Wildcare Board and CEO

Wildcare Board

The Board oversees the strategy development and delivery and risk management of Wildcare Tasmania.

The following people are members of the Wildcare Board.

Donna Burton (Chair)

Elected Board Member

Donna spent over 30 years as a senior public servant, in Queensland and then Canberra, working in sectors such as housing and homelessness, disability, international climate change policy, renewable energy and greenhouse programs, and Indigenous and public health.  She also spent several years working for the Commonwealth Auditor-General, leading teams who examined government agencies’ performance and adherence to the standards and professionalism expected by the Australian parliament and public.  Throughout her personal and professional life, she has worked closely with many volunteer-based community and environment groups, where she valued their expertise, community engagement, innovative approaches, and practical achievements.

She has always been a keen bushwalker, and since moving to Tasmania in 2018 became a Wildcare member. She feels it’s been an honour to serve on the Wildcare Board since 2019, and looks forward to contributing in this capacity to the highly valuable work that Wildcare has done for decades in Tasmania’s unique natural and cultural environments.

Marianne Gee

Elected Board Member

Marianne is a keen bushwalker and Wildcare member whose first volunteer experience was as an Overland Track Hut Warden at Waterfall Valley in the summer of 2004. Having volunteered with a number of Wildcare branches since then, she has been President of Friends of the OBP (Orange-bellied Parrot) since 2018. Marianne also represents Friends of the OBP on the OBP National Recovery Team.

After fulfilling various roles over the years including teaching, policy and program development in Aboriginal Affairs, curriculum development with Curriculum Australia and lecturing in Aboriginal Studies at the University of Tasmania, Marianne retired from the public service in 2020. Having worked in Libraries Tasmania’s marketing and communications team for several years prior to retiring, Marianne gained basic skills in graphic design that have enabled her to go on and design marketing material and merchandise for Friends of the OBP.

Marianne looks forward to exploring avenues for branches to grow their membership, to promote active volunteering and to increase their fundraising capacity.

Andrew Flies

Elected Board Member

A senior research fellow at the University of Tasmania, Andy leads a team in trying to develop a vaccine to protect Tasmanian devils from the devil facial tumour diseases. His position allows him to merge two of his interests; conservation and immunology. Andy has also been involved in cancer immunology research at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins University. His Ph.D. was completed at Michigan State University, and he has spent time in the field collecting biological samples and behavioural data from spotted hyenas in the Maasai Mara, Kenya.

Andy moved with his wife (Dr. Emily Flies) to Adelaide in 2013, where together they created the volunteer organisation ‘Science in the Pub Adelaide’ a monthly scientific discussion panel.  In 2015 they relocated to Hobart with their son and established ‘Science in the Pub Tasmania’. Andy is also chair of the ‘1st Derwent Sea Scouts’ group support committee.

As a permanent resident of Tasmania, Andy and his family love visiting the state’s wild places and plan to grow old on this spectacular island. He believes the Wildcare model of organising community members to care for Tasmania’s spectacular wild places, animals, and heritage provides not only direct care for the places but also works towards a stronger environmental ethic in the community.

Maree Gleeson

Elected Board Member

Maree lives on the North West Coast of Tasmania where she is fortunate to be inspired by the wild places of Tasmania daily, with views out to the Bass Strait, Mt Roland, Black Bluff, and the Dial Range. She lives on a property that is also home to cattle, dogs, hens, 1 sheep, and a menagerie of native birds.

In her professional life, she has worked for many years in the health, education, and community sector with a particular interest in strategic program development and management, evaluation and research, and workshop facilitation and mentoring that complement these areas. Her passion for volunteering is expressed within her local community through her involvement in a number of programs mainly in education, literacy support, and mentoring of young people. She has also held management positions in strategic volunteer engagement and continues to be involved in this work through her consultancy business.

As a board member, she has an interest and experience in how good governance is demonstrated through the strategic intent and operations of organisations. She is particularly familiar with community engagement practices that enhance the role of partnerships to achieve meaningful outputs and outcomes for organisations, their people, and their purpose.

Being a member of the Wildcare Board gives her the opportunity to understand more about the unique and precious places in Tasmania and how we can honour the sacred places that our traditional owners have created for us to respect and care for.

Emma Reid

Elected Board Member

Emma Reid - Board MemberEmma brings to the Wildcare Tasmania Board passion, energy, and a range of relevant skills and experience to support the organisation and its people in making a genuine difference to Tasmania’s wild places.

Originally from New Zealand, Emma’s association with Tasmania’s wild places began when she arrived here 15 years ago and has continued to be an integral part of her leisure time. It has also been maintained through a close connection to the sub-Antarctic via the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project and in particular, her gorgeous rabbit detection dog Hamish who worked there.

She also has strong Antarctic and Southern Ocean links. As Antarctica New Zealand’s Communications Director. Emma delivered a high-profile public awareness program that supported world-leading science and environmental protection. She also spent the summer at Scott Base as station leader responsible for the community cohesion of 85 staff and scientists on the ice.

Emma has worked alongside Chief Executives and Boards in government agencies, not for profits, and corporate entities to enhance their reputation and brand and improve their standing with shareholders, stakeholders, and members of the public. She had over 20 years of strategic communication and governance experience across the private and public sectors, nationally and internationally.

Integral to her current role is communicating Tasmania’s brand values and strengthening partnerships so that everyone can see what makes it such a unique and special place to live, work and explore.

As a Board member, Emma relishes the opportunity to support the organisation during the next stage in Wildcare Tasmania’s journey and looks forward to contributing her creative and innovative approach to its strategic direction.

Peter Saunders

Elected Board Member

As an engineer and senior manager Peter has over 25 years experience across aviation, land management and conservation sectors. Transiting from aviation, Peter developed a small beef enterprise that specialised in regeneration work and native grass seed harvesting. This led to a period of study at the Fenner School (ANU) before taking up work with Bush Heritage as a Reserve and then Healthy Landscape Manager across NSW.

With a strong interest in land management as an integral part of indigenous culture Peter spent the last 8 years working in Arnhem land and the North Kimberley. The latter as the General / Business Manager working with the Ngarinyin people over 60,000 square kilometers of their remote and incredible Country.

With the great Australian environment, in all its forms, as his ‘happy space’ Peter is motivated by a cause and values driven. As such he hopes to use his diverse managerial and practical experience to help further the strategic direction, sound governance and important outcomes Wildcare Tasmania is delivering.

Lizzie Drew

Elected Board Member

Lizzie comes to the Wildcare Board with over a decade of experience in policy, governance, and community engagement. She is currently working as a Senior Policy Analyst at the Department of Treasury and Finance and has previously worked as an adviser to Andrew Wilkie MP, Independent Federal Member for Clark.

Lizzie has a keen interest in the theories and practice of environmental governance. She studied at the University of Tasmania, graduating with a first-class honours thesis that examined the environmental agreements that govern marine protected areas in the Southern Ocean. She has recently worked with CSIRO on a report into illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean and is a member of the Centre for Marine Socioecology, an inter-disciplinary research centre established to address the current and future use of Australia’s marine coasts and oceans.

Lizzie lives in nipaluna/Hobart with her teenage daughter and spends her spare time gardening, cooking, and running in Knocklofty Reserve. She believes that community-led initiatives are key for conservation and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside the knowledgeable and passionate people of the Wildcare Board and contribute to the growing success of the organisation.

Hannah Eames

Appointed Parks and Wildlife Service  Representative

Hannah spent 25 years working in Western Australia helping to design and deliver funding programs, partnerships, and engagement initiatives in state and local government.

She has significant experience in policy and program development, statutory and strategic planning and contemporary heritage engagement. Hannah has worked in multi-disciplinary teams in the arts, town planning, and conservation, across urban and remote locations.

Hannah’s love of nature and respect for history has shaped her work with communities, to help grow appreciation for special places and stories. She grew up on Ngunnawal country (Canberra) and spent much of her working life on Whadjuk Noongar country (Perth). Hannah has been visiting family and exploring Tasmania regularly for years and now calls it home.

Hannah holds qualifications in Cultural Heritage Management, Future and Foresight Studies, and a Certificate 3 in Conservation and Land Management. Hannah manages NRET’s Community Programs section within Parks and Wildlife Service.

Rosemary Gales

Appointed Natural and Cultural Heritage (NCH) Division Representative

Rosemary studied zoology and wildlife conservation and has worked in New Zealand, Canada, Antarctica, and Australia – including Macquarie and Heard Island. She has instigated and managed long-term programs monitoring the conservation status of penguins, albatrosses, seals, whales, and wombats. Rosemary has also been responsible for programs aimed at mitigating fisheries bycatch of seabirds and also convening a global group of specialists assessing the status of albatross species worldwide.

Rosemary currently manages NRET’s Natural Values Science Section of the Environment, Heritage and Land Division.

Jill Maxwell

Wildcare’s Chief Executive Officer

Jill comes to Wildcare from a professional background that includes almost 10 years as State Manager of Volunteering Tasmania, and most recently, 8 years as CEO of the Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS). Prior to that she served 13 years with Tasmania Police, completed a Bachelors Degrees in Social Work and Psychology, and worked as a counsellor in the Family Violence Counselling and Support Service.

She is a graduate of the Tasmanian Leaders Program (2011) and passionate about leadership and the influence it has on creating a safe, respectful, learning culture that inspires confidence in each other and results in an organisation expanding its vision and therefore its opportunities.

Jill is enthusiastic about contributing to change at both an individual and community level and enjoys testing her abilities in climbing mountains or kayaking many of Tasmania’s rivers and lakes at every opportunity. It isn’t unusual to find her out on evenings and weekends on a mountain trail or a waterway.

Wildcare Grants Assessment Committee

The role of the Wildcare Grants Assessment Committee.

Donations to Wildcare Tasmania are managed in accordance with our status as a Registered Environmental Organisation and Registered Charity.  Grant applications are invited from Wildcare volunteer groups and organisational partners.  Applications are assessed by the Wildcare Grants Assessment Committee, who are a group of highly qualified people passionate about Tasmania’s wild places and wildlife.  This governance process means that donors are able to claim a tax deduction for donations.

The following people are members of Wildcare’s Grants Assessment Committee:

Ann Hamilton

Since retiring from legal practice, Ann has become more actively involved with environmental conservation. She volunteers regularly with groups working in kanamaluka/Tamar estuary and Narawntapu National Park and is President of Friends of Tamar Island Wetlands Reserve.

Ann enjoys walking, especially in the Great Western Tiers (known to Aboriginal peoples as kooparoona niara), growing native plants from seed, working on her own urban bush block renovation project and is committed to engaging people in caring for our environment.

Ciara Turner

Ciara has a passion for the outdoors, growing up on a 5 acre property in rural Sandfly. Her love of the outdoors led her to become a Trek Leader at the Tasmanian Walking Company, as well as completing a 850km walk across the Pyrenees in Europe. She holds science credentials through a Combined Bachelor of Arts and Science where she majored in Zoology. She also holds a Masters in Business Management with Entrepreneurship. Ciara’s work experience has since turned to business analysis in product development and renewable energy. She has been involved in the development and refinement of apps for customers to better manage their energy consumption. She is passionate about using her business and analytical skills to contribute to positive environmental outcomes and is delighted to be involved with the work of the Wildcare Grants Assessment Committee.

Leslie Frost

Leslie began working for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service in 1984, doing two seasons as a summer ranger at Cradle Mountain, then one year as the WHA Interpretation Officer and then 18 years as a professional Scientific/Planning Officer. She wrote the first statutory management plans for Freycinet National Park, Mt Field National Park, the Peter Murrell Reserve, among others. Leslie has made many trips to Macquarie Island and the Australian Antarctic since 1989. She was also involved in establishing the Tasmanian Trail. After preparing the Macquarie Island WHA/Nature Reserve Management Plan, Leslie joined the Australian Antarctic Division in 2004 as an environmental policy officer before becoming the Environmental Manager for all Australian Antarctic operations until 2014.

Leslie has a Master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Tasmania and an Honours in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado and undertook the AICD Company Director’s course in 2016. She is currently the President of the Howden Progress Association, Vice President of the Kingston Tennis Club and occasionally volunteers as a guide at the Mawson’s Huts Museum. She has been a wildlife carer for about 30 years and continues a lifelong love of nature conservation through her participation on the Wildcare Grants Assessment Committee for the last three years.

Andrew Topfer

Andrew Topfer is a lawyer by trade and has a background in cultural heritage, land use and property matters.

Andrew has spent several years working with Traditional Owners in the Kimberley, WA as a lawyer and project officer assisting with a range of native title and cultural heritage issues.

On returning home to lutruwita, Andrew became an active member of Wildcare Deslacs who help manage the reserves around Clifton Beach.

Andrew has recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Protected Area Planning at the University of Tasmania.

Lola Cowle

Lola is the Manager of the Tasmanian Community Fund – a place-based funder with a focus on supporting community-led solutions to removing barriers to learning and increasing community capacity to lead local solutions. Lola is a Board member of Community Transport Services Tasmania and a member of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s Strengthening Regional Communities Program Advisory Committee.

Lola has a work and volunteer background in the youth, environment and social services sectors and is committed to supporting the communities to thrive.

Peter Williams 

Phil Watson

Phil brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and networks in coastal planning and management under a changing climate to the organising Committee. This is based on his 40-year background in teaching, local government and coast community engagement.

As a long-standing Natural Resource Management professional Phil is fascinated by the diversity of connections between wildlife and the landscapes they inhabit. His career has provided fantastic opportunities to experience many natural places both in Australia and worldwide, especially USA and UK where he experienced an inspiring insight into park management and interpretation thanks to his Churchill Fellowship. The Fellowship also enabled him to connect with the many passionate people at an international level who also cherish and care for the natural environment. He continues to be intimately involved in the care and management of natural places across Tasmania, utilising his reservoir of knowledge and experience acquired from decades of Natural Resource strategic planning and management in Clarence City Council, tertiary college lecturing in Natural Resource Management (NRM) and his revealing Churchill Fellowship. As Council’s NRM planner, he has successfully developed and implemented an extensive series of new natural area strategies and management plans. His passion for the local environment is to be respected, with a deeply held fascination for the many species and their habitats that thrive in Clarence and elsewhere in Tasmania. He has written and published a large and absorbing portfolio of articles focussing on ‘People Plants’ aimed at creating an awareness of the values of Tasmania’s native flora and fauna. His involvement in community Landcare activities covers decades; his enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge of the environment is infectious and was recognised by being presented with the Individual Tasmanian Landcare Award and Citizenship of the Year award. When not enjoying his bike riding, kayaking the wild coastlines, rowing on the river Derwent or tramping through Australia’s bush, he can be found soaking up the view at Mt Rumney with both his family and the many furry and feathered friends.