Wild Grasses of Victoria Courses

Biosphere Pty Ltd's Dr Graeme Lorimer has been running courses on wild grasses and their relatives for over 30 years. The courses teach anyone, from novices to professional botanists, about the identification, ecology and management of grasses and grassy vegetation. Rushes and sedges are covered in less detail.

The next course will be in December 2021, modified this year to avoid risk of Covid-19 transmission. Sessions will be on Wednesdays and Thursdays over three consecutive weeks during December 1-16. The week before Christmas is a fallback in case of a minor lockdown disruption.

The course's accustomed three half-day field trips will remain (health orders permitting) but the indoor components of previous years will be replaced by a video (see it here) and three online sessions. The field sites will be in Toolern Vale (in basalt-plains grassland), in the Dandenong Ranges and on the Gippsland Plain in Kilsyth South.

Applications are expected to be invited in October 2021, when there will hopefully be greater clarity about what format the course will be allowed to take. Use the e-mail address at right to ask to go on our e-mail list if you wish to be notified.

Here is a testimonial for the course (pre-Covid):

"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

Wetland Plants Course

The next wetland plants course will be run in January 2022, Covid-19 permitting. 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 quickly distinguish in the field between the most commonly-encountered wetland plant genera such as Juncus, Bolboschoenus, Carex, Cyperus, Isolepis, Persicaria and Azolla;
  • How to identify a wide range of species in the field;
  • How to use my easy-to-use key for identification of Juncus species;
  • The importance and function of ecological wetland processes such as the cycle of wetting and drying, the specialised dispersal of propagules and the cycling or accumulation of chemicals such as nutrients;
  • The ecology and management of wetland weeds; and
  • The basics of creating artificial wetlands and the roles they play

Notes and an identification key to Juncus will be provided.

Here's what three people said about the January 2020 courses:

"If you work in this field, this course is a must."

"Great opportunity to work closely with an expert in this field of study."

"Graeme is great at explaining and answering questions to suit people of all different levels of understanding/backgrounds. He is extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to answer questions, but also doesn't try to push his own agenda/opinions on others."

Depending on the Covid-19 situation, applications for the courses will be invited around November 2021. Use the e-mail address at right to ask to go on our e-mail list if you wish to be kept up-to-date with this and other courses by Biosphere Pty Ltd.