Register your place for this not-to-missed event with expert speakers and on-the-ground stories from the community, taking you through the inspiration, motivation and actions that can be taken to green the Gold Coast.

The Greening the Gold Coast forum hosted by Gecko Environment Council will bring together leaders, thinkers, and on-ground experience to explore the benefits and strategies to greening our city.

Urban greening and forests are proving all around the world to regenerate biodiversity, promote human and environmental health, boost economies, and increase resilience for rapidly changing times. 

The forum celebrates community-led projects and explores solutions to:
> grow a city with liveable, healthy suburbs
> connect to Country where we live
> all share in nature’s health benefits
> ensure we grow the green protection from rising urban temperatures
> conserve our amazing biodiversity living in our urban footprint

Discover where in our city needs greening the most, the many ways to implement urban greening now and how you can take part in projects to regenerate the cityscape.

Who is the Greening the Gold Coast forum for? 

Everyone who wants to live in a healthy, thriving city for humans and our environment! Enjoy the diverse conversations to make a green city possible, whether you are;

– an urban designer, planner or developer with an eye on the future and contributing to growing a healthy city

– a nature lover or gardener who wants to support our remnant flora and improve biodiversity in our cityscape

– interested in growing our economy – attracting clients and tourism with more nature-positive business operations

– a member of the community or government who cares about social welfare, city planning, and a resilient future for our next generation

Why urban greening?

As our city grows it is essential to not compromise healthy urban living. Urban greening and forestry provides many human health benefits including being a vital nature-based solution to rising temperatures.

Urban greening is also proven to boost economies, increase productivity and attract business, tourists and residents.

Embracing and growing the green fabric in our city can connect communities with each other and with the many health benefits of nature. 

A cool, healthy, green city is achievable as a collaborative project between community, City of Gold Coast, business and practitioners.

Key Speakers

Featuring diverse expert speakers including:

Justine Dillon, a Kombumerri and Quandamooka Traditional Owner to the beautiful Gold Coast and Moreton Bay area who works as Manager of Ngarang-Wal G.C.A.A Inc. Ngarang-Wal currently operates and manages the Guanaba Indigenous Protected Area and Kombumerri Indigenous Land Sea Rangers for the Gold Coast Traditional Owners. Ms Dillon brings together years of education and environmental experience in her roles. As a TO she invites us to engage with First Nations perspectives about caring for Country, in turn rediscovering the ways Country cares for us.

Prof Catherine Pickering, Griffith University is a highly awarded plant ecologist with over with over 330 publications and numerous awards, Catherine is largely focussed on the conservation of biodiversity, enhancing engagement with nature and exploring more sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by people and biodiversity in cities. As a key speaker Prof Pickering will share urban biodiversity and nature-based solutions to support healthy futures for all, how urban greening solutions can offset hazards we all face, and re-centering the value of our natural assets in our city.

Dr Aysin Dedekorkut-Howes, Griffith University, senior lecturer, member of Cities Research Institute and an urban and environmental planner with over twenty years of experience in teaching and researching. Aysin’s current research focuses on climate change adaptation and urban/disaster resilience, water resource management, sustainability and urbanisation in subtropical areas and coastal cities. As a Greening the Gold Coast forum key speaker Dr Dedekorkut-Howes tackles the big questions…Why must we meet housing supply pressure and provide future generations with truly liveable urban futures? Are we green enough? And where does it matter? 


Dr Beau Frigault, Doctors for the Environment Australia, Resident Medical Officer, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. Beau is concerned about the impacts of heat and how urban greening supports residents’ health and wellbeing in many different ways, from encouraging outdoor activity and connection in our suburbs, to cooling our streets and homes, and contact with nature improving our mental health.

Gayle Dallaston coordinates The Shady Lanes Project in Brisbane, a community verge planting initiative to connect people and place to create cooler, greener, more sustainable cities. Discover how urban greening in practice is a collective social project that relies on shared vision, knowledge and good relationships. Gayle will share keys and insights to successful community-led greening in collaboration with supportive organisations and local council.

Lisa Mercer, registered landscape architect, Chair AILA Gold. Explore greening in the private realm through the eyes of Landscape Architects (LAs) who have the interesting role of being the conduit between council planning and local laws and their clients. Chair of AILA Gold Lisa shares how LA’s work at micro scales to increase the green fabric of the city, guided by the character and future resilience of our larger regional ecosystems.

Zac Holt, Vice Curator Global Shapers Gold Coast Hub. Zac works in ecological restoration/bush regeneration restoring degraded sites to native bushland on the Gold Coast and surrounding areas. He is passionate about sharing his experience and perspective to help people develop a closer relationship with nature.  He is a member of the Global Shapers Gold Coast Hub, a local group of young people seeking to drive dialogue, action, and change in the areas of health, climate change, and shaping the future of the city. 

Ryan McNeilly Smith, planner, PhD candidate on urban heat island effect, UniSC. Ryan has a special interest in mitigating the health risks of heatwaves through urban design policy and urban greening as a vital nature-based solution. Ryan will speak to how urban greening can improve the health and resilience of residents across the city today as well as future generations.


Desiree Maclean, Coordinator Strategic Programs, City of Gold Coast – Our Natural City Strategy. Desiree will present the newly launched Our Natural City Strategy.

Natalie Sanderson, Co-founder of Backyards for Biodiversity SEQ. Natalie works in conservation biology and ecological research at UniSC and is passionate about urban greening and creating wildlife habitat and corridors in urban areas.

Also featuring…

Dr Corrina Bonshek, (PhD Western Sydney University) is an award-winning, Gold Coast-based composer whose unique creative voice is informed by recording and listening to nature sounds. Her music has been described as ‘sonically attractive’ (Loudmouth 2020) and ‘meditative and euphonious’ (Journal of Music 2021). This inspiring music will be our soundscape, and Corrina will also lead a unique musical immersion during the forum.

Merinda Davies, Artist – shares some of her practice and provocations from her project Conversations with the Forest which invites us to help grow a micro-forest in Surfers Paradise on Kombumerri land.

Urban greening is a collective project, so how do we do it?

In the afternoon, roundtables supported by specialists will explore the curly and pragmatic questions to take away greening ideas and actions. Guests will be invited to join urban design and planning discussions for practitioners and developers, or backyard and street planting for residents, businesses, and community projects.

Register today!

Register your place for this not-to-missed event with expert speakers and on-the-ground stories from the community, taking you through the inspiration, motivation and actions that can be taken to green the Gold Coast.


Community rate (student/concession/low-income/volunteer) – $20

Community rate (standard) – $30

Corporate/institution (pay it forward to support our community rate) – $45

All tickets include a vegetarian lunch

Greening the Gold Coast Forum Program

Registration open from 8.30am for 9am start

Welcome to Country

Forum speakers, panels, audience interaction and questions

Theme 1: Greening motivations and solutions, urban design for human futures and biodiversity

Theme 2: The urban heat island effect and how we can create a healthy city for all

Theme 3: Greening strategies: public, private, and community initiatives

Also featuring composer Dr Corinna Bonshek and artist Merinda Davies

12.30pm Lunch

Pragmatic roundtable discussions and takeaway actions for greening our city

Roundtable #1: Greening practice in urban design and planning, a roundtable for practitioners, developers, government and leaders

Roundtable #2: Backyard and community planting for residents, community orgs and nature-positive businesses

230pm closing for 3pm finish

For all forum enquiries, please contact us via the form below. 

You can also call Gecko Office at (07) 5534 1412.