Ever wondered just how a national park comes to be? Or what kind of creature lives without ‘ears’ in our native grasslands? Who are the most dedicated fathers in our marine sanctuaries?

In this series of nature-at-home webinars and workshops, we’ll get up close and personal with our unique wildlife and the special places they live in.


Webinar 1:

We explore the area’s geological history with renowned coastal geomorphologist Professor David Kennedy, then palaeontologist and science communicator Ben Francischelli introduces us to the megafauna that once roamed Port Phillip Bay.

Webinar 2:

We look at marine ecosystems and water quality around the Port Phillip Bay area.

These community webinars were brought to you by Life Saving Victoria in partnership with the Association of Bayside Municipalities and the Victorian National Parks Association.

Award-winning science communicator, teacher and ecologist Dr. Jen Martin from the University of Melbourne joins us for this special hour about all things “sci-comm”.

Jen shares her adventures as an ecologist and science communicator, from the wilderness to the lab, the classroom, to the radio waves and all the way to Antarctica.

A journey in science communication

Dr Jen Martin is an inspiring scientist who founded the University of Melbourne’s Science Communication program, was named Unsung Hero of Australian Science Communication for 2019 and recently won the David White Award for Teaching Excellence.

Among many other things, Jen is also a co-host of 3RRR’s Sunday science show, Einstein-a-go-go and every Wednesday morning she presents the Weird Science segment on 3RRR Breakfasters.

We kicked off this year’s Great Victorian Fish Count in a very 2020 way with our first online GVFC celebration night, featuring one of the grouchiest fish (The Victorian Scalyfin) and the most graceful (The Smooth Ray).

The Grouchy

Mark Norman is currently the Chief Conservation Scientist for Parks Victoria, however back in the 80’s he spent 160 hours underwater observing 80 Victorian Scalyfin at Popes Eye. He joined us to sing their praises and share some stories and images of these territorial little fish. In perfect 2020 fashion he joined us from his car atop a hill to get a better connection!


The Graceful

Joni Pini-Fitzsimmons is a PhD Candidate in Macquarie University’s Fish Lab. She has many years of experience in shark and ray biology and shared insights from her research on the movements and behaviour of coastal ray species in NSW- with a focus on those graceful giants, the Smooth Rays, and the Southern Eagle Ray.


The Great

Nicole Mertens has been running the Great Victorian Fish Count for the past couple of years. She took us through some highlights of 2019 and let us know what’s in store for the 18th GVFC.


Victoria’s network of marine national parks protects some our most iconic and charismatic species: weedy sea dragons, eastern blue devilfish and southern fiddler rays.

Dive into this webinar all about our non-terrestrial national parks to learn about:

  • The creation of the world-first system of marine national parks and sanctuaries in Victoria
  • Why marine parks are as important as their terrestrial siblings
  • What and who lives below the waves of Victoria’s marine parks

This webinar has yet to be scheduled.

Victoria has some 300 distinct habitat types that support around 100,000 remarkable native species.

Watch this webinar to discover:

  • How some of our iconic national parks came into being
  • The importance of national park and conservation reserves for wildlife and habitat
  • Why national parks are critical for protecting our natural heritage for us and future generations
  • Some of challenges in managing these important places


The unburnt forests of the central west are extraordinary. Some 380 rare and threatened birds, mammals and plants call them home.

Join this feature webinar on the central west of Victoria to find out:

    • Why are the forests, landscapes and wildlife of the central west so special?
    • How did protection of 60,000 hectares of forest across the Wombat, Wellsford, Pyrenees Ranges, and Mount Cole become expertly recommended
    • What can you do to help bring these parks to fruition


With over 120 species of crabs including the iconic spindly spider crabs that migrate annually into Port Phillip, Victoria is home to an extraordinary cast of crustaceans.

Crawl sideways into this webinar all about our crabby friends to learn about:

  • The campaign to protect spider crabs in Port Phillip
  • How to identify spider crabs and their relatives with Victoria’s own crab man Dr Gary Poore, Curator Emeritus at Museums Victoria
  • Ways your crab shots can help us learn more about Victoria’s unique marine life


Ever wanted to give bird watching a go? Wondered what that little hopping bird might be? Wondered how to use binoculars?

Birding is a wonderful way to bring new excitement to your adventures in nature, but it can also be done just about anywhere, including from home.

Join us for this online interactive workshop to learn tricks and tips on birdwatching from bird enthusiasts including:

  • Why we love birds and birdwatching
  • Spotting and hearing birds
  • Bird features
  • Resources for identifying and recording birds

This workshop has now passed. 

While we are at home, the fungi are running riot out there in the forest! The recent rains could mean we are in for a bumper fungus season.

These online workshops introduce participants to the diversity, ecology and curiosities of the Kingdom Fungi. We will examine and identify your mushrooms and discuss their greater significance in underpinning terrestrial ecosystems.

  • Why do fungi matter in our forests and gardens?
  • What makes Australian fungi so special?
  • And how do we differentiate the desirable from the deadly?

This workshop has now passed. 

For those who weren’t able to join us for these fabulous workshops with Alison Pouliot you can check out her amazing introduction to ‘The Kingdom of Fungi’ with this fascinating video.