My name is Michael Smith. I am a true lover of biodiversity and all the benefits of a happy and healthy ecosystem! I am an ecologist working in bush regeneration, wildlife monitoring, habitat engineering and environmental education. Previous to this, I worked as a research technician on such subjects as biocontrol and plant growth. Additionally, I write environmental articles for the Upper Yarra Mail and run my own native landscaping company (Ecological Landscaping). My passions are community involvement, systems thinking, interacting with people and teaching the importance of biodiversity.

In this Flora and Fauna walk, we visit three dry grassy forests around St Andrews and Panton Hill looking for colourful and rare indigenous flowers. Both these country towns are prized for rare plants and wildflower displays. Many wildflowers have mutualistic relationships with fascinating pollinators. These pollinators often have cool behaviours and morphologically are colourful and different looking. Examples include the Dupe Orchid Wasp that attempts to pollinate tongue orchids because these orchids mimic the pheromones of a female wasp and Dianella plants that rely on "buzz pollination" from native pollinators such as the Blue-banded bee.

During the walk, I will point out plants that are hardy enough to grow in your own backyard and explain how they will benefit the ecosystems on your property. For example, attracting beneficial insects and birds. Furthermore, I will give you a range of tips on how to take excellent native photographs,

Additionally, bring your binoculars as we may spot some feathery friends. After the walk, we offer afternoon tea, and a further opportunity to ask questions and look around our property for wildlife.

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Class Schedule

Duration: 2 Hours

What you will learn
  • Where to look for wildflowers in a forest
  • Information on Insect and wildflower relationships
  • Tips on how to identify native plants
What you will get
  • Tea and muffins
  • An open forum to discuss native gardening questions
  • Tips on how to take fantastic wildlife pictures
  • Learn the significance of wildflowers to an ecosystem's health

What to bring
  • Just your enthusiasm!
What to wear

Casual (Warning: It might get messy)

Appropriate for

All ages


Ecological Landscaping

Vendor since 2017

Ecological Landscaping is a landscaping company which works with soil management, biocontrol and garden design to help create ecological balance and sustainability on the properties of our customers.

The roles our company can perform include:

- Facilitating healthy soil by adding organic carbon sources and natural macro/micro nutrients and minerals. We can either provide the nutrients from our nutrient bays or create bays for our customers to set up their own vermicomposting, weed teas and compost.

- Provide vegetable beds with easy access made from recycled timber and/or untreated sustainable material.

- Native gardens with a range of different plants to attract insects, lizards and birds to keep the native ecosystem in check and healthy.

- Water harvesting tanks which capture water to disperse around gardens and allow you to soak weeds in, dilute harsh nutrients and wash equipment.

- Wetland areas including ponds and larger insect and frog habitats. These areas complimented with riparian planting provide suitable habitats for frogs, birds, and insects. Not only do these animals bring joy to a wetland through their vocal cords but they also serve as biocontrol agents as they feast on many pest insects

- Design a planting schedule to make sure your garden has vegetables all year round and so native gardens need little weeding and attract beautiful wildlife.

- Weed management plans to help your garden get back to a sustainable and healthy state.

- Restore native areas to out-compete weeds and provide protection for threatened plant species with materials such as cages and fences.

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