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


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

Environmental interpretation   

  • Sam Ham (1992), ‘Environmental Interpretation: A practical guide for people with big ideas and small budgets’, Library of Congress USA
  • Sam Ham (2013), ‘Interpretation – Making a Difference on Purpose’, Colorado, Fulcrum Publishing
  • Smaldone, D 2003. ‘A crash course in interpretation’, United States National Parks Service


  • Green & Osborne (2012), ‘Field Guide to wildlife of the Australian snow-country’, New Holland Publishers
  • Tim Heard (2016),’The Australian native bee book’, CSIRO Publishing
  • Menkhorst & Knight (2010). ‘A field guide to the mammals of Australia’
  • Peter Menkhorst (1996), ‘Mammals of Victoria: Ecology, Distribution, and Conservation’, Oxford University Press
  • Erica McAlister (2017), ‘Secret life of flies’, CSIRO Publishing
  • Robinson & Thomson (2016), ‘Australian Wildlife After Dark’, CSIRO Publishing
  • Woinarski (2018), ‘A Bat’s End: The Christmas Island Pipistrelle and extinction in Australia’, CSIRO Publishing
  • Nicholas Day & Ken Simpson (2019), ‘Field Guide to the Birds of Australia’

 Fungi and flora – Native and weed species

  • 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
  • Costermans, L, 2006. ‘Trees of Victoria and adjoining areas’, Costermans publishing *pocket book
  • Leon Costermans (2006), ‘Native Trees and shrubs of South-Eastern Australia’, New Holland Publishers
  • Marilyn Bull, ‘Flora of Melbourne: A guide to the indigenous plants of the greater Melbourne area’, Fourth edition, Highland House Publishing
  • Beilby et al. (2006). ‘Salt Tolerant Plants of the Western District RAMSAR Lakes’, Greening Australia
  • Bruce Fuher (2009) ‘A Field Guide to Australian Fungi’, Bloomings Books
  • Gates, G. Ratkowsky and Wiltshire. (date uknown). ‘Fungi Flip: A Portable Guide to the Fungi of Tasmania’. University of Tasmania.      [Good for cool climate forests in Victoria such as Mt Macedon]
  • Murphy & Dowling (2018), ‘Plants of the Victorian High Country: A field guide for walkers’, CSIRO Publishing
  • Murray, R & Moorhead, G (2011), ‘Growing Australian Native Plants from Seed: For revegetation, Tree Planting and Direct Seeding’, 156 p.
  • Richardson, Richardson & Shepherd (2011), ‘Weeds of the South-east :An identification guide for Australia’
  • Wombat Forestcare (date unknown), ‘Fungi of the Wombat Forest and Macedon Ranges’. Wombat Forestcare.


  • Willian Birch (Ed.; 2003), ‘Geology of Victoria’, Geological Society of Australia
  • Stephen Marshak (2001) ‘Earth: Portrait of a planet
  • William B. Birch (1994), ‘Volcanoes in Victoria’, Royal Society of Victoria
  • 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
  • Henderson, R., & Johnson, D. (2019), ‘The Geology of Australia’, Cambridge University Press, 3rd Edition

Indigenous community, agriculture, and history

  • Meyer Eidelson (2014), ‘Melbourne Dreaming: A guide to important places of the past and present’, Second Edition, Aboriginal Studies Press
  • Time Flannery (2002), ‘The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People’, Grove Press
  • Bruce Pascoe (2014), ‘Dark Emu: Black seeds – agriculture or accident’, Magabala Books
  • Isabel Ellender, Peter Christiansen, Tony, Merri Creek Management Committee (2001), ‘The people of the Merri Merri: the Wurundjeri in colonial days’, East Brunswick, Victoria, Merri Creek Management Committee
  • Gary Presland (1998), ‘Aboriginal Melbourne: The lost land and landscape of the Kulin People’, Penguin Books


  • Stefan Hajkowicz (2015), ‘Global Megatrends’, CSIRO Publishing
  • Deirdre Slattery (2015), ‘Australian Alps: Kosciusko, Alpine and Namadgi National Parks’, CSIRO Publishing


  • Linenmayer, D et al. (2018), ‘Restoring farm woodlands for wildlife’, CSIRO Publishing
  • Robin Buchanan (2009), ‘Restoring natural areas in Australia’, Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) & NSW government
  • Tongway & Ludwig (2011), ‘Restoring disturbed landscapes: Putting principles into practice’, Society for Restoration International


  • Timothy Enwisle, ‘Sprinter and Sprummer: Australia’s changing climate’, CSIRO Publishing, 136p.
Stay in touch with Nature Stewards

NEW! Nature Stewards patch

Iron-on and/or sewable – 8cm  x 5cm

$6.50 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: $45 incl gst Full, $25 Concession

Navy Blue Long Sleeved Polo

Price: $35 incl gst Full, $25 Concession