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Our women changing the world

Published 06 Mar 2020 by Kate Thorburn

International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements, big and small, of women around the world. In this blog, five women at Bush Heritage share some thoughts on proud moments and people who inspire them. 

Heather Campbell

Bush Heritage CEO

CEO, Heather Campbell.

CEO, Heather Campbell.

I have a daughter and son. For me, success looks like both of them finding their place in the world unconstrained by prejudice.

At Bush Heritage, we want to support women juggling a career and a family – be that caring for young children or elderly parents. It’s not uncommon to hear a baby in the background during a conference call or to take a call by the sidelines at Saturday sport.

When I think about inspirational women, two spring to mind. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her ability to be herself and tackle the hard stuff.

Also Cheryl Batagol, the chairperson of EPA Victoria. She’s been a mentor of mine for almost 30 years. She has made a huge difference to a whole range of environmental organisations from waste to recycling to water boards, and she’s very generous with her time.

Tegan Hibberson

Tegan Hibberson.

Tegan Hibberson.

Acting Healthy Landscapes Manager Victoria

One of my proudest achievements so far has been working with our partners the Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners to permanently protect two new properties in Victoria. Learning about Dja Dja Wurrung cultural values through walking on country and learning from their stories helps educate both myself and the broader community.

Petronel Nieuwoudt is the founder of Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary in South Africa: the world’s largest shelter for orphaned Rhinoceroses. I was lucky enough to work with Petronel and her immense dedication, bravery, skills and unwavering belief inspired me to begin my career in conservation. She never slowed down or lost hope even in the face of insurmountable odds; in the conservation sector we all know how hard this can be.  Her passion and dedication is not only saving one of the world’s most iconic species but inspiring everyone she meets.

Sarah Eccles

Aboriginal Partnerships Officer South East

Sarah Eccles.

Sarah Eccles.

Being part of the journey to see Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan Traditional Owners in seeing their traditional country at Mawonga Station in central-western New South Wales declared an Indigenous Protected Area and knowing community have a place on country to practice culture and be.

With Ngiyampaa people looking after their country the maluman (mallee) woodlands have sprouted new seedlings that the goats had previously eaten out, the woodlands are full of bird, mammals, reptiles and bushtucker and are home to Yungkan the endangered Malleefowl.

There have been numerous hurdles along the way but I feel I have been part of lasting positive change for this country.  

I hold belief and hope that in working with my own community the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners in western Victoria we will one day be able to have a place on country to be, to care for our country, practice and pass on culture. It burns in me and is so important as a mother and step-mother of girls trying to raise up deadly young women, with a strong cultural foundation who will lead the way.

Sabine Reiser

Senior Philanthropy Executive

Sabine Reiser.

Sabine Reiser.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is developing and fostering strong connections between individuals and nature in general and the Australian bush in particular. Anytime I can spark someone’s interest in the Australian bush, enable them to have a rewarding bush experience, or inspire them to support the protection of our unique landscapes in any way (making behaviour changes, volunteering, learning, supporting a project) is a proud and fulfilling moment.

Apart from my mum (this goes without saying – raising me and my three siblings was without a doubt a herculean task!), my godmother Marion is a truly remarkable and inspiring woman. Marion raised two children on her own, ran a small farm with several horse, chicken, ducks, goats and sheep, and successfully led an automotive supplier company in a male dominated industrial sector – all the while remaining one of the most fun, adventurous and nature loving people I know.

Chontarle Bellottie

Aboriginal Partnerships Officer in the West

Chontarle Bellottie.

Chontarle Bellottie.

I feel pride in the commitment Bush Heritage as an organisation has made in working alongside Traditional Owners. As a Wardandi woman, our traditional knowledge supports the management of land and sea country, strengthens our sense of identity and cultural ties to family and community. I feel grateful to work with Nhanda, Badimia, Nyungar and Malgana people to support their on country visits and seek opportunities for Traditional Owners involvement on country to suit the needs of their communities.

I have been fortunate to have inspiring woman around me regularly. Our beautiful, grounded and powerful Nans, Mums and Aunties who bring a wealth of lived knowledge, cultural lore and unconditional love. Also, the women who have taught me the value of kindness, integrity and compassion whom I remain connected to and those women who I work with that share a love of nature and lead with passion and pride.

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