Our online forums with special guest speakers explore the complex world of invasive species in Australia.
Look around your garden or neighbourhood right now. What do you see? Can you pick the native species from the non-native?
What about in the trees and sky? Do sparrows, starlings and Indian mynas outnumber the pardalotes, parrots and rosellas?
Our new online Q&A Sessions: Aliens Among Us, are aimed at exploring the complex and chaotic world of invasive species in Australia. How did they get here? Are they harming our native ecosystems, plants and wildlife? And what’s being done to repair the damage they have caused up.
Australia’s State of the Environment Report 2021, finally released earlier this year, makes for grim reading. But how central are invasive species to Australia’s extinction crisis? What can we take from the record level of Indigenous authorship in this edition of the report? What do cut flowers have to do with the state of Australia’s environment?
Our fourth Aliens Among Us session welcomes Barry Hunter, one of the co-authors of Australia’s latest State of the Environment Report. Alongside Barry is author and biologist Tim Low, Invasive Species Council Indigenous Ambassador Richard Swain, and Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox as host.
Our panel was kind enough to write some quick answers to some of the questions asked during the session that we didn’t have time to get to.
Our third Aliens Among Us session welcomed John Read, ecologist and author of Among the Pigeons; Why our cats belong indoors. John is considered by some to be Australia’s leading expert on the impacts of feral and roaming cats, and this is a special opportunity to see the world of cats through his eyes.
Alongside John was our expert panel consisting of former Tasmanian Senator Christine Milne, author Tim Low and Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox.
Our panel was kind enough to write some quick answers to the many questions that were asked during this session. It was fantastic to see so much interest in what is such a tricky issue to talk about!
es, any animal (including sheep, mice, humans, bandicoots and even seals etc) can become infected, but the Toxoplasmosis life cycle (production of oocysts) requires a Feline host, so Toxo will rapidly diminish without free-ranging cats. – John
For our first Aliens Among Us of 2022, we welcome Leslie Anthony – author of the book that we named this series after!
Join Leslie, former Tasmanian Senator Christine Milne, author Tim Low and Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox as they explore the complex and chaotic world of invasive species.
Based in Whistler, Leslie is a writer, editor, biologist and occasional filmmaker. His former life as an editor for a number of acclaimed mountain and ski publications has left his name printed into the masthead of a swathe of magazines.
His zoology PhD from the University of Toronto and postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University’s Redpath Museum have left him well-equipped as he has turned his attention towards writing about travel, adventure and science.
Aside from being the inspiration (with permission!) for the name of this seminar series, his book ‘The Aliens Among Us: How Invasive Species are Transforming the Planet—and Ourselves’ is a thoughtful, accessible look at the rapidly growing issue of invasive plants, animals, and microbes around the globe. He draws on science, travel, history and humor to understand the ecological, social, and economic aspects to the burgeoning problem of invasive species.
Our first session stars Australian author Pete Minard, who wrote All Things Harmless, Useful and Ornamental.
Pete grew up in regional Australia surrounded by a landscape infested with rabbits, sparrows and hares. His fascination with how Australia’s landscape and ecology has changed through the introduction of non-native plants and animals reveals an intriguing history shaped and formed by the men behind early acclimatisation societies.
In his book he tells the story of this movement, arguing that far from attempting to re-create London or Paris, settlers sought to combine plants and animals to correct earlier environmental damage and to populate forests, farms, and streams to make them healthier and more productive.
By focusing particularly on the Australian colony of Victoria, Minard reveals a global network of would-be acclimatisers, from Britain and France to Russia and the United States.
Although the movement was short-lived, the long reach of nineteenth-century acclimatisation societies continues to be felt today, from choked waterways to the uncontrollable expansion of European pests in former colonies, including Australia.