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Our Staff

The Bush Heritage team

Chief Executive Officer

Portrait photo - Gerard O'Neill

Gerard O'Neill

Gerard became the CEO of Bush Heritage Australia in late 2011. He brings to the organisation a wealth of expertise gained through an extensive career in conservation and land management. After completing his science degree at Canberra University in 1979, he became a park ranger in the newly established Kakadu National Park. From there he went on to take up roles in park management and ecological survey in central Australia, East Gippsland and the Victorian mallee.

In 1995 Gerard was appointed as an executive in the then Victorian Department of Conservation and Natural Resources before taking up a role with Parks Victoria in 2001. In 2007 he was appointed Deputy Chief Executive of Parks Victoria, and in 2010 he additionally took on the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Gerard is a member of the Leadership Victoria alumni, a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.

Being a keen bird watcher, Gerard is often out and about, visiting the wild and remote parts of Australia.

West Regional team

Executive Manager David Whitelaw
BSc Environmental Management  •  David has worked extensively in the Southwest and Pilbara regions of Western Australia and spent several years in a regional lead role with the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service, primarily engaged in protected area management. He has brought to Bush Heritage leadership and management skills in the field of operations and is currently representing West Australian and South Australian interests as part of the organisation's national executive. David is particularly interested in working with the many Bush Heritage supporters, partners and community members to achieve more conservation outcomes in Australia and through developing alliances that increases our organisational influence in protecting biodiversity and supporting Indigenous culture. Appointed 2009.

Access and Visitation Coordinator Katrina Blake
Dip Nat Res Man • Katrina has a strong love for the environment, with a background in outdoor adventure tourism, outdoor education and a diploma in Natural Resource Management. Katrina first started at Bush Heritage as the Visitation Coordinator, and has had a number of roles within the organisation before becoming the Access and Visitation Coordinator. Appointed 2005.  

Ecologist, Gondwana Link Angela Sanders
BSc Environmental Science  •  Angela has worked in a variety of conservation-based fields over the past 25 years, including as ecologist in the Fitzgerald Biosphere Reserve, assessing the conservation value of remnant vegetation and providing management guidelines, conducting vertebrate fauna surveys across Western Australia, and collecting environmental oral histories of wetlands and waterways in southern Western Australia. She is based in Albany and is the ecologist for the Gondwana Link Fitzgerald to Stirling operational area. Appointed 2008.

Ecologist, West – Vanessa Westcott
BA + BSc (Hons), PhD Ecology
  •  Vanessa completed her PhD in Plant Ecology at the University of Melbourne studying the effects of fire on the Eneabba Sandplain Shrublands in the Midwest of Western Australia. She has a keen interest in understanding the role of fire in maintaining biodiversity across Australian landscapes. Prior to commencing her position at Bush Heritage, Vanessa worked as a Consultant Botanist in Melbourne advising a variety of stakeholders on Australian biodiversity policy and legislation. She also assisted the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife to establish a flora monitoring program in Lesueur National Park. In 2010 Vanessa worked for the University of Sheffield undertaking surveys of annual dune plants along the Atlantic Coast in Europe.
Vanessa leads the ecological and research programs at Eurardy and Charles Darwin Reserves in the Midwest. She is also working in partnership with the Central Desert Native Title Service and Birriliburu Rangers to develop, manage and progress ecological monitoring programs in the Western Desert Region. Appointed 2013.

Ecologist, West and South-East Sandy Gilmore

BSc (Hons), PhD in progress  •  Sandy has worked extensively on bird communities and their ecology throughout eastern Australia, and has a special interest in integrating our knowledge of ecology with how we manage the land. Sandy works on selecting properties for acquisition, and management planning and research on reserves in temperate Australia. Appointed 2005. 

Healthy Landscape Manager, South Australia Glen Norris
Originally from country NSW, Glen has an extensive background in earthmoving, soil conservation and project management in the telecommunications, civil construction, and agricultural industries, which has seen him involved in a wide array of remote and metropolitan projects. Glen spent two and a half years as National Operations Officer at Bush Heritage headquarters in Melbourne, developing the operational capacity of the organisation. Appointed 2007.

Reserve Manager, Bon Bon Station (job share) – Michael Chuk
BSc (Forestry)  •  Mike has worked all his career in the outback, in the fields of agriculture, conservation and natural resources.  He has been involved with Bush Heritage for more than 10 years as a volunteer, Board member and now as a Reserve Manager.  Mike’s interests include raising arid zone plants, land care (leading the fight against invasive cacti) and occasionally sailing.  Appointed 2013.

Reserve Manager, Bon Bon Station (job share) – Julia Harris
BAppSci (Agriculture)  •  With a background in Agricultural Science, Julia’s career and interest for a  number of years revolved around the wool and pastoral industries.  She’s originally from Sydney and after finishing University at Charles Sturt, Wagga Wagga NSW, she spent some time working as a station hand on large pastoral properties west of Hay and north of Onslow.  One job she’s particularly proud of is driving a 170 tonne dump truck in an iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of WA.  More recently Julia worked for the ABC in western QLD as a cross-media reporter.  Julia enjoys mountain biking, canoeing and photography.  Appointed 2013.

Landscapes Manager, Gondwana Link and Kojonup – Simon Smale
BHortSc (Hons), Postgrad Dip Landscape Architecture  •  Prior to taking up a job with Bush Heritage, Simon worked for a year with Greening Australia (WA) as its Gondwana Link Program Manager, and for 21 years as a landscape architect with the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, with built projects on the ground the length and breadth of the country. He had close involvement with development and delivery of Maori training packages for Department of Conservation staff, and with the development of collaborative conservation partnerships with Maori. Simon was the first non-Maori front person for a series of bilingual television programs on New Zealand''s Maori Television channel. He has undertaken conservation projects for The Nature Conservancy and other NGOs in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, China and Lao PDR. Allied with his training and experience as a landscape architect, he has a keen interest in landscape ecology, and in particular in the management of indigenous biodiversity and ecosystems in the context of working rural landscapes. Appointed 2009.

Healthy Landscape Manager, Western Rangelands – Luke Bayley
After a broad range of experience in natural resource management, nature conservation and agricultural development programs within the Northern Territory and Victoria, Luke returns to live and work in Western Australia as Regional Reserve Manager - Western Rangelands. Luke previously worked for the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food as the program manager of the Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management Program (ESRM). In this role Luke worked with a small team developing partnerships and implementing works programs with pastoral managers and industry groups throughout the Gascoyne and Pilbara pastoral region. Luke Has also worked in rural land use policy and planning with Local Government and worked with the Thamarrurr Regional Council based at Wadeye in the Northern Territory employed as the Director of Natural and Cultural Heritage. Ensuring that land management remains pro-active and pragmatic whilst seeking opportunities for local involvement and partnerships with neighbours, the regional community and local industry is of particular interest to Luke. Luke completed his BAppSci at Charles Sturt University in Albury majoring in wildlife ecology and undertaking minor studies in rural sociology, and is currently completing a Graduate Diploma in Resource Economics at The University of New England. In his down time Luke enjoys listening and playing music and spending time around the campfire with friends and family. Luke is currently participating in course 19 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program being sponsored by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation . Luke lives on and manages Charles Darwin Reserve with his partner Fiona Stewart and daughter Tanami and son Banjo.  Appointed 2012.

Reserve Manager, Eurardy Reserve Ian Hamilton
Ian grew up on the family station in outback Western Australia and here he started a life- long association and passion for the Australian bush. Ian enjoyed developing good rangeland management practices in conjunction with the Agriculture Department, on the various properties he owned and managed in the Murchison and Gascoyne regions of Western Australia. Ian learnt to fly in 1968 and used this as a valuable tool in property and mustering operations associated with the pastoral industry across Western Australia Rangelands. Ian also spent 18 years in local government at all levels, and represented council in rural matters on various boards as there pastoral representative. In 2003/ 4 Ian and his wife Nikki and were the first managers for Birds Australia at their Newhaven Reserve in the Northern Territory. Ian says that his time at Newhaven was " a great job in a fantastic part of Australia" . Ian's association with Aboriginal people started as a child and still continues, and Ian has a good understanding of , and a great respect for their culture. Community work, conservation, volunteering and local history are Ian's principal interests. Appointed 2012.

Reserve Manager, Eurardy Reserve Nicola Hamilton
Nicola grew up and lived for many years on cattle stations in the Northern Territory and moved to station country in Western Australia in 1985 . Eight years ago Nicola studied for a Nursing Diploma and then worked in small country hospitals and a bush nursing post. Three years ago Nicola again became immersed in study and achieved a Diploma of Gemmology and is now a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Australia. Nicola has three sons and three grandchildren. And is a passionate lover of the bush ,animals and birds, enjoys gardening , reading and antiques. Appointed 2012. 

Wunambal Gaambera Healthy Country Manager Tom Vigilante
BSc (Hons), PhD Ethno-Ecology  •  Tom has a long history of working with Wunambal Gaambera and other Traditional Owners in the North Kimberley. During an undergrad semester break, Tom visited his grandfather who was a long-time volunteer market gardener at Kalumburu community. The visit sparked an interest in indigenous land management and Tom went on to undertake a PhD on the ethno-ecology of aboriginal burning around the community. Following that he worked for the Kimberley Land Council for 8 years on indigenous natural and cultural resource management projects, including fire management in preparation for opportunities under the Carbon Farming Initiative. Appointed 2011.

Philanthropy Executive Angie Smashnuk
Angie Smashnuk BA (With Distinction) Assoc. Cert. Fundraising Management (Hons.) • Angie is a Canadian-Australian with over 10 years fundraising experience in the non-profit industry, including health charities and universities in both countries. A keen traveller, at least in a past life, she has seen much of North and South America, Europe and of course Australia. As the Philanthropy Executive based in Western Australia, she looks forward to sharing the many strides in on-ground conservation that Bush Heritage has made with local WA supporters. Angie also tutors for the Fundraising Institute of Australia's Certificate in Fundraising program and holds an advanced diploma in Yoga Teaching. Mother to a young daughter who is obsessed with birds, she is pleased to be working for an organisation that has a positive impact on the planet's health.  

North Regional Team

Executive Manager - Rob Murphy
Rob was appointed to Bush Heritage Australia in 2013 and brings over 20 years experience in conservation land management within Queensland. His career includes operational park and forest ranger positions through to senior management and leadership roles within Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS). His most recent role as QPWS Regional Director included the management of over 45% of Queensland's protected area estate within the vast and remote areas of Western Queensland. Rob is a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected areas, possesses a passion for conservation land management, and for the welfare of the dedicated people who manage them.

Ecologist (Queensland Uplands and Brigalow Belt) Murray Haseler
BSc Ecology, Grad Dip Tropical Ecology  •  Murray previously worked with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on wildlife issues and habitat surveys and assessments throughout the Brigalow and South-East Queensland bioregions. Prior to that he worked in Tasmania on wildlife issues. Appointed 2003.

Freshwater Ecologist Dr Adam Kerezsy
BEnvSci (Hons), BA, Grad Dip Aquaculture, Grad Dip Ed, PhD  •  Having completed an Honours project on fish in outback New South Wales, Adam has recently been awarded a PhD on fish in outback Queensland. Obviously, studying fish in the outback is a recurring theme in Adam's life! Fittingly, he now works at Bush Heritage's Edgbaston Reserve, looking after endangered fish that live in artesian springs. Adam has also worked on contracts for government agencies such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service and Department of Primary Industries in rural New South Wales, and as a journalist and teacher. Appointed 2009.

Healthy Landscape Manager, Great Divide and Cape Steve Heggie
AssocDipAppSc  •  Steve completed studies in Parks and Wildlife at the University of Adelaide, before building a career and extensive experience in the management of conservation reserves during time as a ranger in Victorian, South Australian and Kakadu National Parks. In 2001 he was appointed as the first full-time Bush Heritage reserve manager on Carnarvon Station Reserve. He became the Reedy Creek Reserve Manager in 2004 and took up the Regional Manager for Northern Australia position in 2008. Appointed 2004.

Reserve Manager, Carnarvon Station Reserve Chris Wilson
Chris has an extensive knowledge of practical conservation management across a range of semi-arid landscapes. He worked with Queensland National Parks for 8 years as a Natural Resource Ranger and Ranger in Charge. Chris has a strong background in on-ground conservation practices, including weed control, fire management and feral animal control. A rural upbringing in the grazing industry and his experience as owner/operator of a rural contracting business gave Chris his close association with the land. Chris lives at Carnarvon station with his wife Alison and three children. Appointed 2009. 

Field Officer, Northern Australia - Thornton Kerr
Thornton has an extensive history in the building and construction industry, covering a broad range of works including road and bridge construction, machine operation, domestic housing carpentry, roofing, concreting and plumbing.  Thornton also spent many years living on a working cattle station in the Gulf of Carpentaria holding responsibility for land management activities including fire management, weed and feral animal control, stock control, fencing, track drainage and erosion control.  Thornton took a role as a Maintenance Manager on Sunrise Estate, adjoining Reedy Creek reserve, which saw him gain further expertise in land management.  After working for a Bush Heritage for many years as a land management contractor, Thornton is stoked to be employed in the Reedy Creek Field Officer role.  Appointed 2012. 

Reserve Manager, Reedy Creek Reserve Mat McLean 

Reserve Manager, Yourka Reserve (job-share) Leanne Hales
BA Psychology, Geography, Environmental Science  •  Leanne has a strong background in environmental education, and visitor and natural resource management. Leanne spent 8 years working for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in a range of roles throughout national parks in central Queensland. She began as a trainer with the Youth Conservation Corps, then moved on to regional safety coordinator and a business management position. She also has a background in social work and social planning and brings with her good communication and facilitation skills. Appointed 2005, commenced at Yourka in 2008.

Reserve Manager, Yourka Reserve (job-share) Paul Hales
Paul grew up on properties in central Queensland and has extensive skills and experience in natural resource management. Paul's natural resource management roles have included running weed control programs for the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of the Environment, and 10 years with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. His last position was Ranger-in-Charge at Diamantina Catchment, covering over 400 million acres of arid channel country. Paul has extensive practical fire management experience, including coordinating emergency services at fires. Paul is also an accredited firearms trainer. Appointed 2005, commenced at Yourka in 2008.

Healthy Landscape Manger, Western Savannah and Arid Zone - vacant

Reserve Manager, Cravens Peak and Ethabuka reserves – Peter Welldon
Peter has worked in both the private and public sectors, developing knowledge and practical skills through a diverse career and life experiences. He enjoyed a rural upbringing in Central Western Queensland where he worked in cattle and sheep production. He then joined in the Royal Australian Army, working in engineering and electronics, and later the Correctional Services specialising in juvenile justice. In recent years, Peter has been working in the tropics as a Senior Ranger in the Ross River Dam and Paluma Dam catchment areas, specialising in water quality, dam safety, eco-tourism and water recreation. During this time Peter worked with community organisations and school groups promoting an understanding and of water quality and land conservation issues and practices. Appointed 2011.

Indigenous Partnerships Officer, North Australia Emma Ignjic
BA (Hons) Anthropology  •  Emma has experience working to support Indigenous governance and participation in conservation management with community-based Aboriginal land and sea management programs (Aurukun Land and Sea Management program), peak regional Indigenous organisations (Balkanu), non-government conservation organisations (The Wilderness Society) and the tertiary education sector (James Cook University). Her position involves facilitating partnerships with Indigenous people to support ‘caring for country' and conservation outcomes. Appointed 2009

South East Regional Team

Executive Manager – Pip Walsh

Ecologist, South East Australia Dr Matt Appleby
BSc (Hons), PhD Environmental Studies  •  Matt has extensive experience assessing and negotiating conservation covenants with landowners across Tasmania. Prior to this work, he completed a PhD and several research projects in the field of restoration ecology. Matt's interests have been focused on the native grasslands and woodlands in Tasmania's Midlands. His current position involves ecological assessments of land for the Beyond the Boundaries program. Appointed 2007. 

Healthy Landscape Manager, Victoria and Tasmania Alistair Dermer
AppSci Protected Area Management and Ecotourism  •  Alistair contributes a diverse range of natural resource management, operational, planning and practical skills and experience. Following studies, Alistair managed the Eyre and Broome Bird Observatories in WA for Birds Australia, undertook a summer season of sea bird research at Macquarie Island, delivered fox bait trails and baseline fauna data collection in Tasmania, and instigated and managed a variety of conservation programs throughout Tasmania. Within Bush Heritage, he was our first reserve manager at Ethabuka Reserve with wife Karen, where after two years in the desert they returned to Tasmania and he worked as Station Support Coordinator for the Australian Antarctic Division. At the start of 2010, returning to BHA as a Regional Manager and has now managed operations in WA, SA, NSW, VIC and TAS; and has as required undertaken temporary re-assignments to manage operations and fire campaigns in QLD and organisational development. Alistair lives and works from the home he built in Tasmania with his wife and three children, and has been associated with Bush Heritage since 2002.

Regional Reserve Manager, Victoria  Jeroen Van Veen
Dip Conservation & Land Management  •  Jeroen has a keen understanding of the precarious state of Australia's biodiversity and spends his time at Bush Heritage looking after the Nardoo Hills Reserves in Victoria's central north. Jeroen has a background in conservation and land management and aims to repair the reserve's natural assets. Highlights for Jeroen are the rediscovery of plants and animals previously unknown at the Nardoo Hills Reserves, making a comeback. Appointed 2010. 

Healthy Landscape Managers, Naree Reserve and Warrego Region David & Sue Akers
Appointed 2013. 

Healthy Landscape Manager, South-East New South Wales Peter Saunders
Peter manages conservation and infrastructure work across Bush Heritage's New South Wales reserves (Scottsdale, Tarcutta Hills, Brogo, Burrin Burrin, ‘Nameless' Sylvan). Formerly working as a Chartered Aircraft Engineer, Peter changed his career some years ago when he worked to develop management systems and compliance regimes for environmental management within a major federal department. This work ran concurrently with the management of his own 110-ha property focusing on native grass seed production and a low-intensity grazing enterprise. This work developed into his own small business in rural contracting and natural resource management services and the formalising of his experience with postgraduate study at the Australian National University prior to taking up employment with Bush Heritage Australia in 2009. Living in Bellmount Forrest, New South Wales, Peter is a both an active member of the community and Rural Fire Service member. Appointed 2009.  

Field Officer, Scottsdale Brett Peden
Born and raised in Goulburn NSW, Brett has always had a great interest in working on the land, having worked on his family property as well as surrounding places. Brett has held a variety of jobs in his career including stonemason, station hand (local and central NSW), Grade 4 storeman for Coles Myer warehouse helping implement the warehouse management system, care taker of a caravan park at Durras in north NSW, and management of his own landscape and maintenance business. Finding out that he has ancestral history in the valley (Bumbalong) and a very enthusiastic wife who is an ecologist, the opportunity to work for Bush Heritage on Scottsdale with all its different land management programs and the interesting people is very exciting. Appointed 2014.  

Conservation

Executive Manager Pip Walsh
BSc  •  Pip has over 20 years' experience in the not for profit sector working for a range of organisations with diverse business models, and has been part of senior management teams for both WWF and Greening Australia for over 10 years.  She was CEO of Greening Australia NSW prior to taking on this role at Bush Heritage.  Pip has also worked in leadership roles at the NSW Nature Conservation Trust and the National Parks Association NSW.  She has worked across all jurisdictions in Australia including in the planning of large scale conservation programs on private and Indigenous land including innovative Ramsar listings.  Pip is the leader of the Australian Conservation Action Planning Coaches Network in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, which focuses on helping teams and their coaches improve their strategic planning and delivery.  Appointed 2011.

Science and Research

Science and Research Manager Dr Jim Radford
BSc (Hons), PhD Applied Ecology  •  Jim manages the ecological outcomes monitoring program on Bush Heritage's reserves and partner properties, and also manages Bush Heritage's research partnerships. In 2002, Jim completed a PhD on the ecology of white-browed treecreepers. He then spent 6 years researching the effects of land-use change on avifaunal communities in northern Victoria. His research interests include understanding the interplay between behavioural responses to landscape change and the ecological processes that determine the distribution and abundance of fauna. He is passionate about transferring this understanding into principles and guidelines for ecologically sustainable landscape management. Appointed 2008.

Spatial Information Coordinator Paul Young
BSc (Geography and Environmental Science)  •  After completing his studies, Paul spent 5 years working as a GIS officer in both the public and private sector. He has contributed to both small-scale projects such as minor housing developments, and large-scale projects such as state-wide vegetation condition mapping for DSE. Appointed 2012. 

Indigenous Partnerships

Indigenous Partnerships Manager Justin McCaul
BLeisMgt Cultural Development, GCCommun Social Change Communication, Master of Global Media Communication (in progress)  •  Justin started his career in the Indigenous and community arts sector in Brisbane in the 1990s. In 2000 he ventured to northeast Cambodia where he worked as a community education advisor on a United Nations-funded rural development project. From 2001 to 2003 he was communications advisor on a World Bank-funded biodiversity project in Virachey National Park, one of Cambodia's largest protected areas. In Cambodia he worked predominantly with Indigenous hill tribes people on conservation and sustainable development outcomes. Returning to Australia in 2004, Justin undertook postgraduate studies before taking up a media and communications role with the Australian Conservation Foundation's Northern Australia Program. Justin brings to Bush Heritage experience in Indigenous-led conservation, community engagement and communications and media. Justin is a descendent of the Barbarum people west of Cairns in north Queensland. Appointed 2011.

Indigenous Policy and Programs Manager Sarah Eccles
BA (History & Indigenous Studies, Dip Nat Res Manag)  •  Sarah is of Watharung descent, and has experience working with Aboriginal people both within non-government organisations such as Greening Australia, where she worked alongside the Indigenous Land Management facilitator, and in state government roles. Her position involves facilitating co-management agreements on Bush Heritage reserves and greater conservation or ‘Caring for Country' on Indigenous-held lands. Appointed 2005.

Conservation Strategy and Systems

Conservation Strategy and Systems Manager Dr Kate Fitzherbert
BSc (Hons), PhD Ornithology  •  Kate worked in ornithological research, principally on threatened species and their management, before moving into environmental fundraising. She has been instrumental in raising the funds for, and helping establish, privately-owned habitat reserves in Australia. Appointed 2001.

Conservation Planning Coordinator Clair Dougherty
BSocSci  Environment, DipEnvMan, DipVisArts  •  After working in the environmental field both in local government and in big business, Clair saw the light and moved into the not-for-profit sector. Clair previously spent several years as a furniture designer, and has a particular interest in using sustainable materials. She has also trained as a coach for Conservation Action Planning, a tool used for planning effective ecological management. Appointed 2007. 

Conservations Systems Specialist Annette Stewart
MBA, MSc Env Man Restoration  •  Annette has over 20 years of experience in information technology and financial services, as well as a passion for all things environmental. She has a Masters degree in both business administration and environmental management, and brings a wide range of skills and experience to help Bush Heritage achieve its mission. Annette spent the first 5 years at Bush Heritage as General Manager, and is now working in the Conservation team on proposed new acquisitions and improvements to Bush Heritage's conservation systems. A key aim is to significantly increase the efficiency and quality of conservation projects, with associated reporting back to donors showing the conservation outcomes obtained through their investments. This is now being achieved through adoption of the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation and its supporting software, Miradi. Appointed 2004.

Innovation and New projects Coordinator – Eleanor Carswell

Legal Counsel Sandra Anderson
Solicitor Commercial and Property Law, BA/LLB, Grad Dip Legal Practice  •  Sandra has recently returned to Bush Heritage after a 12 month sojourn in private legal practice. Sandra's expertise in commercial and property law ensures that Bush Heritage has the in-house capacity to manage many of the legal consequences of our property ownership across all state and territory jurisdictions of Australia. Her role involves the highly specialised area of conservation covenanting and Sandra continues to develop and nurture sound partnerships between Bush Heritage and all state covenanting agencies and environmental departments while negotiating covenants for both our existing and new reserves. Sandra's role also involves the provision and management of professional advice on issues pertaining to, for example, environmental law, mining law issues (particularly in Western Australia and South Australia) and the emerging market of carbon rights.

Corporate Services

Executive Manager Corporate Services and Chief Finance Officer - Rob Pratt
BAcc, CA  •  Rob began his professional career with Ernst & Young in a client-facing role and qualified as a chartered accountant before undertaking secondments to Ernst & Young Minneapolis and locally to client operations in Melbourne and Sydney. Rob later joined the E&Y technical services group, writing policy submissions to Government on Corporations Law reform and accounting standards, whilst also representing the firm at industry forums and delivering technical training and briefings to clients and staff. Since 2001, Rob has held senior financial and general management roles in a variety of sectors, both commercial and not for profit, including as CFO/Deputy CEO of the Royal Australian College of GPs, a national not for profit charitable organisation. Appointed 2012.

Finance

Finance Team Leader Sue Chen
BA, MAcc (Hons)  •  Sue joined Bush Heritage after working as an intern for three months. Sue's current role involves assisting the Finance Team with generating reports and other financial activities. Appointed 2010.

Accountant Maggie Hu 

Accounts Payable and Payroll Officer Sylvia Mak
B.Bus Accounting, CPA  •  Sylvia has extensive experience in diverse industries in the area of accounts payable. She also has experience in the accounting field, working as an Assistant Accountant for a few years with Deloitte in Hong Kong. Sylvia is also involved in the payroll area, where she can once again broaden her knowledge in the accounting field. Appointed 2010.  

Governance and Business Systems

Governance and Business Systems Team Leader - Chantal Fowler
BParkMan Business Management  •  Chantal has extensive and varied experience gained from volunteering and working for Parks Victoria and Parks Canada, working in a range of areas, including field research, volunteer management, interpretation and education, visitor services, customer service and business administration. Appointed 2006.

Governance Coordinator Linda Thomas
Linda spent a number of years in analytical roles in the finance and retail sectors before choosing to take up administrative roles with non-profit organisations. Bush Heritage has enabled her to further her interest in the environment and conservation, as well as become more familiar with Australia and its many habitats. Appointed 2005. 

Receptionist and Office Administrator  Soundri Pillay
Soundri is a singer who is quite good at organising stationery and biscuits. She has enjoyed babysitting a variety of marsupials and providing various groups and individuals with artwork, voiceovers, and admin assistance. Appointed 2011. 

Health and Safety

Health Safety and Environment Coordinator - Troy Dare (filling position while Eve Jani on leave) 

Human Resources

People and Organisation Development Manager - Fiona Hann
BA (Psychology and Criminology, BComm Human Resources)
  •  Fiona has over 12 years' experience in the human resources field working for a large automotive manufacturer. She commenced working with Bush Heritage in 2005, developing people management policies and procedures. After a short break, Fiona is delighted to return to Bush Heritage and looks forward to using her broad range of experience in people management to support the continued growth of the organisation. Appointed 2010.

People and Organisation Development Coordinator Lisa Wollermann
BSocSci Psych • Lisa comes to Bush Heritage after completing her Bachelor degree in Social Science (Psychology).  Her interests in human resource management and organisation development were sparked during her years as a team leader for a busy bakery franchise.  Lisa has sought to bring her skills, experience and passion to an innovative national organisation working towards environmental conservation and sustainable biodiversity objectives.  Outside work, Lisa has enjoyed many years of competitive rowing and swimming, along with social tennis and netball.  She has a passion for music festivals, spending time with her family, friends and dog, and getting away to the country or coast to relax.  Appointed 2007.

Volunteer Program Coordinator Leanne Hales
BA Psychology, Geography, Environmental Science  •  Leanne has a strong background in environmental education, and visitor and natural resource management. Leanne spent 8 years working for Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in a range of roles throughout national parks in central Queensland. She began as a trainer with the Youth Conservation Corps, then moved on to regional safety coordinator and a business management position. She also has a background in social work and social planning and brings with her good communication and facilitation skills. Appointed 2005.

Information and Communications Technology

Information and Communications Technology Assistant – Tom Grindrod
BA (geography and philosophy) • Outside of Bush Heritage, Tom is completing his Master of Environments specialising in environmental politics and law. He developed a passion for conservation through ecological restoration work on private land in Victoria while growing up, and has previously volunteered for Bush Heritage Australia amongst other Victorian and Tasmanian land conservation groups. Appointed 2012.

Marketing

Executive Manager Richard Zimmermann

Key Relationships and Bequests Manager – Kate Eddy
BA (Hons) Geography • After a few years in the publishing industry, Kate began her fundraising career in 2001 and has since gained international and Australian fundraising experience recruiting, retaining and developing individual donors at all levels of support including regular givers, major donors and bequestors. Kate achieved a consistent record of growth and success in fundraising for Oxfam GB, Opportunity International UK, YWCA England & Wales and the Wilderness Society Inc. (Australia). Kate has always been interested in how people interact with the environment and this led her to study geography at degree level and to do hands-on conservation work in her spare time. She enjoys bushwalking, camping and learning about plants, animals and birds.

Major Gifts and Bequests Coordinator Liz Hackett
BA Television Production, MA Broadcasting and Electronic Communication, Nursing and Management of Australian Wildlife • Liz has a background in television production, information technology and administration, including many years at IBM Australia as Digital Media Sales Lead/Knowledge Manager. A lifelong environmentalist, she has produced her own nature documentary on the mountain pygmy possum, worked as a volunteer with Conservation Volunteers Australia since 2004, and was awarded Earthwatch Australia's Volunteer of the Year in 2008 for her research work investigating climate change in the Arctic. Liz plans to see all species of penguin during her lifetime: ten down, seven to go! Her passion for the environment led her to join Bush Heritage. Appointed 2009.

Grants Officer Melanie Addinsall
BA Environments • Melanie has a background in biodiversity conservation, sustainable agriculture and community engagement. Previously working for Landcare in north eastern Victoria, Melanie delivered projects on revegetation, sustainable grazing and pasture management, and pest plant and animal control including launching an Indian Myna action group. Originally from a grain and sheep farm in the Wimmera, an outdoor childhood inspired Melanie to study the Bachelor of Environments at the University of Melbourne. Following university Melanie studied and travelled overseas including volunteering in Uganda and Ireland. Melanie co-founded the Benalla Collective, a young professionals group for the town, assisting to establish the Swanpool Environmental Film Festival and assisting with another small music festival. During her spare time Melanie enjoys hiking, snow and water skiing and drawing Australian native plants. Appointed 2014.

Philanthropy Executive Angie Smashnuk
Angie Smashnuk BA (With Distinction) Assoc. Cert. Fundraising Management (Hons.) • Angie is a Canadian-Australian with over 10 years fundraising experience in the non-profit industry, including health charities and universities in both countries. A keen traveller, at least in a past life, she has seen much of North and South America, Europe and of course Australia. As the Philanthropy Executive based in Western Australia, she looks forward to sharing the many strides in on-ground conservation that Bush Heritage has made with local WA supporters. Angie also tutors for the Fundraising Institute of Australia's Certificate in Fundraising program and holds an advanced diploma in Yoga Teaching. Mother to a young daughter who is obsessed with birds, she is pleased to be working for an organisation that has a positive impact on the planet's health.

Philanthropy Executive – Stacey Irving
BA (International Development), currently studying International Urban and Environmental Management • Stacey's love of the Australian bush stems from her childhood in the Strzelecki ranges. Prior to her role as Philanthropy Executive Stacey spent 1½ years working as Information and Communications Officer in Bush Heritage's Volunteer Program. With her love of volunteering Stacey has spent the last 5 years actively involved in the community development sector, gaining extensive fundraising experience. Stacey is also an alumna of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership. Appointed 2012. 

Event and Adminstration Coordinator – Sabine Reiser
BSc (Environmental Economics) BA (Arts in Asian Studies) • Born and raised in Germany, Sabine spent almost 10 years living, studying, and working in China and the U.S. After completing her degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, she worked for a year as a Junior Fellow with the Energy & Climate program at the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace. Her passion for environmental protection and interest in the impact of hydropower development on river ecosystems led her to move to southern China, where she supported the fundraising efforts of local grassroots NGOs. Having recently made Melbourne her new permanent home, Sabine is excited to explore Australia's landscapes on foot and by bicycle. Appointed 2014.

Philanthropy Executive – Victoria Schladetsch
BA (International Relations), BSocSci (Community Development)  • Victoria grew up in the lush Sunshine Coast hinterland, where she developed a lifelong love for the Australian bush and beaches. Passionate about travel, Victoria balanced a dual degree at the University of Queensland with several jaunts across the world. Living in Kathmandu was a highlight, where she worked at an orphanage for an NGO whilst building much-needed infrastructure. Prior to her role with Bush Heritage, Victoria worked for Oxfam Australia as a key relationships manager and volunteer coordinator. She's also worked as an event coordinator for a Fairtrade advocacy organisation, as a Fairtrade labelling authority and sustainability manager for an international coffee company, for a corporate sustainability consultancy agency in Melbourne, and as part of sustainable services website team in Queensland. She's an alumna of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership, and loved working as a WWOOFer on an organic farm in England, and as an eco-volunteer on a remote island in Croatia. Appointed 2013.

Philanthropy Executive – Connie Maina
MBA, MSc (Public Relations), BA (Sociology) Born and raised in Kenya, Connie came to Australia in 2001 as an MBA Student returning after completion of her studies. She relocated back to Australia in 2011. Connie's background is communication and fundraising and she has over 15 years of a very interesting and successful career in fundraising working for the Kenya Wildlife Service, the National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Hospital Association. She has also worked for the WWF and UNESCO. Connie was involved in fundraising at both local and international level and she is widely travelled. She has gained Australian fundraising experience through her two years' work in the Development Office of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne. The Kenya Wildlife Service manages 49 national parks and reserves and Connie has great interest and love for environment, nature and cultural and heritage conservation. Connie's passion for the environment and the experience fundraising for environmental conservation and cultural organisations makes her feel at ‘home' at Bush Heritage.

Philanthropy Executive, Planned Giving – Rebecca Passlow
BSc (Conservation Ecology) • Rebecca began her professional career working as an environmental educator at the Toolangi State Forest in 2002. She has grown her career through the environmental sector in both not for profit and Government organisations, from grass roots on the ground works managing bushland reserves and wetlands, though to writing and implementing sustainability policy while managing the Sustainability Planning Department at the City of Whittlesea. Rebecca is most passionate about protecting and enhancing biodiversity for future generations and linking people with experiences in the natural environment. She also has passion for wildflower photography and is a budding potter. Appointed 2014

Philanthropy Advisor, Planned Giving Jill Swanson
BA (Sociology/Psychology) • After some years working in marketing and communications, Jill grabbed an opportunity to follow her passion for Australia's environment and join the Australian Conservation Foundation. The next 14 years were spent working in a variety of roles including bequests, volunteer management, community liaison, publications and new donor acquisition. Jill is very excited to come to Bush Heritage and looking forward to contributing to the wonderful work conserving our Australian landscape and providing habitat for our magnificent wildlife. Appointed 2012.

Marketing Manager Alice Walter
BA, MSc  •  Alice Walter is a fundraising and communications professional with over 10 years' experience working for social justice, international development and environment organisations in Australia and the UK. She has helped these organisations - including the British Red Cross, Oxfam Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation - significantly increase their income bases and communities of support. She is passionate about Australia's unique landscapes and protecting the bushland she grew up with for future generations. Appointed 2010.

Media and Public Relations Team Leader Annette Ruzicka
Annette has a strong marketing background, having previously worked for corporations such as Caterpillar and Visy across various branding and campaign activities. A compelling need to ‘do her bit' to protect the natural environment led her to join the Bush Heritage team. Appointed 2008.

Web and Publications Team Leader Damian Alway
Appointed 2013.

Web Officer Craig Allen
BSc Hons (Biological Sciences)  •  Craig is responsible for Bush Heritage's online presence. Craig's web development and writing expertise are grounded by an eclectic career in environmental science, management and education. He has worked on projects studying wetland ecology in South Australia, finches on the Northern Territory, mammals and riverine ecology in Northern New South Wales and saltmarshes in Sydney. In Victoria he worked to conserve wetlands and native grasslands with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority. Before joining Bush Heritage, Craig was a freelance web developer and graphic artist, and cofounded the Connies environmental education collective. Appointed 2011.

Direct and Digital Marketing Team Leader Alex Monday
BA (Hons) English
  •  Responsible for Bush Heritage's direct marketing activities across all channels, Alex comes to the role with a background in fundraising and marketing for a range of not-for-profit organisations in both the UK and Australia. She hopes to now build on her previous experience in conservation fundraising to help advance the work of Bush Heritage. Appointed 2011.

Direct and Digital Marketing Officer Susan Mullins
BA (Liberal Arts & Law) • Appointed 2012.

Supporter Relations and Data Manager Bernie Maguire

Database Coordinator Darren Pilkington
Darren has 11 years of experience in managing databases. He started off at the Carlton Football club before moving to the Arts Centre where he spent 6 years as the Database Coordinator and 2 years as the Marketing Intelligence Manager. Darren then moved to the AFL where he spent 2.5 years as the Database and Systems Coordinator. Appointed 2011.

Supporter Relations Team Leader  – James Murray 
BComm, PGDipComm • James moved to Melbourne in 2008 from Dunedin, New Zealand. He has previously completed a Bachelor of Commerce as well as a Post Graduate Diploma Commerce at the University of Otago and the University of California, Berkeley. He is also an associate of the New Zealand Speech Board. With a background in economics, James has experience in economic and socio-demographic analysis and forecasting, and has previously worked as a Retail Property Economic Analyst with clients based throughout Australia and New Zealand. While presently working full time, James is also studying towards his Master of Environment at Melbourne University with a focus on environmental policy, governance and communication. James hopes to help Bush Heritage develop and maintain engaging relationships with all its supporters. He is passionate about ensuring that the messages of sustainability and conservation are communicated in a clear and concise manner. James started at Bush Heritage in late 2011 as a Casual Supporter Services Officer, before moving into the role Senior Supporter Services Officer in 2012. In 2013 he assumed the position of the Supporter Relations Team Leader. In his free time, James is the treasurer of Melbourne University's Post Graduate Environmental Network, and enjoys running, travelling, wine and friends. Appointed 2011.

Supporter Relations Officer  –  Ramya Venkataramani
MBA (HR and Finance) • Ramya began her career at a start-up printing and media company in India as a generalist human resources professional. She then moved to a Talent Acquisition team for an IT giant in India. Because of her interest in ethical employment a friend brought her to Bush Heritage as a volunteer to help the People and Organisational Development team. Ramya's strong desire to be a part of Bush Heritage Australia and its work in conservation led her to apply for a role in Supporter Relations of which she was successful. Ramya likes colours, cooking, and loves to see people and children happy. Appointed 2011.