Plenaries & Panel Speakers

At VicBioCon21, we were extremely fortunate to have a stellar line-up of plenary and panel speakers. These influential voices provided unique and interesting perspectives on Victorian biodiversity. Check out their bios below.

Euan Ritchie.jpg

A/Prof Euan Ritchie

CIE, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University


'Conserving species and hope amidst Earth’s 6th mass extinction event'

Thursday 11th February 2021 @ 9:30am

Dr Euan Ritchie is an Associate Professor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation in Deakin University’s Centre for Integrative Ecology and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. He has published over 140 scientific articles related with biodiversity conservation, wildlife ecology, ecosystem management and environmental policy. His work has a strong focus on predators and their ecological roles, invasive species, fire ecology, and the ecology, conservation and management of Australian mammals. He was part of a research team whose work on the dingo won the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research in 2013 and was named as one of the Australian Chief Scientist’s ‘Science Superheroes’. He is the director of the Ecology Society of Australia's Media Working Group, Deputy Convenor of Deakin University's Science and Society Network, and a passionate and prolific science communicator. He has written over 50 articles for The Conversation, read more than 1 million times. Euan has been very fortunate that his work has taken him to remote rainforests in Papua New Guinea, ponds in North America, Romania’s bear-filled forests, and savannas, woodland and deserts across Australia, among many other wonderful environments.

Minda Murray

Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University

‘Walking in Two Worlds: Caring for Country, Caring for People’

Thursday 11th February 2021 @ 4:30pm

Minda is a proud Yorta Yorta Duduroa woman. She has spent the most part of her life on country along the Murray River, enjoying learning about culture and the environment. 

Minda has a Bachelor of Environmental Science and 12 years in the environmental management sector in the Victorian public service, catchment management authorities and Aboriginal organisations. She studied a Masters of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development at ANU whilst working in Victoria in Aboriginal Policy and Strategy for the Victorian State government.

Minda also participated in the Indigenous Governance Program at Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona in 2020, before moving to the ANU Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research to embark on a PhD in Aboriginal self-determination and agreement making in her home state of Victoria.


Chris McCormack

Managing Director at Remember The Wild

‘Nature and Narrative: Storytelling and the future of human
nature relationships’ relationships’

Friday 12th February 2021 @ 9:30am

Chris is co-founder and managing director of Australia’s first nature connection charity, Remember The Wild. He has a background in ecology and marine biology, and is currently studying a PhD in conservation psychology; investigating the links between narrative and connection with nature. Chris is a passionate communicator who enjoys telling stories about the natural world through a variety of mediums, including; film, podcasts, and more.

Dr Lindy Lumsden

Arthur Rylah Institute/DELWP

'A fleeting glimpse into the fascinating world of studying bats'

Friday 12th February 2021 @ 4:30pm

Lindy is a Principal Research Scientist at the Arthur Rylah Institute (the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s biodiversity research institute). Lindy has been conducting ecological research on mammals for over 40 years and is a leading expert on the ecology and conservation of bats, as well as undertaking studies on the conservation of forest-dependent threatened mammals, such as Leadbeater’s Possum and Greater Glider. Lindy’s research is aimed at addressing key management and policy questions to inform decision-making. In recognition of her outstanding contribution to native wildlife conservation in Victoria, Lindy was awarded a Public Service Medal in the 2019 Queens Birthday awards. Lindy is also passionate about changing people’s attitudes bats, using her infectious enthusiasm to show how fascinating these often misunderstood tiny mammals are. This contributed to her biggest, and most humbling honour, when a bat was named after her – the Northern Freetailed Bat (Ozimops lumsdenae) – in recognition of her ‘contribution to Australian bat ecology, public engagement and mentoring of students’ – how cool is that!! 

Panel speakers

We had two online panel discussions at the 2021 conference:


‘Are Australia's current laws working to protect threatened biodiversity?’

Thursday 11th February 2021 @ 1:30pm
Featuring: Matt Shanks (Taungurung Land & Waters Council), Rachel Walmsley (Environmental Defenders Office), James Todd (DELWP) & Dr Carly Cook (Monash University)
Moderated by: Dr Jenny Martin (The University of Melbourne)



‘How can we create sustainable, liveable cities for people and wildlife?’

Friday 12th February 2021 @ 1:30pm
Featuring: Prof. Sarah Bekessy (RMIT University), Dr Kerryn Herman (BirdLife Australia), Martin Hartigan
(City West Water) & Kirstine Wallis (Indigenous Advisory Group)
Moderated by: A/Prof. Joe Hurley (RMIT University)