The following workshops will be offered on Wednesday 27 November 2019. 

Participation in workshops is optional, and not included in full conference registration fees. Additional costs apply. 

How to successfully raise awareness of Phytophthora dieback across all tenures

Workshops organisers: Bruno Rikli and Giles Hardy

Time: 0900-1600

Participation fee: $125 inc GST per person

Considered essential for anyone working in natural areas, managing them or planning for their sustainable future. Learn from experienced professionals using real examples, how to successfully create opportunities for positive human behaviour changes that ultimately enhance biodiversity protection. We will use the widespread high impacting plant disease Phytophthora cinnamomi (a ‘Key Threatening Process to Australia’s Biodiversity’, EPBC Act 1999) to demonstrate an adaptable and successful approach to mitigate anthropogenic disease spread across land tenures. This workshop is suitable for all individuals (e.g. ecologists, undergraduate and post-graduate students, landcare managers and groups, shire councils, utility providers, environmental and community engagement practitioners).

Discussion and sharing the success story from Western Australia (WA) that could be adapted across Australia for various biodiversity threats! We will outline the activities of a successful not-for-profit association that has survived over 20 years of change in government, leadership and the rise and fall of environmental investment. Particularly how it became a leader disseminating science and raising awareness of Phytophthora Dieback, as well as the leading association for training stakeholders across land tenures about biodiversity threats and biosecurity-hygiene.

We will outline one approach to successfully engage diverse stakeholders through training, environmental compliance and advocacy. This includes explaining a training model that sustains the training organisation and raises awareness of biosecurity/biodiversity threats and their management. We will even provide you a ‘snap-shot’ of this training to experience it yourself. Now a training requirement for numerous industries in WA, participants learn essential skills and knowledge to apply Biosecurity-Hygiene principles in the field, home or office when planning activities in vulnerable vegetation. This model-training example has received excellent feedback and the not-for-profit Dieback Working Group Inc is the broker for delivering training to participants across all land tenures not covered by WA’s Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (WA).

Communicating real ecology through stories: a writers workshop

Workshops organisers: Dr Ayesha Tulloch and Dr Kirsten Parris (University of Melbourne) 

Time: 0900-1600

Participation fee: $65 inc GST per person. Includes morning tea and lunch. 

Although many ecologists strive to share their research with the public, they often have little experience in the range of non-traditional formats available to them (e.g. poetry, novels, illustrated children’s books, visual art). By focusing only on scientific articles, scientists miss great opportunities to communicate their stories about nature to the public through non-scientific writing forms. Similarly, many writers in the literature community strive to write stories with “real” environmental issues but lack the scientific background to fully understand how to ensure the reality of the ecological story is captured whilst still engaging the audience. This means that most of the stories available to adults and children to learn about Australia’s ecology are either incorrect or overly scientific, despite new and truly interesting ecological, engaging and accurate stories being discovered daily. This one-day workshop aims to start ecologists on the journey of writing creatively for the public. The focus is on creating ecologically accurate children’s literature, as well as promoting collaboration between scientists and the arts world through bringing Australian novelists to work with the ecologists attending the workshop. Encouraging the development of more accurate and ecologically informative stories for children and adults will foster a greater appreciation for the environment and educate the public in important topics. This workshop will appeal to any ecologist with an interest in creative writing, art, story telling or science communication, and who are keen to either work with artists to communicate their science or perhaps become creative writers themselves. The workshop is the first of a series of annual workshops on conventional and novel approaches to science communication to be run under the auspices of the ESA Science Communication Research Chapter, building on successful symposia at the EcoTAS 2017 and ESA 2018 conferences.

Workshop structure

  1. Introductory presentation and participant discussion: “Why is storytelling important to me?”
  2. Presentations by creative writers on their inspirations for writing and tips for scientists to enter the creative writing world
  3. Facilitated panel discussion, during which participants can ask writers specific questions about writing techniques, picking your audience, choosing the right story, or collaborating with writers (not everyone is a creative writer, but many scientists have great ideas for writing that could be communicated through a good partnership!)
  4. Groupwork “pitching” session where participants split into smaller groups led by each invited writer or published novelists in the ESA; each participant will have the chance to “pitch” their creative-writing idea to one of the invited writers and receive constructive feedback from the group.





If you would like to host a workshop at this year’s conference, please download and complete the workshop proposal form below, and email to by 31 August 2019.