Grass Course Offerings for 2019

Of all the families of plants, the grasses are the most important in ecological, economic and agricultural terms. Victoria's 230 indigenous grass species play pivotal ecological roles. The 170 or so wild, introduced species have enormous ecological and economic impact.

This year, Biosphere Pty Ltd's Dr Graeme Lorimer will conduct not only the 31st annual Wild Grasses of Victoria course but also a pair of intensive identification workshops. The workshops are for people who are already fairly proficient with grass structure and identification but struggle with identification keys.

Wild Grasses of Victoria 3-day course

Applications are now open for this renowned course. The course provides a solid foundation for participants to identify Victoria's wild species of grass, in the field and with the aid of identification keys. It covers the ecology, management and growth requirements of grasses. Partipants learn to read the landscape and manage vegetation well through an understanding of the grass species present and their relationships with other flora and fauna. Related groups such as sedges and rushes are covered in less detail.

The course will run for three consecutive Thursdays - 5th, 12th & 19th December 2019, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.

Class size is kept to 18 students - few enough to allow individual attention for novices through to botanists. It is a very social course.

Here is a testimonial:

"The grass course is inspiring and informative. Graeme provides a broad introduction into the world of grasses (as well as valuable knowledge to those with more experience) and provides a diverse range of activities for hands on learning. An absolute must for anyone interested in native grasses. Even if you weren't that interested in grasses before, you will be after the course."
  — Greg Waddell, native vegetation consultant

Grass Identification Workshops

A pair of 3-hour Saturday-afternoon workshops on 14th & 21st December will be run in Blackburn to help people already experienced (but frustrated) with using identification keys for grasses.

After a refresher on terminology and how to examine a grass plant, attention will turn to spear-grasses and their identification. The second afternoon will first focus on wallaby-grasses, followed by other genera. Each participant will receive new identification keys and have a dissecting microscope in front of them. Most of the time will involve practical experience, with roving tutors available to help.

The workshops will be led by Dr Graeme Lorimer. The stellar supporting tutors will be Dr Matt Dell, Ian Clarke (author of 'Name Those Grasses') and/or Neville Walsh, depending on how many participants enrol.

Wetland Plants Course, January 2020

Dr Graeme Lorimer will conduct this popular two-day course in January 2020. It can help anyone, from novice to botanist, to learn the identification and biology of wetland plants, both native and introduced. Plants of stream channels will also be discussed.

The course will cover:

  • How to differentiate between families of wetland plants - rushes, sedges, grasses, cumbungis, knotweeds, duckweeds etc.;
  • How to differentiate between groups of plants within these families, e.g. spike-rushes versus twig-rushes;
  • How to identify most commonly encountered species, in the field and with the aid of identification keys;
  • Ecological functioning of wetlands, e.g. plant/fauna interdependence, seasonal cycles, inter-annual variability and the cycling or accumulation of chemicals such as nutrients.

Notes and identification keys will be provided.

Contact the e-mail address at right if you'd like to be added to Biosphere's e-mail list so you'll know when course details are released.