burbs

Tutor: Kaye Coates,
Presenter: Melissa Doherty, Urban Biodiversity Officer, with Hume City Council
Location:      DWH Mtg Room
Start Date:      16/08/2021 Mon
Finish Date:      13/09/2021
Start Time:      2:00pm
Finish Time:      3:00pm
Number of weeks: 5

This course is the second Science for the Curious Course in Term 3. Presented by Melissa Doherty on behalf of Hume City Council. We thank Hume Council for the support in presenting this five week program.
Do you know your Golden Sun Moths from your Golden Moths? Or a Rosella from a Corella? U3A members are invited to become curious about the biodiversity, or variety of life, found in Hume City.
he major aim of this program is to deepen your connection to nature. Over five Monday afternoon sessions, explore nature-based topics; Indigenous cultural perspectives, citizen science, native plants, wildlife gardening and native grasslands.
The course finishes with a guided field trip to Evans Street Grassland. Your presenter is Melissa Doherty, Urban Biodiversity Officer, with Hume City Council. Melissa is a qualified ecologist and social psychologist, with over 30 years’ experience in environmental education and engagement. Contact Kaye Coates,, or for more information and to register for this Science for the Curious course, supported by Hume City.

16 August – Indigenous Cultural Use of Natural Resources.
The First Australians had countless generations to learn the seasons and rhythms of the natural environment. Everything that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people need was gathered from nature, or made with raw materials and ingenuity. This session is about how the Kulin Nations people, including the Wurundjeri tribes, utilised native plants and animals. Receive information about the local plants that provided food, fibre, medicine and tools.

23 August – Citizen Science Observing nature is a fascinating pastime, but be warned … citizen science can become an addictive hobby. With a smart phone or access to the internet, there’s a huge world of possible projects available.
This session covers the reasons why citizen science is important to help conserve biodiversity.
A deeper connection and awareness of nature is also good for our own health and wellbeing.
The interactive resource provided is a portal into citizen science.

30 August – Native Plant Identification “Plant Blindness” apparently is a thing, where some people can’t tell plants apart! Australian native plants are a glorious array of form, shape and sizes, with numerous details about the leaves, buds, flowers, fruits, and bark providing identification characteristics. This session encourages you to take on the 50 plants in 50 weeks challenge. Endeavour to learn to identify the plants in your garden or neighbourhood. Mentally catalogue some of these plants and watch them over the changing seasons.
From novice to botanical expert, you’ll get tips to help you identify native plants.

6 September – Gardens for Wildlife Q&A Gardens are significant places for many of us, where we seek pleasure and relaxation, or the satisfaction of a job well done. Gardens that attract and support wildlife are spaces that are more vibrant and enriching for all. This session revisits the Gardens for Wildlife program, including the wildlife-friendly garden recipe.
This topic was presented to U3A in March 2021. We can talk about your ideas and aspirations.
You will have the opportunity to order some free indigenous seedlings to plant in your garden in 2022.

13 September – Evans Street Grassland Walk and Talk come to the Evans Street Grassland Meeting Room, at the southern end of the grassland reserve, near to where the Sunbury Men’s Shed is. This excursion is a walk and talk through one of the most beautiful native grassland reserves left in Victoria. It is a remnant of the original native vegetation of the Victorian Volcanic Plain and is now one of Australia’s most critically endangered ecosystems. See it when its stunning spring wildflower display is starting to reveal its beauty. Hopefully, the Golden Moths will be out.
Hear about the history of grasslands, and how Council manages these precious relics. Wear long pants and safe, enclosed walking shoes as we will be walking through long grass. Bring your camera or phone, or sketchpad and pens.
The session will include 15 minutes of one-on-one time with nature, for some citizen science observations, art, journaling or quiet contemplation.