Amazing Islands Lecture Series

SIGN UP: Australia’s Amazing Islands Live Lectures – from the Roots & Shoots Resource Box

May 2022

Welcome to the Jane Goodall Roots & Shoots Resource Box Students! In anticipation of this year’s resource box and the Australia’s Amazing Islands book that will be included, we’re proud to present this Island Lecture series in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute Australia and Redfern publishing.  

During the month of May, we will be hosting a live event series to immerse students in 5 of the islands found in the book:

  • 5 May, 1pm AEST – Christmas Island
  • 10 May, 1pm AEST – K’gari
  • 19 May, 1pm AEST – Lord Howe Island
  • 25 May, 1pm AEST – Kangaroo Island
  • 12 May, 1pm AEST – Norfolk Island

The events will be 45-50 minutes long and feature a 15-20 minute presentation from a speaker, followed by a live Kahoot! quiz and then Q&A with the speaker. These live events are free for classrooms to join and educators can choose to join in one of 3 ways:

1) Camera spot

Your class will appear on camera in the event and get a chance to interact directly with the speaker during the Q&A. There are a limited number of camera spots, 6 for each event.

2) Watch the live stream

Your class can tune in live via the YouTube stream during the event and still participate in the live Kahoot! quiz and send in some questions via the live chat.

3) Tune in later

These events will be recorded and placed in a playlist that can be viewed at anytime afterwards by the classrooms.

Check out the events below and use the links to register. We’ll reach out and set you up with all the details you need to join the live events!

Featured Islands

Christmas Island

Christmas Island with Jahna Lake

May 11th @ 1:00pm AEST

Christmas Island is located 1500 km from the Australian mainland. On this tiny dot in the Indian Ocean you can find tropical rainforest, freshwater wetlands and spectacular sea cliffs. An incredible diversity of wildlife can be found on land and in the water, with rare birds, millions of crabs and rich marine life.

Every year, millions of red crabs emerge from the forest and make their way to the ocean to breed, swarming across roads, streams, rocks and beaches.

Jahna Lake is the Tourism Marketing Manager for Christmas Island, making her the perfect person to take us on a tour of the wonders of Christmas Island, from the crab migration to the incredible bird life!


Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island with Stewart McPherson

May 12th @ 1:00pm AEST

Norfolk Island is 1,676 km northeast of Sydney and about 8 km long and 5 km wide. The island is home to the tallest fern trees on the planet and towering pine trees. Lush forests and offshore islands are sanctuaries to some of the world’s rarest birds and the surrounding waters teem with fish.

A strong blend of Polynesian and European heritage has a created a distinctive society, characterized by neighbourliness, self-help, and barter.

Stewart McPherson is the author of 35 natural history books and the host of numerous wildlife TV documentaries. He has lead dozens of expeditions across the world and has discovered 35 new species.

Stewart has witnessed both the destruction of nature and the saving of species on the absolute brink of extinction. He co-founded Darwin200 and is leading this innovative, global adventure. 



K’gari (Fraser Island) with Joe Grabowski

May 17th @ 1:00pm AEST

Off the coast of Queensland you’ll find K’gari (Fraser Island), at 122 kms in length, it is the world’s largest sand island. It’s the only place on Earth where tall rainforests grow on sand dunes at elevations of more than 200 metres (656 feet), and is home half the world’s perched lakes (lakes formed when depressions in dunes fill permanently with rainwater).

The K’gari dingoes may become the purest strain of dingo in Australia as they don’t encounter domestic dogs, so their conservation is of national significance.

Joe Grabowski is a science communicator and educator working to inspire the next generation of scientists and explorers. He is the founder of the non-profit Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants and in 2017, Joe was selected as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and shortly after became National Geographic’s first Education Fellow.

An avid scuba diver for the past 15 years, he’s always looking for an excuse to sink beneath the waves.


Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island with Ian Hutton

May 19th @ 1:00pm AEST

Lord Howe Island is just 11km long and 2km wide, a boomerang-shaped sliver of land 780km north-east of Sydney. The island hugs a turquoise lagoon rimmed with the world’s southernmost coral reef and was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1982.

Along with spectacular volcanic geography, the island’s rare endemic fauna and native plant species are found nowhere else on Earth. Hundreds of thousands of sea birds breed on the island and over 500 species call the waters home.

Ian Hutton has worked with universities, botanic gardens and museums from around the world, contributing to numerous documentary films and research papers on Lord Howe Island’s unique ecology. He has played an important part in preserving Lord Howe Island’s ecosystem, spearheading eradication projects to rid the island of the feral weeds and rats that threatened the Island’s delicate balance.

He’s a gifted photographer and in 2006 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to conservation and tourism on Lord Howe Island.


Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island with Topa Petit

May 25th @ 1:00pm AEST

Kangaroo Island, 13 kilometres (eight miles) off the coast of South Australia, and at 145 by 55 kms, it is Australia’s 3rd largest island. Despite a strong agricultural industry, nearly half of the original vegetation has been retained and over one third of the land is protected across 30 National and Conservation parks.

This provides a fantastic habitat for a huge range of wildlife species, with some now endemic to the Island. Some key species include, Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies, Koalas, Short-beaked Echidnas, Australian Sea-lions, Long-nosed Fur Seals and over 260 individual bird species.

Topa Petit is an associate researcher at the Kangaroo Island Research Station with a special interest in plant-animal interactions, particularly pollination. Her research on bat pollination systems ranges from the Pacific to the Caribbean.

In South Australia including Kangaroo Island, she studies a diversity of vertebrates, invertebrates, plants, and their interactions. Her research has strong implications for conservation, extending to marine ecosystems. She currently works as an Associate Professor in Wildlife Ecology at the University of South Australia.


In Partnership With

Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants is a education non-profit with a goal of inspiring the next generation of scientists and explorers. We do this by introducing students to those on the frontlines of science, exploration, exploration and adventure through virtual guest speakers and field trips. Since 2015, we’ve hosted well over 3,000 live events half a millions students across North America. Best of all, what we do is and always will be free for classrooms everywere.

After the island event series, we’ll start offereing a selection of live events for classrooms in Australia each month. If you’d like to join the newsletter for Australian events, register here: