Volunteer Advisory Committee

Published 15 Jan 2018 

Our Volunteer Advisory Committee is a team of self-nominated volunteers from across the nation tasked with providing a volunteer voice in the review of systems and processes and who support the development of new and inspiring opportunities that further champion our Volunteer Program. Here are the members.

John Adams, Western Australia (Returning Member)


John worked as a wool classer and managed shearing teams throughout the agricultural areas of Western Australia and became the State Woolsampling Inspector for the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industry. John finished his career working within TAFE at the Murdoch Campus with the Horticultural, Landscape and Land Management students and apprentices. He has volunteered across the Western Region inclusive of roles on Gondwana Link, Eurady, Charles Darwin and Hamelin Reserves to undertake infrastructure maintenance, surveys and monitoring and revegetation projects. John has volunteered for a diverse number of organisations throughout his life. "I've found all the organisations that I've been involved in rewarding and to be able to help make a difference and achieve good outcomes gives me the satisfaction that my experience can be used in other areas". 

Grant Duthie, Victoria (Returning Member)


Grant is an avid writer and a proud Queenslander by birth. He works as an Analyst at NAB and has worked in diverse operations including Environmental Sustainability. In 2015 he completed an economics degree at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. He also spent time in Seoul and Hong Kong where he studied the influence of Asia-Pacific cultures on Australia’s economic and social environment. Grant is currently studying Environmental Law at Melbourne University. He's passionate about developing innovative approaches to managing environmental and economic challenges to afford human development.

In 2016 Grant joined the Bush Heritage Australia Volunteer Advisory Committee as a Youth Representative to encourage more participation among young volunteers. He's looking forward to supporting youth volunteering projects to engage more young people in conservation and the work of Bush Heritage.

Richard Alcorn, Victoria


Richard believes that Bush Heritage is a well-managed organisation, providing a valuable service to society by selectively adding to the national network of nature reserves. Bush Heritage is a charity, reliant on supporters and volunteering is a direct and valuable way of providing that support. He has been a supporter of Bush Heritage for many years, and for several years was employed by Bush Heritage to support information technology systems. He has volunteered on many reserves across the country in a range of capacities, from weeding to ecological monitoring to database management, and considers it a privilege to have been given these opportunities. He hopes that this experience will enable him to work with the other members of the Volunteer Advisory Committee to further strengthen the effectiveness of the volunteer program and to enhance the pleasure and sense of achievement gained by volunteers in carrying out their duties.

Catherine Nicholson, Tasmania


Catherine was born and raised in Ireland. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Sociology, from UCC Ireland, a Master’s Degree in Regional and Urban Geography from UCD, Dublin, and worked as a town planner in Ireland for a few years before migrating to Tasmania, with her husband in the mid 1980s. In the mid 1990s she completed a Diploma in Environmental Studies from UTAS, Tasmania. 

Catherine has over 30 years' experience working across the areas of regional and urban planning and environmental policy and management, including being an ex-Commissioner with the Tasmanian Planning Commission and she currently sits as an expert member of the Resource Management and Planning Appeals Tribunal of Tasmania.

Catherine’s varied work experience across a number of organisations, including being the convenor of a Coast Care group for 14 years, will allow her to make a positive contribution to the Volunteer Advisory Committee. She states that, “I hope to be able to use the skills and experiences I've obtained in working in planning and environmental management to help with the ongoing planning of volunteer contributions across the multitude of reserves. Bush Heritage works in unison with volunteers to achieve their conservation outcomes and I believe my experience of being a volunteer in many organisations, as well as my actual work experience as an environmental planner will be of use”.

Eva Finzel, Victoria


Eva and her husband lived on, loved and managed a 40-hectare isolated bush property on remote King Island for 30 years, since migrating to Australia from Germany in 1984. The property was declared a Private Nature Reserve in 2004. For eleven of those years Eva worked as a volunteer for the King Island Natural Resource Management Group Inc. (KINRMG), being involved in strategic planning, historical environmental research, and writing grant applications and planning various threatened and invasive species projects. Eva also conducted a case study relating to volunteering on the island. For eight years she was a member/deputy chair of the Cradle Coast Natural Resource Management Committee (CCNRM) in the North-West Region of Tasmania, one of the 56 Australian NRM regions.The role of this committee was to develop and review the strategic planning for the region and oversee the organisation’s functions and responsibilities.

In 2013 Eva moved to Melbourne and since 2015 has been volunteering with Bush Heritage in a research capacity for the Conservation Team. Eva states that, “my motivation for joining the VAC is to help develop a volunteer involvement plan that's based on sound data, reflects the diversity and needs of current and potential volunteers and is in line with the vision, purpose, values and strategic plan of Bush Heritage. I'd also like to work on identifying the gaps that still exist in achieving the National Standards for Volunteer Involvement and develop a plan for filling those gaps”.

Richard McLellan, Western Australia


Richard is the CEO of one of Australia’s 56 regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) organisations – the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) – based at Geraldton in mid-west Australia.

A supporter of Bush Heritage for many years, Richard has embraced volunteering with Bush Heritage with a passion, helping-out on a range of activities at Hamelin Station Reserve, Eurardy Reserve, and Charles Darwin Reserve.

An experienced senior-level ecologist, conservationist, and sustainable development program manager, Richard did his original training in environmental science, and has since enjoyed a varied and ever-evolving working career to now be primarily focused on issues relating to community-based natural resource management, private land conservation, and sustainable development.

“Being on the VAC provides me with another opportunity to make additional worthwhile contributions to Bush Heritage – whose mission, environmental goals and objectives, and values are very close to my own,” said Richard.

“I've enjoyed working alongside other volunteers on Bush Heritage reserves, and have been most impressed by the huge contributions they make to the organisation. Amongst other things, they bring to the organisation: passion, enthusiasm, dedication, commitment, skills, and experience. The work outcomes they achieve are both impressive and important.

I am a great believer in the values of collaboration, value-adding and magnification – and see all of these elements pertaining to volunteers and the way in which they complement and expand the efforts and accomplishments of Bush Heritage’s paid personnel. Volunteers are critical to the success of the organisation. I’m enjoying having a hand in that.”