Past Events

Field Trip on Saturday 24th of February 2024, 09:00 AM (5 days ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

The tarns and peat bogs with associated moss field, sedgeland and shrub communities on the flat plateau of Swampy Summit are of regional and national significance. Along with all the interesting plant communities, the views from the top are pretty good. This trip is along well maintained tracks but there will be mud and 350m of elevation gain/loss. Good footwear and lunch a must. And dress for all weather types. Meet at Botany Department car park at 9am and return time 4pm. Contact Gretchen 021 065 8497.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 14th of February 2024, 05:20 PM (2 weeks ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Speaker: Bradley Curnow.

My presentation on Western Australian wildflowers is a low-key photographic ramble through a tiny fraction of Australians largest state. Amongst other places I start in Perth at the King’s botanic garden then travel to John Forrest national park on the Darling escarpment. We head north to Newman and into the outback at Southern cross and Kalgoorlie. On the south coast we visit Esperance and a Banksia speciosa forest and the superb Cape la Grande national park. I also have a section of orchid photos.

Field Trip on Saturday 11th of November 2023, 07:30 AM (3 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

This is an adventurous trip to the Lenz Reserve at Tautuku in the Catlins. We will follow local experts along trapline routes through mixed old growth and regenerating podocarp forest. There is potential for exciting plant sightings. This trip requires a high level of fitness; we will be covering up to 10km of very rough routes through dense forest. Bring tramping boots, wet weather gear, lunch, water, and first aid kit. Contact Gretchen Brownstein ( Meet at Botany Carpark 7:30am to carpool (drive time: 2hrs one way, ~300kms return trip). Return 7pm.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 8th of November 2023, 05:20 PM (3 months ago)

Contact: Lydia Turley

Mushroom-forming fungi are important components of ecosystems. We can observe mushrooms, but the rest of the fungus is not so easy to observe. How much information can we extract from collections of mushrooms? What can genetic data tell us? Come hear about some of the challenges in studying fungi and how maths can help.

Field Trip on Saturday 14th of October 2023, 09:00 AM (4 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

The location for our October field trip this Saturday has changed. We will be exploring the lichen and fungi at Burns Reserve.

The 87 hectares of coastal podocarp forest which makes up this reserve, lies on the flanks of Signal Hill high above Ravensbourne, Maia, Burkes and St Leonards. Though established in 1907 by residents concerned at the amount of deforestation on the West Harbour Hills, the Reserve had, until recently, been largely forgotten. We did a trip last autumn for the Easter Orchids, this time we will be looking for lichens and fungi.

Meet at Botany Department carpark at 9am. Good walking shoes a must, uneven tracks and a few short hills. Return 1pm.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 11th of October 2023, 05:20 PM (4 months ago)

Contact: Allison Knight

Speaker: Marley Ford, Private Consultant.

Lichens are a conspicuous part of New Zealand’s ecosystems, but a group not well known by many. Working towards curing ‘lichen blindness’ this talk offers an introduction into the symbiotic world of lichenized fungi. From mountains to the sea, lichens can survive anywhere… even space? In New Zealand we have 10% of the world's lichen diversity with more than 2050 species. Many more are undescribed or unreported. Of our currently recognised species over half are classed as “Data Deficient” - meaning we know little about their distribution, abundance, and ecology. Further, New Zealand currently has no full-time lichenologists and only a handful of people working on them at all. From sexy pavement lichen to one named after Jacinda Arden – these enigmas are all around us! Find out what a lichen is, what they do and how you can go about identifying them, plus an outline of where to find the best and most current lichen resources in New Zealand.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 13th of September 2023, 06:00 PM (5 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Speaker: Carol West. Location: Archway 4, University of Otago.

My journey with environmental weeds began with Botany Division, DSIR and Clematis vitalba in 1984, in the days of the Noxious Plants Act. It then continued throughout my roles in the Department of Conservation with a host of weed species, the Biosecurity Act, policy and strategy development, Standard Operating Procedures and science advice spanning the entire country and occasionally diverting overseas. I’ll cover some highlights/key points from this journey.

About the speaker: Carol West was awarded the Allan Mere in 2022 for contributions to the study and preservation of New Zealand’s flora for more than forty years. This talk will focus on one aspect of those contributions – management of environmental weeds.

Field Trip on Saturday 9th of September 2023, 09:00 AM (5 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

It’s going to be botanising on the hoof so to speak as we follow Gold Miners Direct from Steep Hill Road down to the north branch of the Waikouaiti River, then swing left following the river to Possum Hut (now a relic). Climbing up a steepish spur from the hut, we will connect with the Green Hut/Pulpit Rock track which will lead us back to the cars. It’s a good track, quite steep in places both downwards and upwards, but only for short bursts. The vegetation is quite modified comprising of regenerating coastal bush. Good footwear and appropriate clothing needed as the Silver Peaks is exposed. About a 4 hour trip.

Field Trip on Saturday 19th of August 2023, 08:15 AM (6 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Leader Cathy Rufaut. On this trip we will visit two of the last remaining examples of inland saline and see some of the work Cathy and her team are doing to help restore and protect these naturally uncommon ecosystems. We will be visiting the Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland in the morning, then going onto the Belmont Inland Saline after lunch. Please bring a lunch, water, and warm clothing. Meet at the Botany Department carpark at 8:15am to carpool or 10:30am at Patearoa Inland Saline Wetland carpark. Travel: 2hrs / 150 km each way from Dunedin. Planned return time to Dunedin: 5pm.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 16th of August 2023, 05:20 PM (6 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Speaker: Cathy Rufaut; joint work with Dave Craw, Dhana Pillai and Steve Read (Geology Department University of Otago, QEII National Trust).   Early botanists surveying Otago’s inland saline sites for potential reserves noted their association with disturbance. Initial studies that followed made reference to replicating erosional processes to improve habitat condition. Some years later, DOC Alexandra set up scalped trial plots that had peeled back the layer of weedy vegetation. In 2021, we picked up the baton and developed the concept of induced erosion further as a method for rejuvenating inland saline habitat and controlling weed threats to native halophytes. This talk will present the rationale behind “scraping” saline sites, the processes involved in Otago surfaces developing high salinity and alkalinity, and an update from the trial sites we have established on private land.

Field Trip on Saturday 22nd of July 2023, 09:00 AM (7 months ago)

Contact: Lydia | | 021 062 3602

We’ll follow the track from Taieri Mouth to the John Bull Gully picnic area for lunch (4 km), and then return. The track passes through several vegetation types, including estuarine salt marsh, carr (wooded fen), podocarp forest, and open shrubland. A highlight will be stands of regenerating kahikatea, as well as Hall’s totara, tree ferns, and miro.

The track is in good condition but is undulating, and cuts downhill to the picnic area alongside the river. Bring good walking shoes, water and lunch, and clothing for the weather. Meet at Botany car park at 9:00 a.m.; expected return by 3:30 p.m. 37km drive each way. If the weather is very poor on the Saturday, we’ll switch the trip to Sunday. Contact Lydia Turley.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 12th of July 2023, 05:20 PM (7 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

Speaker: Scott Jarvie, Otago Regional Council. Naturally uncommon ecosystems are defined as having a total extent of less than 0.5% (i.e., <134 000 ha) of Aotearoa New Zealand’s land area. These ecosystems are rich in threatened species, but many are poorly understood and nearly two thirds are classified as threatened, primarily from human associated threats, with a large proportion of these ecosystems being found on private land in lowland and coastal regions. This talk provides an overview of naturally uncommon ecosystems in the Otago region and discusses recent work to establish programmes to monitor extent and condition, focussing on inland saline (salt pans) and coastal turfs. In addition to the overview on naturally uncommon ecosystems, I will briefly touch upon work for a regional threat classification for indigenous vascular plants in Otago.

Field Trip on Saturday 17th of June 2023, 09:00 AM (8 months ago)

Contact: John Barkla | | 027 326 7917

Join us on an easy morning’s walk through Ferntree Reserve and adjoining streets. The small reserve, nestled between Taieri Road and Ferntree Drive, has a interesting array of naturally-occurring natives as well as planted natives and exotics. On its western boundary the reserve adjoins Dunedin’s oldest house, Ferntree Lodge. The walk should take no more than a couple of hours and is graded easy. Meet and park at the southwestern extension of Helensburgh Road near the entrance to Leslie Groves Hospital at 9 am. Leaders John Barkla and Sharon Jones.

Talk / Seminar on Wednesday 14th of June 2023, 05:20 PM (8 months ago)

Contact: Lydia Turley

Speaker: Josie McGovern. The study of dung has long been a revelatory science. Analysing the dung of certain organisms is a great way to gain insight into local fungal diversity. Takahē are a unique flightless bird, endemic to New Zealand. They exhibit a heavy grazing behaviour that encourages interaction with fungi and fungal spores. DNA metabarcoding of takahē dung collected from Orokonui ecosanctuary can teach us many interesting things about dispersal and fungal species important to our forests.

Social Event on Wednesday 10th of May 2023, 05:20 PM (9 months ago)

Contact: Gretchen Brownstein | | 0210658497

The photographic competition is a popular and eagerly anticipated event for anyone interested in botanical photography. Enter your best photos and learn what makes a good photograph and how to improve your photographic skills from our panel of expert judges. Your photographs may be chosen for the BSO Calendar so this is your opportunity to have one month of fame. Start organising your entries now and don’t wait until the last minute.