Professor Bridgewater is currently Adjunct professor at the University of Canberra and Chair of the Australian Biosphere Reserve working group under the Federal Department of Energy and the Environment. He has held the posts of Non-Executive Chair, UK Joint nature Conservation Committee 2007- 2014; Secretary General, Ramsar Convention. (2003 – 2007) – Gland, Switzerland; Secretary, UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme and Director, Division of Ecological Sciences (1999 – 2003) – Paris and Chief Executive, Australian Nature Conservation Agency (1990 -1997). Peter was awarded the UNESCO Picasso Gold Medal in 1995, jointly with the Chair of the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management for excellence in managing a World Heritage cultural landscape. Peter’s research interests include terrestrial and marine biodiversity governance; novel ecosystems; landscape ecology and science-policy interfaces.
Meriem Bouamrane has been an environmental economist and programme specialist in UNESCO’s Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences “Man and the Biosphere” programme since 2001. She is the coordinator of the EuroMAB Network, the oldest and largest network of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (52 countries and 302 biosphere reserves including Canada and the USA). Meriem is responsible for research and training programmes on access and use of biodiversity, participatory approaches and concertation, using biosphere reserves as research and demonstration sites. She has organized and conducted a series of workshops using different participatory techniques and tools in biosphere reserves and is involved in several research programmes on resilience of socio-ecological systems and participatory methodology. She is member of the PECS (Programme on Ecosystem change and Society) Scientific Committee, sponsored by UNESCO and the International Council for Science.
Costa Georgiadis has been the host of ABC’s Gardening Australia show since 2012.
Costa is a landscape architect who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people. His holistic approach is all about gardening, the soil and the soul. For Costa, soil and water are central to absolutely everything and their availability and sustainability is of the utmost global importance. He is a passionate advocate for regenerative agriculture and the holistic practices that are being developed to deal with the issues of a rapidly urbanising world. Through ongoing workshops, lecture series, keynotes, and expos and on-site practicums, His work with primary schools, high schools, TAFE Colleges, universities, industry groups and Community organisations reflects his ability to take the message of a permanent self-sustaining culture and give it traction for any audience.
Nadia is a Director of Goondicum Pastoral Co based in Monto Qld. Goondicum Station occupies over 7000ha of prime agricultural land and natural ecosystems, located within a prehistoric volcanic crater at the head of the Burnett River. Nadia holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and worked as a corporate in-house lawyer in Brisbane for 10 years. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and an active member of the Australian Animal Care and Education Incorporation through which she undertakes continual education on the care and rehabilitation of Australian Wildlife. Nadia has a passion for promoting and advancing education in the agricultural space, to advance regenerative agriculture and improve our environment for future generations.
Andrew Gerry is the General Manager of Farmfresh Fine Foods in Bundaberg.
Farmfresh Fine Foods is a second-generation, family-owned and operated Australian food technology and manufacturing company leading the development of innovative, customised vegetable solutions for Australian and international industrial and foodservice markets. The company’s world-class technological processes offer a variety of processing methods. Joining the business in 1989, Andrew has worked in all aspects of the vegetable production business. Andrew has a passion for developing innovative vegetable solutions for the industrial and foodservice markets.
Ben Artup is Bundaberg Regional Council’s Executive Director of Strategic Projects and Economic Development. Ben is an economist with over 20 years of experience in economic development and commercial advisory, in roles spanning the private, public and not for profit sector. He is actively involved in various Council initiatives including its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program aimed at reducing urban glow to aid sea turtle conservation.
Dale Holliss is the General Manager of Bundaberg CANEGROWERS Ltd and Company Secretary for the Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group. He is a Director of the National Irrigators Council and Chairs the National Irrigators Council Energy Committee. Dale has a background in sustainable agricultural management, rural finance and economics. He also has extensive experience in irrigated sugar cane production systems across Queensland as well as a diverse range of horticultural crops.
David de Paoli has been involved in the fruit and vegetable industry from the age of 21, when he took over one of his father’s Alloway cane properties. He soon became actively involved with a range of vegetable industry groups where he learned about agripolitics. Frustrated with the marketing process and its control by “middle men”, David decided to pursue crops with non-perishable potential and founded his own company Austchilli in 1995. Today, Austchilli is Australia’s largest chilli company and is an internationally renowned leader in the food manufacturing industry. The company’s success is built on David’s vision of “ foreseeing opportunities, building successful businesses and continually challenging how we can improve ourselves and the world around us”.
Deon Utber is the South Coast Regional Leader for Conservation with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions Parks and Wildlife Service, based in Western Australia. Deon has worked on the South Coast since 2006 in Natural Resource Management and in the development and implementation of strategic initiatives that have led to the achievement of on-ground outcomes. He has been closely involved in progressing the renomination of the Fitzgerald Biosphere and the subsequent planning.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is a partner organisation of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Community Collective. DBCA is responsible for protecting and conserving the State’s natural environment on behalf of the people of Western Australia.
Dick Barnes grew up in the UK and has an M.A. in Engineering and Business Studies from Cambridge University. He spent many years working for Mars Incorporated in multiple functions and in numerous countries. He retired in 2004 after 7 years as that company’s Global Vice President, CFO, and Treasurer. Dick and his wife settled in Australia in 2004 and moved to Noosa in 2006.Dick developed a passion for farming and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and operates a sustainable group farming operation producing beef on 1200 acres. This interest led him to become the Treasurer of Noosa and District Landcare, the Founding President of Country Noosa, and the Founding President of the Noosa Community Biosphere Association. He serves on several Boards and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Today, Dick retains a strong passion for sustainable agricultural practices and is the Chairman of the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation Ltd.
James is the Chief Executive and co-founder of GreenCollar. James’s interests and expertise lie in exploring how environmental markets can offer innovative solutions that lead to real environmental, economic and social outcomes. He has used his skills all over the world working across a range of organisations including the World Bank, the African Union and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. James is a highly regarded advisor to government departments and organisations involved in the development and implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, environmental markets and natural resource management. Most recently James’s passion for frontier industries has led him to set up Earth Space Robotics, which invests in start-ups focusing on space exploration.
Jeanette Harrold is currently the Environmental Services Manager for Fraser Coast Regional Council and has also served for extended periods as Council’s Acting Executive Manager of Compliance and Regulation. Jeanette is a proud member of the Burnett Mary Regional Group and her 25 years of experience in the government sector has been dedicated to influencing sustainable environmental policy, specifically in the water resource and waste management sectors.
Judith Stutchbury has had a life-long appreciation and concern for the environment and its protection, which she actively instils into school students through her teaching role at Kalkie State School, Bundaberg.
Judith manages regional environmental activities and supports the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian Schools Program. She initiated and organised the inaugural Southern Great Barrier Reef Regional Schools “Reef Together” Convention for International Year of the Reef 2018. Judith is sculpting a new generation of leaders and environmentally aware citizens, and for this she has been awarded Queensland Department of Education State Finalist Teacher of the Year 2018, North Coast Education Region Teacher of the Year 2018 and the Luke Curnow Conservation Award 2018, among others. Kalkie State School also received the 2018 Australia Day Green Spirit Award – recognition which will inspire further change in other regional schools.
Dr Justin Bellanger has worked in the natural resource management field for over a decade in executive roles including as CEO of South Coast Natural Resource Management Incorporated (South Coast NRM). Justin has overseen a community-led approach to protecting threatened species and landscapes by ensuring that adequate planning and resources are in place for both grass-roots practitioners and science-based professionals in the South Coast Region. He has the great privilege of working with an exceptionally skilled team and a deeply passionate and engaged community in the most special part of WA. South Coast NRM is a partner organisation of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Community Collective. South Coast NRM promotes resilient communities by providing solutions for a healthy and productive environment across the South Coast NRM region of Western Australia.
Leonie McMahon is the Executive Officer of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Group Incorporated (FBG, based in Western Australia. Her first role with the FBG began in 2006 when she coordinated the Bremer River Catchment Project. She later continued her association with the FBG through development of a drive trail in Bremer Bay. She has a science background and has previously worked in Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo conservation. She lives with her partner and children on a farm near Bremer Bay. The FBG is a partner organisation of the Fitzgerald Biosphere Community Collective. The group is a not-for-profit community organisation that has been involved in Landcare, natural resource management and research and development in the Shire of Jerramungup since 1983. The FBG works on the western side of the Fitzgerald Biosphere reserve and operates under three themes: sustainable agriculture, healthy ecosystems and vibrant enterprises.
Mike has over 30 years of experience in management of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands in Ireland, America and Australia. He has managed the Queensland Wetlands Program for the Queensland Government for 13 years and manages a wetlands unit within the Department of Environment and Science. Mike deals with all aspects of wetlands management from mapping, monitoring, science synthesis, assessment and species management. He oversaw the development of WetlandInfo, which remains one of the most comprehensive wetlands websites in Australia. Mike has also developed numerous frameworks and management tools and provide policy and management advice to senior management on all aspects of wetlands and leads whole-of-system approaches to wetlands management, incorporating economic, social and environmental considerations.
Robyn Yates is an advocate for sustainability in education and since 2010 has made great efforts to foster long-lasting partnerships between her school and the community, seeing these as valuable learning opportunities for students.
As Curriculum Coordinator and Technical Ambassador at Tinana State School, Robyn supports staff to link sustainability as a cross-curriculum priority. As the school’s Sustainability Champion, her role is to foster knowledge of, and commitment to, environmental sustainability, through its integration into science, technology, arts and mathematics. In 2017, Tinana State School was the first school in Australia to achieve the Green Flag status, recognised for a strong school-wide sustainability ethos and commitment to reducing the school’s environmental footprint in the areas of energy, waste and water, and increasing biodiversity in the school-grounds and beyond. Robyn also received a ‘Certificate of Excellence’ for her outstanding contributions to the environment and education through the Kids Teaching Kids (KTK) Program.