KeynotesIntroducing our distinguished keynote speakers

Driving leadership, partnerships, sustainability and cultural connections
to our wetlands.

View our
keynotes

At the centre of the WA Wetlands Conference, keynotes drive the shared daily dialogue that connects the wetland professionals and stakeholders in attendance from around WA. These presentations run for one hour each, showcasing some of our most inspired thinkers as they tackle the most timely topics of today and tomorrow.

We have included two keynote speakers per day, one each for the morning and afternoon sessions. These will be conducted in the main hall and are accessible to all delegates.

Explore some of our recently-announced Keynotes for the WA Wetlands Conference below and stay tuned for additional programs. For more sessions by inspiring creatives, browse through our Featured Speakers page, coming soon.


A Jewel in the Crown of a Global Biodiversity Hotspot

South-western Australia is a global biodiversity hotspot, where the greatest plant species diversity is found on the most severely nutrient-impoverished soils.  Three National Parks and Greater Perth harbour the greatest plant species diversity in south-western Australia.  Within Greater Perth, the Greater Brixton Street Wetlands are notorious for their enormous plant species richness, and home to numerous plant species that have special conservation value as well as several threatened ecological communities.  If we do not mitigate climate change and continue to develop Perth based on out-of-date principles that ignore the sensitive hydrology of our region, many threatened species and ecological communities will be pushed towards extinction. We have a choice, and can prevent at least some of this, but we have to act, and act now. To underpin our actions, we need to understand why some of the species in this regions are rare and why they grow there. I will showcase a study of a Declared Rare Flora species and explain why it is rare and why it only grows there. This provides a clear example of the vulnerability of the Greater Brixton Street Wetlands and what is required to proserve this unique system. 

Emeritus Prof. Hans Lambers

School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia


Born in the Netherlands; PhD (1979), and appointed Professor of Ecophysiology at Utrecht University (1985). Migrated to Australia, where he was appointed Professor of Plant Biology/Ecology at UWA. There, he studied mineral nutrition of Australian native species. In 2006, he established the Kwongan Foundation.

He has published over 550 refereed articles, and features on the recent and current ISI Highly Cited lists. He was elected to the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003), and the Australian Academy of Science (2012).

He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Society of Root Research (2018) and the John Oldham Conservation Employee Award from the CCWA (2019).


Keynote | LEADERSHIP | Day 1 | First Session

The Cultural Importance of the Wetlands and Waterways of the Djalgarro Beeliar Catchment

The Djarlgarro Beeliar (Canning River) is one of the main natural arteries that sustain Perth’s southern landscapes. From the confluence with the Derbarl Yerrigan to its headwaters in the hills, the Djarlgarro Beeliar is fed by several creeks, including the Yule and Bickley Brooks to the north, and Neerigen Brook, Wungong and Southern Rivers to the south. The river, its tributaries, the many wetlands and swamps – and the invisible, yet sustaining groundwater – are a fundamental part of the local environment and hold enormous cultural value.

Noongar knowledge and perspectives of the waterways have been gathered over the decades, often in the context of land development and associated heritage surveys. However, this information is scattered across multiple organizations and not easily accessible, including to the Noongar community itself.

In this presentation, we share the journey of an ongoing collaborative, interdisciplinary, Noongar co-led project that has gathered archival information about the Noongar values associated with the wetlands and waterways of the Djalgarro Beeliar catchment, and has invited the Noongar community to interpret, discuss and map the information gathered.

We share key reflections on the importance of working together and alongside Traditional Owners and the broader Noongar community in the planning, management and interpretation of wetlands and waterways. These ecosystems hold great cultural and heritage value, and they are crucial from an ecological and climate change adaptation perspective. As such, they should be prioritized for best practice in urban planning and water sensitive urban design, but also, importantly, for Reconciliation and social healing through placemaking and shared stewardship.

Dr Cristina Ramalho

School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia


Dr Cristina E Ramalho is a Research Fellow in Urban Ecology at The University of Western Australia. Her work is inter-disciplinary and focuses on how we can better plan, design and manage urban environments in order to make these more liveable, biodiverse, ethical and sustainable. She is interested in evidence-informed urban greening, conservation of urban biodiversity, and integration of traditional knowledge in urban land-use and water planning and natural resource management.


Keynote | RECONCILIATION | Day 1 | Second Session



Re-Enlivening Wetlands: Infusing Through the Sciences, the Arts, and Activism

This paper is framed by the concept of wetlands as living systems. We start with a consideration of how wetlands conform to three principles of life and lifeforms: the ability to evolve, to be bounded physical entities but intimate with their environments, and to operate as purposeful wholes. Side-by-side, in the second perspective, we will use historical, ethnographic and generational storying of the Beeliar wetlands, how they have been used, where foods are, the stomping ground of ceremony, a spirit, to consider wetlands as long time places. A third perspective sees wetlands as agentic and lively, and how we come to make the shift from walking to wetlands, to walking with wetlands. We consider the adjustments necessary to shift thinking beyond the cognitive and the abstract, to the affective, multisensory, embodied and emergent, and how we see ourselves as part of wetlands, and wetlands as part of us. Our presentations will be followed by an interaction between the three speakers where they will respond to each other around the contexts of activism and action - what it might take to re-enliven wetlands, at which point we will be joined by audience comments and questions. Our aim is to leave with a gratitude (for regeneration), a respect (for spirit), and a re-iteration (to remember), of what it is to be wetland.

Dr Libby Jackson-Barrett
Prof. Mindy Blaise    and
Prof. Pierre Horwitz

Centre for People Place and Planet, Edith Cowan University


Dr Libby Jackson-Barrett is a Senior Lecturer for Kurongkurl Katitjin, Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, and a core member of the Strategic Research Centre for People, Place, & Planet at Edith Cowan University. Libby’s research has included On Country Learning,  which the Asia-Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood has recognised as an innovative pedagogical approach to Aboriginal education.

(From top-right, anti-clockwise) Dr Libby Jackson-Barrett, Prof. Mindy Blaise & Prof. Pierre Horwitz

Keynote | SUSTAINABILITY | Day 2 | First Session

Partnerships – Supporting People to Work Together For Positive Ecological Impact

Partnership rolls off the tongue but what does it need to mean in this critical decade between 2020 and 2030? This presentation will discuss partnerships and present an overview of the characteristics of effective partnerships. It we pose questions about what we need to consider when working together on major environmental challenges in the Perth Region.

Perth NRM is embarking upon an ambitious program around collective engagement that moves beyond the traditional approaches of individual organisations addressing similar environmental challenges to a collective approach that relies on strong partnerships between community, industry, and government. This approach is organised around shared outcomes with tracking of agreed measures and transparent reporting of progress. The application of a collective impact approach will ensure our natural ecosystems can be shared with future generations.

Case studies of partnerships in the Perth Region will be highlighted and questions posed about what led to their success in the short and longer-term. There will be an opportunity for the audience to provide input on successful partnerships and how they want to be included in collective impact projects for positive ecological impact.

Dr Ingrid Sieler

Perth Region NRM Inc


Ingrid engages widely with Perth NRM’s community and corporate stakeholders. Her aim is to see more people connecting with Perth’s natural environment and to be better linked to share their knowledge and experiences to create sustainable communities.

Ingrid has over 25 years of experience in environmental and cultural heritage management. She has worked with local, state and national governments to deliver programs aimed at improving on-ground management and conservation of Australia’s heritage. In the last 20 years, Ingrid’s work has focused on building capacity for groups and organisations to conduct their on-ground environmental work and ensure that social, cultural, environmental, and economic values are included during the project implementation. Ingrid is passionate about supporting the community to share their expertise with one another so we can all improve our skills in caring for and acknowledging our unique environment.


Keynote | PARTNERSHIPS | Day 2 | Second Session


Register today!

Join us for an outstanding experience that brings together scientists, planners, community leaders, educators, natural resource managers, aboriginal elders, environmental champions, nature enthusiasts and stakeholders in the network that connects us all – Our Wetlands.