Participant Area

Welcome to Nature Stewards!

In this Participant Area you will find curriculum outlines for the 10 class sessions, a recommended reference list, and merchandise sales.

 Graduation dates

  • North West Hub: Saturday 26th June, 2021
  • Whittlesea: Saturday 3rd July 2021

Upcoming Autumn 2022 programs:
– City of Melbourne area
– Moreland City Council area
– Shire of Yarra Ranges Council area
Applications open December 2021

Any program queries, don’t hesitate to contact the Nature Stewards team:

Curriculum Outline

1: Nature Stewards in context
This session begins with a welcome to Country by an Elder from the local Traditional Owner group. This session then explores where the program comes from, what it is to be a nature steward, the benefits of being in nature, and much more!*

2: Indigenous culture and place
This session further explores welcome to Country, Native Title, local Indigenous cultures, place, and languages across Victoria. It then zooms around some of the Indigenous Protected Areas around Victoria, and finishes with the importance of caring for Country and managing Country together.

3: Looking after nature OR Interpretation
This session may vary depending on where you are doing the program. One focus is an introduction to vegetation and Victoria-wide classification, private property management, and state-wide community groups looking after nature. The other option looks at how we communicate about nature and engage the community via environmental interpretation.

 4: Ecosystems
The big picture session – Earth systems, biodiversity, food webs, and ecology to name a few fundamental concepts. This session then sprints around Victoria as we delve into bioregions and key vegetation communities in your local area. It finishes off with a touch on environmental interpretation if you missed it in the previous session.

5: Geology & Soils
What’s beneath our feet? How do big Earth processes continue to shape our landscape? What is soil and why are soils so important? How to rocks and soils influence fungi, flora, fauna, and our community?

6: Fungi & Flora
Time to focus on the fungi and flora of Victoria and your local area. Finding it, naming it, perhaps even unearthing a lifelong flora or fungi passion?

7: Fauna
The furry and not-so-furry animals around us, finding them, describing them, and supporting them. Perhaps time to discover a lifelong fauna passion too?

8: Water & water life
Water – a vital part of our lives and ecosystems. Local catchments, river systems, dams, water life are some of the streams of this session, together with water in the urban environment.

9: Weather, Climate change, and Fire
This session looks at weather, climate, nature observations, climate change, and fire. What are some potential impacts of climate change and what can we do to ‘climate ready’ our natural spaces? The session then moves to fire – ecology, Indigenous cultural burning and other burning practices and their roles in the landscape. How do we manage fire to support our natural systems and community’s safety? Which organisations manage fire during a crisis? How do we help our communities and environment recover? 

10: Collective action
Finish off your Nature Stewards journey deciding how and where you would like to act for nature through environmental volunteering and citizen science. What are some considerations when choosing a group? This session also outlines some of the many on-going learning and training opportunities available in the environmental sector and finally, provides a chance to reflect, review, and wrap-up the program.
*The session content is used to guide in-class learning, guest presentations, and activities. Full coverage of the content is found in the curriculum document for participants to read at their own leisure.

Reference List

Conservation, restoration, and land management

• Bruce Pascoe (2014), ‘Dark Emu: Black seeds – agriculture or accident’, Magabala Books
• Bishop, A.B. (2018), ‘Habitat. A Practical Guide to Creating a Wildlife-friendly Australian Garden’, Murdoch Books
• David Jones and Phillip RoÖs (2019), ‘Geelong’s Changing Landscape: Ecology, Development and Conservation’, CSIRO Publishing
• David Keith (Ed; 2017), ‘Australian Vegetation’, 3rd Edition, Cambridge University Press, 799 pages
• David Lindenmayer et al. (2018), ‘Restoring farm woodlands for wildlife’, CSIRO Publishing
• David Lindenmayer, Andrew Bennett, and Richard Hobbs (2010), ‘Temperate woodland conservation and management’, CSIRO Publishing, eBook
• Joan Bradley, Audrey Lenning, Jean Walker (2002), ‘Bringing back the bush’, Paperback, 11 pages
• John Wrigley & Murray Fagg (2012), ‘Eucalypts: A celebration’, Allen & Unwin, 352 pages
• Matthew Colloff (2014), ‘Flooded forest and desert creek: Ecology and history of the river red gum’, CSIRO Publishing, 344 pages
• Nicholas Williams et al. (Eds; 2015), ‘Land of sweeping plains: Managing and restoring the native grasslands of south-eastern Australia’, CSIRO publishing, 464 pages
• Rachel Carson (1962), ‘Silent Spring’, Houghton Mifflin Publishing
• Robin Buchanan (2009), ‘Restoring natural areas in Australia’, Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) & NSW government
• Tim Flannery (2002), ‘The Future Eaters’, Grove Press, 432 pages
• Tom Griffiths (2001), ‘Forests of Ash: An environmental history’, Cambridge University Press
• Tongway & Ludwig (2011), ‘Restoring disturbed landscapes: Putting principles into practice’, Society for Restoration International

Environmental interpretation

• David Smaldone (1993), ‘A crash course in environmental interpretation’, National Parks Service
• Douglas Knudson, Ted Cable, and Larry Beck, 1995, ‘Interpretation of Cultural and Natural Resources’. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, Inc.
• Freeman Tilden (2007), ‘Interpreting Our Heritage’. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.
• Larry Beck & Ted Cable (1997), ‘Interpretation for 21st Century: Fifteen Guiding Principles for Interpreting Nature and Culture’, Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing.
• Larry Beck & Ted Cable (2011), ‘The gifts of interpretation’, Sagamore Publishing
• Lewis, W. J (1991), ‘Interpreting for Park Visitors’. Eastern National Park and Monument Association, PA: Eastern Acorn Press.
• Lisa Brochu and Tim Merriman (2015), ‘Personal interpretation: Connecting your audience to heritage resources’, National Association for Interpretation
• Sam Ham (1992), ‘Environmental Interpretation: A practical guide for people with big ideas and small budgets’, Golden, CO, North American Press
• Sam Ham (2013), ‘Interpretation – Making a Difference on Purpose’, Colorado, Fulcrum Publishing



• Terry Houston (2018), ‘A guide to native bees of Australia’, CSIRO Publishing
• Tim Heard (2016),’The Australian native bee book’, CSIRO Publishing
• Department of Primary Industries, NSW (2016), ‘Australian Native Bees: A practical handbook’


• Peter Menkhorst et al. (2019), ‘The Australian Bird guide’, revised edition, CSIRO Publishing
• Ken Simpson & Nicholas Day (2019), ‘Field Guide to the Birds of Australia’, 8th Edition, Penguin Books Australia
• Michael Braby (ed) (2016), ‘The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia’, 2nd Edition, CSIRO Publishing. 400 pages
• Ross Field (2013), ‘Butterflies: Identification and life history’, Museum Victoria
• Erica McAlister (2017), ‘Secret life of flies’, CSIRO Publishing
• George Hangay and Paul Zborowski (2010), ‘A guide to beetles of Australia’, CSIRO Publishing
• Green & Osborne (2012), ‘Field Guide to wildlife of the Australian snow-country’, New Holland Publishers
• John Gooderham & Edward Tsyrlin (2002), ‘The Waterbug book’, CSIRO Publishing
• John Woinarski (2018), ‘A Bat’s End: The Christmas Island Pipistrelle and extinction in Australia’, CSIRO Publishing
• Martyn Robinson & Bruce Thomson (2016), ‘Australian Wildlife After Dark’, CSIRO Publishing
• Michelle Gleeson (2016), ‘Miniature lives: Identifying insects in your home garden’, CSIRO Publishing
• Paul Zborowski and Ross Storey (2003), ‘A field guide to insects in Australia’, Reed New Holland
• Peter Marriott et al., (2008 – 2016 ), ‘Moths of Victoria’ parts 1-8, Entomological Society of Victoria
• Peter Menkhorst & Knight (2010). ‘A field guide to the mammals of Australia’, Oxford University Press
• Peter Menkhorst (1996), ‘Mammals of Victoria: Ecology, Distribution, and Conservation’, Oxford University Press
• Peter Robertson & John Coventry (2019), ‘Reptiles of Victoria: a guide to identification and ecology’, CSIRO Publishing
• Robert Whyte & Greg Anderson (2017), ‘A field guide to Spiders in Australia’, CSIRO Publishing, 464 pages
• Roger Farrow (2016), ‘Insects of south-eastern Australia: An ecological and behavioural guide’, CSIRO Publishing, 88 pages
• Tim Low (2011), ‘Where song began’, Penguin, 416 pages

*Check out your local council website for native fauna lists for your local area


• Alan Hyland (2011), ‘Kinglake – 350’, Text Publishing, 272 pages
• Bruce Pascoe (2016), ‘Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture ’, Magabala Books, 277 pages
• Geoffrey Cary, Stephen Dovers, David Lindenmayer (2003), ‘Australia Burning: Fire Ecology, Policy and Management Issues’, CSIRO Publishing, 268 pages
• Richard James Williams, A. M. Gill (2012),’ Flammable Australia: Fire Regimes, Biodiversity and Ecosystems in a Changing World’, CSIRO Publishing, 333 pages
• Viktor Steffenson (2020), ‘Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia’, 240 pages


• Australian Plants Society, Keilor Plains (2011), ‘Plants of Melbourne’s Western Plains: A gardener’s guide to the original flora’, 2nd edition. APS Keilor Plains, Melbourne
• Beilby et al. (2006). ‘Salt Tolerant Plants of the Western District RAMSAR Lakes’, Greening Australia
• David Watson (2011), ‘Mistletoes of southern Australia’, CSIRO Publishing, 244 pages
• Dean Nicolle (2006), ‘Eucalypts of Victoria and Tasmania’, Blooming Boooks, Vic, 310 pages
• Enid Mayfield (2010 & 2013), ‘Flora of the Otway Ranges 1 & 2’, CSIRO Publishing, eBook
• Everett Forster & Margaret MacDonald (2009), ‘Orchids of the Angelsea District’, 3rd Edition, ANGAIR publication
• Ian Clarke (2015), ‘Name those grasses: Identifying grasses, sedges, and rushed’, Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
• Ian Clarke & Helen Lee (2019), ‘Name that flower: The identification of flowering plants’, Melbourne University Press
• Ian Lunt, Tim Barlow, and James Ross (1998), ‘Plains wandering: Exploring the grassy plains of south-eastern Australia’, Victorian National Parks Association, 152 pages
• Geoffrey McIver et al. (2011), ‘Plants of western new south wales’, CSIRO Publishing, eBook
• Leon Costermans (2009), ‘Native Trees and Shrubs of South-eastern Australia’, New Holland Publishers
• Leon Costermans (2006), ‘Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas’, Sixth edition, Costermans Publishing
• Malcolm Calder & Jane Calder (2002), ‘Victoria’s box-ironbark country: A field guide’, Victorian National Parks Association, Carlton, 120 pages.
• Marilyn Bull (ed), ‘Flora of Melbourne: A guide to the indigenous plants of the greater Melbourne area’, Fourth edition, Highland House Publishing
• Nick Romanowski (1998), ‘Aquatic and wetland plants: A field guide for non-tropical Australia’, Sainty and Associate, 199 pages
• John Murphy & Bill Dowling (2018), ‘Plants of the Victorian High Country: A field guide for walkers’, CSIRO Publishing
• Peter Wohlleben (2016), ‘The hidden life of trees: What they feel, how they communicate’, Greystone Books, 288 pages
• Ralph Murray & Gavin Moorhead (2011), ‘Growing Australian Native Plants from Seed: For revegetation, Tree Planting and Direct Seeding’, 156 p.
• Rob Scott et al. (2002), ‘Indigenous plants of the sandbelt: A gardening guide for south-eastern Melbourne’, Earthcare St Kilda
• Roger Smith (2014), ‘The Redwoods of the Otway Ranges’, CSIRO Publishing
• Stephan Mager & Geoff Burrow, ‘Botanical Field Guide’, 5th edition *plastic fold out
*Check out your local council website for native plant lists for your local area


• Fiona Richardson, Robert Richardson & Ros Shepherd (2011), ‘Weeds of the South-east: An identification guide for Australia’

*Check out your local council website for weeds in your local area


• Bruce Fuher (2009) ‘A Field Guide to Australian Fungi’, Bloomings Books
• Field Naturalists Club of Victoria – ‘Fungi of Australia’
• Genevieve Gates, David Ratkowsky, and Rob Wiltshire (2018), ‘Fungi Flip: A Portable Guide to the Fungi of Tasmania’. Revised Edition, University of Tasmania.
• Merlin Sheldrake (2020), ‘Entangled Life, how Fungi make our worlds, change our minds, and shape our futures’, Bodley Head
• Wombat Forestcare (date unknown), ‘Fungi of the Wombat Forest and Macedon Ranges’. Wombat Forestcare.

Geology & Soils

• David Johnson & Robert Henderson (2019), ‘The Geology of Australia’, Cambridge University Press, 3rd Edition
• Julie Boyce (2013), ‘The Newer Volcanics Province of south-eastern Australia: a new classification scheme and distribution map for eruption centres.’ Australian Journal of Earth Sciences: An International Geoscience Journal of the Geological Society of Australia, 60:4, 449-462
• Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler (2017), ‘Exploring soils: A hidden world underground’, CSIRO Publishing
• Stephen Marshak (2001) ‘Earth: Portrait of a planet’
• Willian Birch (Ed.; 2003), ‘Geology of Victoria’, Geological Society of Australia
• William Birch (1994), ‘Volcanoes in Victoria’, Royal Society of Victoria

Indigenous Australian agriculture, land management, and history

• Bill Gammage (2012), ‘The biggest estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia’, 384 pages
• Bruce Pascoe (2014), ‘Dark Emu: Black seeds – agriculture or accident’, Magabala Books
• Bruce Pascoe (2016), ‘Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture ’, Magabala Books, 277 pages
• Bruce Pascoe (2019), ‘Young dark emu’, Magabala Books, 80 pages *Great for children
• Fred Cahir, Ian Clark, and Philip Clarke (2018), ‘Aboriginal Biocultural Knowledge in South-eastern Australia—Perspectives of Early Colonists’, CSIRO Publishing, Australia.
• Gary Presland (1998), ‘Aboriginal Melbourne: The lost land and landscape of the Kulin People’, Penguin Books
• Isabel Ellender, Peter Christiansen, Tony Faithull (2001), ‘The people of the Merri Merri: the Wurundjeri in colonial days’, Merri Creek Management Committee
• Jennifer Isaacs (1987), ‘Bush Food—Aboriginal Food and Herbal Medicine’, Rigby Books.
• McNiven et al. (2019), ‘The Moyjil site, south-west Victoria, Australia: excavation of a Last Interglacial charcoal and burnt stone feature – is it a hearth?’, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria
• Meyer Eidelson (2014), ‘Melbourne Dreaming: A guide to important places of the past and present’, Second Edition, Aboriginal Studies Press
• Nelly Zola and Beth Gott (1992), ‘Koori Plants, Koori People – Traditional Aboriginal Food, Fibre and Healing Plants of Victoria’. Koori Heritage Trust, Melbourne.
• Steven and Even Strong (2017), ‘Out of Australia: Aborigines, the Dreamtime, and the Dawn of human race’, Hampton Roads Publishing, 240 pages
• Time Flannery (2002), ‘The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People’, Grove Press

Other / General interest

• Deirdre Slattery (2015), ‘Australian Alps: Kosciusko, Alpine and Namadgi National Parks’, CSIRO Publishing
• Greg Czechura (2013), ‘The Great Barrier Reef; A Queensland Museum Discovery Guide’, Queensland Museum Publishing, 440 pages
• Meg Humphrys (2019), ‘When water lost her way’, Circle Publishing *Great for children
• Peter Davies and Susan Lawrence (2019), ‘Sludge: Disaster on Victoria’s Goldfields’, La Trobe University Press,  320 pages
• Rachel Carson (2014), ‘Under the sea-wind’, Penguin Publishing
• Stefan Hajkowicz (2015), ‘Global Megatrends’, CSIRO Publishing

Nature Connection and wellbeing

• Daniel Chamovitz (2017), ‘What a plant knows: A field guide to the senses’, Scribe Publications, 192 pages
• Li Quing (2018), ‘Forest bathing: How trees can help you find health and happiness’, 320 pages
• Richard Louv (2008), ‘Last Child in the woods: Protecting our children from nature deficit disorder’, Algonquin Books of Chapel, 390 pages
• Rudolf Steiner Press (2008), ‘Spiritual ecology: Reading the book of nature and reconnecting with the world’, compiled from the works of Rudolf Steiner, Rudolf Steiner Press, 238 pages
• Peter Wohlleben (2016), ’The hidden life of trees: What they feel, how they communicate’, 240 pages


• Glen Jameson (1996 1997), ‘Middle Yarra Timelines’, Victorian Naturalist
• Timothy Entwisle, ‘Sprinter and Sprummer: Australia’s changing climate’, CSIRO Publishing, 136 pages

Stay in touch with Nature Stewards

NEW! Nature Stewards patch

Iron-on and/or sewable – 8cm  x 5cm

$10 incl gst

Work Shirt with embroidered Nature Stewards logo

You can order your own ‘field’ men’s cut or women’s cut long-sleeved blue cotton shirt.

Price: $50 incl gst Full, $35 Concession

Navy Blue Long Sleeved Polo

Price: $35 incl gst Full, $25 Concession