Monday 10 July | 11.10am -12.10pm
Dr Dominic McAfee, The University of Adelaide
Dominic is a marine ecologist at the University of Adelaide working on the recovery of Australia’s lost marine ecosystems, particularly our forgotten oyster reefs. Dominic’s research seeks to understand the ecological and social complexities of the environments in which restorations take place, so we can develop solutions that ensure marine restorations are both a social and environmental success. To do this he works with social scientists, economists, and lawyers to navigate the human side of restoration, while developing ecological solutions to maximise the productivity and resilience of restored ecosystems.
From Amnesia to action: restoring Australia’s forgotten oyster reefs
Few people know that just 200 years ago, Australia’s coastline was carpeted by about 7,000 km of oyster reef. These reefs provided the foundations for thriving marine ecosystems and Indigenous coastal economies for thousands of years, but were near eradicated within a century of European settlement. Today, these reefs are considered functionally extinct and have been largely lost from human memory. However, momentous change is now afoot. Over the past decade, a restoration program has been gaining rapid momentum, from an initial pilot reef restoration in 2015 to 50 restorations nationwide by 2022 and plans for many more. This is story of how this transition, from widespread amnesia that shellfish reefs ever existed, to action on bringing them back, was achieved. It’s a story of how ecologists and social scientists, conservations NGOs, multiple levels of government, Traditional owners and local community groups came together to enable what is now Australia’s largest marine restoration program. Today, local communities are increasingly leading these projects and school students are engaging with technology to monitor these reefs. To tell this story in a broad context, I will walk you through the surprising history of how oysters shaped human history, describe the contemporary challenge and opportunities for restoring lost oysters, and provide a vision for a new culture of restoration that engages all generations in coastal stewardship.
Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries, The University of Adelaide
Entomologist and science communicator Dr Erinn Fagan-Jeffries specialises in the taxonomy of parasitoid wasps, which lay their eggs on or in the bodies of other insects. Erinn is passionate about engaging people in the science of taxonomy, and has guided school groups to find, name and describe species in their local environment. She is currently an Australian Biological Research Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Adelaide, and an Honorary Researcher at the South Australian Museum.
Insect Investigators: Biodiversity and Taxonomy
Documenting our biodiversity is an essential fundamental process that underpins the applied fields of conservation, biosecurity, and environmental management. It is estimated that only around 30% of the Australian fauna and flora are currently named and described scientifically, meaning that 70% of the living things in our environment are not formally documented. Taxonomy is the science of classifying, naming, and describing species so that we can better understand, conserve, and sustainably use our biota. As an insect taxonomist, I use both morphological information (what something looks like) and DNA data to identify insects and find species new to science. In 2022 we worked with 50 regional schools as part of a citizen science project (Insect Investigators) to collect thousands of insects, sequence their DNA, and determine if we had found species new to science that we could name in collaboration with students. In this session, learn about why documenting our biodiversity is so important and how we go about it as taxonomists, find out how you can help document biodiversity with your class, and hear about the scientific results of the Insect Investigators project!
Michael Waite, Fertilis
Michael is a people-oriented leader who cultivates a strong, values-driven culture that motivates others to reach their full potential. As a systems thinker and engineer, Michael brings a unique perspective and technical know-how to the table as a versatile leader in executive management. His unique blend of skills have seen him delivering results across multiple industries, including automotive, defence, space, transport, and medical devices.
Fertility - a big challenge on a small scale
The world is facing a fertility crisis with a decline in birth rates and a rise in infertility globally. This not only affects individuals and couples trying to start a family, but also has broader consequences for society such as an aging population and looming economic and social problems. But, with the advancement of assisted reproduction technologies such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), many couples are given the hope of starting their own family.
Though IVF has been around for a while, it’s still a challenging and often stressful journey with low success rates. However, the future is looking bright with new technological advancements like nano-scale 3D printing, which hold the potential to revolutionise the field and help couples achieve their dreams of parenthood.
Dr Sheryn Pitman, Green Adelaide, Department for Environment and Water
Sheryn has long worked in the field of bringing people and nature together. Currently leading the Adelaide National Park City project with Green Adelaide, she has also led the state’s Green Infrastructure and Sustainable Landscapes programs hosted by the Botanic Gardens of SA, the Inspiring South Australia program hosted by the SA Museum, and habitat restoration projects with Greening Australia. She has also worked as creative writer, and as an educator in primary and secondary schools, and in Universities. Sheryn’s PhD in Ecological Literacy explored some of the complex relationships people have with the natural world along with ways to cultivate an informed population with the capacity to make effective and sustainable environmental decisions.
The global National Park City movement: connecting people and nature in urban environments for health, resilience and sustainability of cities
Adelaide has joined the international family of National Park Cities, declared in December 2021 and the second in the world after London. What does this mean?
While a National Park City is essentially about bringing people and nature together, critical to the health and liveability of cities, it is also about much more than that. We have a springboard to engage with more people, more of our community, to address inequity, to be more inclusive and work more closely with First Nations people. It is the perfect time to highlight the value of green and blue spaces, and to address the health and wellbeing, climate, economic, aesthetic, natural resource, biodiversity, food and sense of place benefits of nature in cities that have been acknowledged as important for a long time now. In addition, being a National Park City provides opportunity for leadership both nationally and internationally.
Cities are our primary human habitats and people have known for some time that we need a new vision for cities. Nature-based solutions must be part of inclusive planning processes to mitigate against and adapt to climate change, to restore functional ecosystems and improve environmental health, and to improve human health - social, physical and mental. We’ve learned a lot, and accept the value of science, technology and innovation. We also now understand the value of nature in cities.
Becoming a National Park City provides refreshed and new opportunities to bring the whole of greater Adelaide along on the journey towards more liveable, sustainable, engaged and empowered communities.
Associate Professor Zohra Lassi, The University of Adelaide
Zohra Lassi is a trained epidemiologist recognised internationally for her work identifying interventions for improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition in disadvantaged settings by advancing knowledge in public health practice and translation into global health policies and guidelines. She has published 200+ peer-reviewed papers, 11 book chapters and several research/technical reports. She completed her PhD in late 2015 and has worked in perinatal research for more than 10 years. Her research interests include social determinants of health-related to RMNCAH&N, particularly in marginalised and low-resource settings. She has a special interest in research synthesis, scaling up evidence-based interventions in community settings, and implementation research in health system research. Currently, she is an Associate Professor affiliated with the Robinson Research Institute at the University of Adelaide.
Social disparity and role of education in health
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have suggested the necessity of an integrative and intersectoral approach to the global health agenda. In recognition of this, education has been considered a core social determinant of health, with SDG 4 focusing on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, with an explicit indicator of better education for girls. Evidence shows the positive relationship between parental education and child health indicators and, in particular, the contribution of maternal education to declines in child mortality. Pathways include economic empowerment, health literacy, health-care-seeking behaviours, working conditions, family structure, and provision of opportunities for quality early childhood development and education. Maternal education potentially results in the acquisition of literacy skills, economic independence, and independent decision-making, leading to improved health-care-seeking behaviour that consequently can improve healthcare and vaccination coverage among children and reduce the burden of childhood diseases and mortality.
The session would talk about the sustainable development goals, social determinants of health and their potential pathways towards influencing the health of mothers and children, particularly those from disadvantaged and less privileged settings and low- and middle-income countries.
Trish Hansen, Urban Mind Studio
Trish Hansen is the Founding Principal of Urban Mind Studio which exists to enrich the creative and cultural life of people and places in myriad ways.
As a natural collaborator and complex systems thinker, Trish has provoked, pioneered and managed social enterprises, programs and projects, in the public and private tertiary adult and paediatric health, urban, arts and cultural sectors.
Trish is a strategist, systems designer and regenerative practitioner with specialist knowledge and skills in world views, biomimicry, doughnut economics, regenerative practice, wellbeing, complexity, futures, the arts and community and cultural development.
Currently the Chair of Brink Productions, is a Good Design Australia Ambassador, Fellow of the Centre for Conscious Design and Founding Chief Executive Officer of Kindred Australia, as well as serving on other committees.
Regenerative Futures Lab
We know we are amid interesting and challenging times, needing to transform the ways we live and work in myriad ways for all humans to thrive on a flourishing planet.
We are being called to change in ways we might not have yet imagined; our inner selves, our interaction with each other, and the ways we live, work, play and learn.
Learning to think differently is part of the journey.
In this interactive workshop we will explore deep time world views, nature’s design genius and use practical approaches to understand our role and impact in ways that nourish ourselves, each other and the places we live.