Concurrent Sessions

Nine concurrent sessions will be run throughout the WALGA Urban Forest Conference 2023 Valuing Canopy, which will explore the diverse ways in which the various stakeholders value canopy through their roles, organisations and communities.

Below is an overview of each session and the speakers.


11:35am - 12:35pm


 Valuing canopy in the planning system

 Most canopy trees are being lost on private land. In response, we are seeing   planning interventions to address this trend at both a local and state level. This   session will cover what is working, what isn’t, and what can be done better.   Speakers include:

  • Bonnie Hall and Nathan Blumenthal - City of Nedlands
  • Tara Cherrie – Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage
  • Barbara Gdowski – Office of the Government Architect of Western Australia

 Canopy for health and wellbeing

 Access to greenspace is critical for human health and wellbeing. This session will   showcase projects that demonstrate the positive contribution canopy makes to   physical and mental health, as well as social connection.  Speakers include:

  • Sally Blane – Cancer Council WA
  • Carrick Robinson and Anthony Brookfield – Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and Hassell
  • Sonja Kusich – Curtin University




 Multi-scalar green infrastructure

 Green infrastructure is now understood alongside traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure to   be as critical to life in cities. This session will explore the opportunities for   incorporating green infrastructure of different scales to cool our cities and enhance   climate resilience. Speakers include:

  • Nick Williams - University of Melbourne
  • Liliana Pelle – Infrastructure WA
  • Azrina Karima - University of Western Australia

 Valuing positive partnerships with community

 The best urban forests are a valued community asset, developed and maintained in   partnership with Local Governments and the communities they serve. This session   will explore methodologies for enhancing this valued-community asset through   positive engagement.

  • Mayor Mark Irwin – City of Stirling
  • Deniqua Boston & Heather Johnstone – Town of Victoria Park
  • Grey Coupland - Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University

 Ingredients for a thriving canopy

 Trees in urban environments are under extreme pressure, and what happens below   the surface is critical for delivering on canopy targets. This session examines what is   needed on and aboce the ground to achieve a thriving canopy. Featured speakers are:

  • Barbara Meldrum – City of Perth
  • Boonlay Ong – Curtin University
  • Kylie Ireland – Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development




 Valuing canopy in design work

 A densifying city requires creative and innovative solutions to increase green   infrastructure. This session explores how urban design can contribute to growing a   green city. Speakers include:    

  • Peta-Maree Ashford – Emerge Associates
  • Councillor Sandy Anghie - Australian Institute of Architects
  • Taylor Goddard – Element

 Canopy and urban heat

 Canopy plays a critical role in mitigating and adapting our urban environments in the   face of climate change and increased heat projections for the state. This session will   examine new research and how it’s being implemented to protect communities from   extreme heat. Speakers include:

  • Bryan Boruff – University of Western Australia
  • Melanie Davies – WALGA
  • Andrew Henson - Penrith City Council



Elected Members and Executives Masterclass – Separate registration required 

From Targets to Implementation: What it takes to grow a thriving canopy

The WALGA Urban Forest Conference 2023 Valuing Canopy will host a one-hour masterclass for Elected Members and Executives within Local Government Aimed at building the knowledge of key decision-makers, the masterclass will help influencers , deliver good canopy outcomes for their local community. 

This masterclass will be run by Donna Shaw, Acting Director of Community Planning at the Town of Bassendean.
Donna commenced as the Manager of Development & Place at the Town of Bassendean in early 2020, following 13 years in the outer growth Cities of Gosnells and Rockingham. She has also acted as Director Planning and Development at the Town of Claremont, where she was involved in the development of the Town’s first Public Health Plan.

A Councillor at the City of Armadale for 12 years and chair of the development services committee for 10 years, Donna has beeninvolved in their strategic metropolitan centre structure plan and urban forest strategy.

Donna is currently the WALGA trainer for land use planning courses, facilitating town planning programs for both Elected Members and local government officers.



Field Tour 

A field tour will run during the WALGA Urban Forest Conference 2023 Valuing Canopy. To register, you will need to nominate if you would like to attend the tour.
Below is an overview of the tour and the presenter.

Curtin Campus Grounds Tour Separate registration required
A 50 minute walking tour to hear Curtin University’s approach in creating and maintaining beautiful grounds to enhance the campus experience and contribute towards habitat and biodiversity.
This tour will be presented by Allyson Mullane from Curtin University.
Register to attend here.


Green Hats Wrap Up

To close out the full-day conference, our ‘green hat gambit’ will see three charismatic, well-spoken and passionate individuals (our green hats) from various professional backgrounds take the stage to deliver a short review/summary of their key highlights and takeaways from the day.

Our expert Green Hats include:​
  • Sabrina Hahn, Presenter and Host, ABC Perth
  • Shane Grieve, Urban and Regional Planning Aligned Academic, School of Design and Built Environment, Curtin University. 
  • Chris Ferreira, Managing Director, The Forever Project