Dr Holly Kirk

Research Staff

Holly is a postdoctoral research fellow working on Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design. As an ecologist, Holly is fascinated by how animals move around their environment, from foraging fairy-wrens to migrating monarch butterflies. She has been using this knowledge to plan cities that support and enhance urban biodiversity. Most recently Holly has been developing a tool to quantify ecological connectivity and applying this within the BSUD framework to several development projects, including the renewal of Fishermans Bend (Melbourne). Holly is passionate about translating scientific theory into positive on-ground action for people and nature.

Dr Georgia Garrard


Georgia is a Senior Research Fellow with ICON Science.  She is a quantitative ecologist and has worked on projects related to urban biodiversity conservation, imperfect detectability and conservation decision making. She currently works as part of the National Environmental Science Programme Threatened Species Recovery Hub, where she co-leads a project investigating how to increase community buy-in to threatened species conservation through better communication and engagement. Georgia’s recent research investigated better planning for biodiversity in urban environments and her protocol for Biodiversity Sensitive Urban Design was nominated as a finalist in the 2016 Banksia Sustainable Cities Award.

Professor Sarah Bekessy

Research Staff

Sarah leads the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group (ICON Science). She is a Professor and ARC Future Fellow at RMIT’s School of Global, Urban and Social Studies and a researcher in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and in two National Environmental Science Program (NESP) hubs (Threatened Species and Clean Air and Urban Landscapes).  She is interested in the intersection between science and policy in environmental management and is currently involved in an interdisciplinary range of research and consulting projects, including an ARC Future Fellowship titled ‘Socio-ecological models for environmental decision making’. Her research interests include threatened species management, environmental decision analysis, population and landscape modelling, urban ecology and education for sustainability.

Dr. Casey Visintin

Research Staff

Originally trained as an architect and urban planner, Casey Visintin has ten years of experience working in a multinational firm on large urban development and sustainable building projects. He is a LEED-accredited professional and has completed two gold-certified institutional buildings – both from the programming/schematic design phase through construction and post-occupancy evaluation. He obtained post-graduate qualifications (M. Env – Wildlife Conservation; PhD – Applied Ecology) to support his passion for biological conservation. Casey’s current postdoctoral research focuses on improving biodiversity outcomes in the built environment by integrating the disciplines of architecture and ecology.