Park Ambassadors

Park Ambassadors are people who love our WA Parks and support the principles of the WA Parks Foundation in terms of

  • promoting a love for Western Australia’s Parks
  • inspiring people to appreciate our parks for their uniqueness, and to want to visit and enjoy them, and
  • increasing community pride in our parks.

Meet our Park Ambassadors

Pat Barblett AM

Pat Barblett
Pat is a leader in the field of conservation and protection of Western Australia’s unique environment. She was a member of the Conservation Commission for 17 years and Chair in the last three years of her term and a member of the Rottnest Authority for 16 years, and Chair for 3 years. She was instrumental in setting up the environmental ecotourism, interpretative and educational programs on the island. Pat was founder of FACET, Forum Advocating Cultural and Ecotourism, a community based organisation whose aim is to inspire and promote responsible tourism associated with Western Australia’s cultural and natural heritage. Pat was awarded the Order of Australia in 2004 for her contribution to tourism and the environment.
Why do I love WA Parks? “I have had a love affair with Parks for the last 40 years. The Parks Foundation will help others to love and visit our Parks, build the profile of Parks, and build a strong support base within the community.”

Professor Lyn Beazley AO

Professor Lyn Beazley AO
As Western Australia’s Chief Scientist from 2006 to 2013, Lyn advised governments on science and innovation, worked closely with industry and was a science ambassador in Australia and internationally. She was also named WA Australian of the Year for 2015, is a renowned neuroscientist, a member of several boards and even has a sea sponge named after her Manihinea lynbeazleyae!
Why do I love WA Parks? “I think every young person is curious about the world around them. Our Parks give them the chance to explore, to make discoveries for themselves and to appreciate the natural world. That is a great thing and it is just one of the reasons why I think our Parks are so precious and why we must help them to flourish.”

June Butcher AM

June Butcher AM
Founder of Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Member of the Order of Australia for services to wildlife, Senior West Australian of the Year in 2010, recipient of the Seventy Medal. Passionate advocate and educator about wildlife and conservation, leader in captive breeding of endangered mammals and supporter of the Western Shield fauna recovery program.
Why do I love WA Parks? “Parks are essential to our wellbeing as humans. We need the interaction with animals, plants and places that can renew our energy and our spirit. My love of animals led me to establish Kanyana and we now have a 16-acre site where our 300 amazing volunteers give sick, injured and orphaned native animals a second chance. Our Parks system in WA is vital to the long term survival of our rare and unique wildlife and Kanyana is honoured to play its part by caring, conserving and communicating.”

Hon Fred Chaney AO

Fred Chaney AO

Hon Fred Chaney AO was a member of Federal Parliament for 16 years and from 1978 to 1980, was the Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and was announced as Senior Australian of the Year in 2014. He was the founding chair of Reconciliation Australia, is the former Deputy President of the Australian Native Title Tribunal, Chair of Desert Knowledge Australia and was instrumental in establishing the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia and the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation

Why do I love WA Parks?

“Parks should be enjoyed by all of us. They are wonderful spaces that are good for our health, our relationships and our wellbeing. Successful management of our Parks involves a cooperative approach between Indigenous people and government with the not-for-profit and private sectors.”


Professor Ross Dowling OAM

ross dowling

Professor Dowling is Foundation Professor of Tourism in the School of Business & Law at Edith Cowan University. He has a strong interest in conservation, parks and tourism and is a member of the WA Conservation & Parks Commission. He is also a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas and an advisor to UNESCO Global Geoparks. In New Zealand he was a foundation staff member of the Ministry for the Environment and he has been awarded an NZ Conservation Council Citation for his contributions to conservation education.

Statement of support

Western Australia is blessed by its outstanding natural diversity. However, with such an enormous range of plants, animals and landforms encompassed by the parks in our huge state, it is paramount that collectively we work together to conserve these special places for the wellbeing of the environment and the enjoyment of people. Thus I am proud to be an Ambassador of the WA Parks Foundation working towards their conservation whilst providing even greater connection between parks and people.


Kim Eckert

KIM ECKERT
Kim is the CEO for Kalgoorlie-Boulder Urban Landcare Group. She moved to Kalgoorlie-Boulder nine years ago and her passion is her community, the future of her community, raising awareness and education on all things to do with the environment. This includes managing a native plant nursery, creating an Eco and Cultural Education Centre, water wise projects, clean-up days, tree planting, recycling and together with her staff and the council, maintaining Karlkurla Bushland Park. Kim is also the Vice Chairperson for the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Community Garden, sits on the Board for Rangelands Natural Resource Management Group, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Visitor Centre, is the Chairperson for Kalgoorlie-Boulder Volunteer Centre, a committee member for the Palace Theatre Recreation Centre, Goldfields Naturalists’ Club, Kalgoorlie-Boulder Lotteries House and is an associate member of the Goldfields Nullarbor Rangelands Biosecurity Association.
Why do I love WA Parks? “Connecting people to parks and the natural environment is the most enjoyable aspect of my work. Educating people at our native nursery (located within our park) and teaching people about our native bush and connecting them to our country in consultation with Aboriginal guides is truly rewarding. I am proud to be a Park Ambassador, helping to raise awareness across Western Australia on why it is important for us to connect to our natural and diverse environment, and to ensure future generations continue this important legacy."

David Flanagan

DAVID FLANAGAN
David Flanagan has worked in the resources sector for 25 years and achieved recognition for several corporate and community achievements. David is currently a Director of Northern Star Resources Ltd, Chairman of Metals of Africa Ltd and Chancellor of Murdoch University. He is Patron of ManyRivers Microfinance, Kalparrin and the Bunbury Museum Foundation. David was awarded Western Australian of the Year and Business Leader of the Year in 2014, an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2013, the Governors Award for Giving in 2011, an EY Australian Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2010 as well as the WA Business News First Among Equals in 2009.  During his time as Managing Director at Atlas Iron it was also recognised with Restructuring Deal of the Year in 2016 and Digger of the Year 2009.
Why do I love WA Parks? "I just love the bush, the peace and sense of connecting with nature. Something really good happens when you do it. It just helps me deal with whatever is on my plate.  Preserving and promoting access our parks is such a great initiative for our community"

Sophia Forrest

Sophia Forrest
Sophia Forrest is one of Australia’s most exciting new performers. Sophia’s first acting experience was in the Russell Crowe directed, The Water Diviner. Sophia went on to train at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) graduating in 2016. There she performed in various productions including Les Liaisons Dangereuses which toured to Hong Kong and Coriolanus which toured to the Hydra Festival in Greece. Sophia will next appear in the fourth season of LOVE CHILD on Channel Nine and as the lead in the Black Swan State Theatre Company’s production of Let the Right One In in late 2017.
Why do I love WA Parks?
I have always loved our West Australian Parks, having grown up around them. From camping in Karijini to swimming in the Serpentine falls, the time spent in the beautiful open air was at the centre of my childhood. Western Australia is fortunate in having such diversity in its landscape, plants and wildlife. I am proud to be an Ambassador of the WA Parks Foundation to protect and honour these parks so one day my children can enjoy them as I have.

Nat Fyfe

nat fyfe
Nat Fyfe is a well-respected Australian Rules Footballer playing with Fremantle Football Club. In 2015, he was named the recipient of the AFL's most prestigious individual honour, the Brownlow Medal, after being judged the fairest and best player of the 2015 season.
Why do I love WA Parks?
Growing up in the Great Southern fast-tracked my understanding of the important relationship between people and country. We are very fortunate to have some of the best and largest Parks here in WA, and I'm keen to do my part to ensure our Parks can be enjoyed by all for many years to come.

Shaun Hardcastle

shaun hardcastle

Shaun Hardcastle is a corporate lawyer who has been practising law in Western Australia for over 10 years. He currently sits on a number of boards (both public listed companies and not-for-profits). .

Why do I love WA Parks?

Shaun strongly believes that WA Parks should be a source of pride for all Western Australians and his aim is to assist in the long term preservation of WA’s Parks and their conservation values. Shaun has a keen interest in the outdoors and believes that the WA Parks Foundation is a fantastic initiative for all West Australians that will help ensure that our national parks are protected and enjoyed both now and in the future.


Dr Tom Hatton PSM

Tom Hatton

Dr Tom Hatton PSM has enjoyed a distinguished science career, leading national CSIRO programs in water, marine and energy research. He is Chairman of the WA Environmental Protection Authority, and has previously chaired the WA Marine Parks and Reserves Authority and served on the WA Conservation Commission. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia.

Why do I love WA Parks?

I am honoured to serve as an Ambassador for the WA Parks Foundation, in doing so help bring more West Australians closer to the our rich and unique natural and cultural heritage.


Janet Holmes a Court AC

Janet Holmes a Court AC

Janet Holmes à Court is owner of the Janet Holmes à Court Collection. She is Chairman of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra. She is a Board Member of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM), the Australian Major Performing Arts Group (AMPAG), the Chamber of Arts and Culture WA (CACWA), the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC), the Australian Institute of Architects Foundation and the New York Philharmonic International Advisory Board, and also a member of the Centenary Trust for Women Board of Advisors at the University of Western Australia and State Buildings Advisory Board, Western Australia.

Why do I love WA Parks?

"My love for Parks dates back to my childhood. I was lucky enough to live close to John Forrest National Park and have the wonderful memories of exploring and playing in the bush. Parks have always been an important part of my life."


Professor Steve Hopper AC

Professor Steve Hopper

Steve Hopper has been recognised as a global science leader in the field of plant conservation biology, particularly in the delivery of world class research programs and contributing to the conservation of endangered species and ecosystems. He was the first non-British person to become the Director of the prestigious Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2006-2012). Prior to this he served as Director and then CEO of the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority encompassing Kings Park (1992-2004). He is currently Professor of Biodiversity at The University of Western Australia.

Why do I love WA Parks?

“Western Australia's parks and reserves contain a rich diversity of plants, animals and other organisms which is of global significance. As today's custodians, we all have responsibilities to care for this abundant heritage. The Western Australian Parks Foundation is an important step towards achieving due recognition and broad community support for the State's incomparable biodiversity, landscapes and waters."


Ezra Jacobs-Smith

Ezra Jacobs-Smith
Ezra is a Nyoongar man with English and Irish heritage. He is an environmental engineer who specialised in terrestrial water resources and environmental and social sustainability. He is passionate about preserving Indigenous culture and the social and environmental connections between Indigenous Traditional Landowners and their country. His goal for the future is to develop economic opportunities for Indigenous people that also preserve and enhance the social and environmental aspects of culture.
Why do I love WA Parks? "As a Nyoongar man living in a capital city parks are extremely important because they provide me with an invaluable connection to my culture. They protect and preserve for future generations our sacred sites and important places that tell the story of one of the oldest continuing cultures in the world. They are sources of food, water, medicine, cultural resources and materials. I regularly visit parks like Walyunga National Park and John Forrest National Park with my family to learn and practice culture and continuing this tradition fills me with an enormous sense of pride. Through my studies I also learned what science has allowed us to discover about the environment, how it functions and how we depend on it. Parks are extremely important because they provide habitats for our native flora and fauna and sustain many environmental functions that are crucial to our survival, including providing us with clean drinking water and clean air."

Victoria Laurie

victoria laurie

Victoria Laurie is an award-winning journalist and author of two books, The Kimberley: Australia’s Last Great Wilderness and The Southwest: Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspot

Statement of support

“The key to handing on our bushland for safekeeping is with children. Step them out into our parks, invite them to savour their ‘big backyard’, and we’ve secured the species-rich wilderness in our state.”


Peter and Vicki Long

Vicki & Peter Long
Peter and Vicki Long have lived in the Pilbara region of Western Australia since 1985, when they started their own environmental and engineering consultancy in the coastal town of Karratha. Peter is currently the Mayor of the City of Karratha and brings to that role a sound knowledge of the environment having worked in an environmental management capacity on projects across the north-west. Vicki is a passionate botanist and ecologist with 32 years’ experience working throughout the northern half of WA. She continues to donate much of her time and knowledge to environmental agencies in an effort to better protect parks and reserves. She works with Aboriginal people from Broome to Onslow, recording traditional knowledge about the use of plants. Her book “Along the Burrup” is an effort to share the beauty of the flora of the Burrup Peninsula – Murujuga Nature Reserve, a place close to her heart.
Why do we love WA Parks?
The Pilbara is a unique, breathtakingly beautiful environment and sadly all but 6% of it is under some type of mining lease. We love our Parks because they offer all people a snapshot of this ancient, remote, rugged, but remarkably vulnerable landscape. Our Parks give people the opportunity to learn how flora and fauna in this arid environment survive extremes in temperature, erratic rainfall and cyclonic winds. Most of all, we love how the majesty of the area confronts the mere “humanness” of us all and makes us realise just how commanding Nature is, how important it is to us as humans and how much we need to respect it.

Griffin Longley

Griffin Longley
Griffin Longley is an award winning journalist, a former weekly columnist with The West Australian, the CEO of Nature Play WA and co-founder of a program for at-risk kids in Midland, Fremantle/Cockburn, and Mandurah, called Night Hoops.
Why do I love WA Parks? “Parks sit right at the heart of children playing outdoors. We know when kids are outside playing more, it not only benefits their health, but their mental health hugely as well as their creativity and capacity to learn. Play is the ultimate brain food and kid s thrive on playing in our Parks.”

Eric McCrum OAM

Passionate bird lover, Eric is known for being able to imitate the call of almost any bird found in the Australian bush, tell the Latin name of any flower or plant and having a considerable knowledge of Noongar history. He is also the Treasurer of the Darling Range Branch WA Naturalists’ Club.

Why do I love WA Parks?

“Even as a kid, I was happier in the trees and swimming than spending time with school friends. Parks are everything. As soon as I noticed birds in the bush, I wanted to find out what they were doing and what their calls meant. Parks take me away somewhere very special.”


Richard McLellan

Richard McLellan

Richard is an avid enthusiast and advocate for the environment. He is the CEO of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, and former lead on sustainable development at WWF, the conservation organisation, and Editor-in-Chief of the Living Planet Report.

Why do I love WA Parks?

“We are so lucky in Western Australia to have some of our planet’s most spectacular and biologically diverse, natural places. Our Parks are absolutely essential not only for environmental reasons, but also for their importance in our identity, our culture and indeed our very survival.”


Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Nyoongar man. He has a Masters Degree and a bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Management. He currently works as the Aboriginal Engagement Officer for the City of Fremantle. He is a director on the board of South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council a member of Whadjuk Working Party and Wadjemup Aboriginal Reference Group.    
Why do I love WA Parks?
I love WA Parks for the serenity, and my family and I wish we could spend more time in them. Our parks are clean, bright, fresh places filled with unique plants and animals where they can be protected. I feel relaxed leaving the city and driving out into the bush.

Gary Muir

Gary Muir
Gary Muir is a sixth generation member of the Muir family whose ancestors helped first settle WA’s south west wilderness and Eucla region. Gary became one of the first Conservation Officers with the then newly formed Department of Conservation and Land Management and dedicated over a decade to the management of the forests, parks and reserves in WA. Gary then established WOW Wilderness as a leading EcoTourism operation in the heart of the Walpole Wilderness, personally taking thousands of people each year through the Walpole and Nornalup and Inlets Marine Park to WA’s first wilderness zone in the Walpole Nornalup National Park. As with the generations of Muir’s before him, he has a special appreciation and custodianship for the natural and cultural values of WA’s Parks.
Why do I Love WA Parks?
My home has always been in the wild and is humbling to recognise why I still have this home. It was through the stewardship of many unsung heroes in our past, so moved by WA’s uniqueness, beauty, biodiversity and long natural and cultural history, that they had a vision to influence others to conserve these wild places, that would ultimately lead to our WA Parks. WA’s Parks really are priceless, filled with so many jewels that lay hidden, safeguarded, yet endless ways to still explore and discover them again and again. To share these places, their stories with friends, to me, is the secret for enjoying life. This is why I love WA Parks. To see these areas really change people and build their own appreciation for our wild places. An influence that may lead to us to recognising we may have still more unprotected wild places to be respected and reserved.

Jane O’Malley

Jane O'Malley
With an inherent commitment to conservation, Jane has been instrumental in influencing development across the Peel Region so that it has been delivered with careful consideration of the fragile natural environment. Jane authored the City of Mandurah’s Bushland Protection Strategy. In recent years, Jane has led the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council (PHCC), as their CEO, to become Australia’s 55th recognised Natural Resource Management Region. Jane is at the helm of a team of committed PHCC professionals hell-bent on protecting our environment by delivering landscape scale restoration projects, advocating for policy changes and embedding greater appreciation of our natural environment as the basis of our regional and economic development.
Why do I love WA Parks?
WA Parks are magical! We are so lucky to have them and we should always encourage people to get out and explore them. Our parks are such an important part of the Western Australia lifestyle, and we need to embrace sharing them with our growing population. At the same time, we must also nurture and protect our WA Parks for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.

Robin Piesse

Robin Piesse
Robin Piesse is the Board Adviser, Strategy and Governance for the WA Parks Foundation. Robin has previously held senior leadership roles in Government and not for profit sectors, most recently as the Managing Director of the Paraplegic Benefit Fund of Australia.
Why do I love WA Parks?
I spent my childhood roaming the bush and developed a deep love and respect for our landscape and species that live within it. The bush is a special place for me, bringing a sense of peace and connection to land. Our parks are critical to preserving the diversity and beauty of this natural environment for current and future generations to experience and share.

Tracey Roberts JP

Tracey Roberts is the popularly-elected Mayor of the City of Wanneroo and an active member of the community and maintains a strong focus on economic development, lifestyle impact and choices for the 200,000 residents of the growing City of Wanneroo. Tracey has qualifications in Business Management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2011 she was one of the first recipients of the Diploma of Local Government.
Why do I love Parks? Yanchep National Park is a jewel in the Wanneroo crown; a truly beautiful place where visitors experience a strong sense of connection to nature, unique flora and wildlife. While listening to the engaging bird song and experiencing the unique aroma of the bush our parks evoke all the senses, connect us to Indigenous heritage and are integral to our feeling of community. They promote better public health, both physical and mental, and I strongly encourage their active and passive use by residents and visitors alike.

Verity Sebire

Verity is a Nyoongar woman with Western Aranda and Channel Islander heritage. She is passionate about parks, nature and wildlife - and the intrinsic connection they hold with Indigenous Traditional Landowners and Counrty. She is active in the community and reconciliation spaces, as a Director of Reconciliation Western Australia and Kaitijin Mia Mia Aboriginal Foundation. Verity has held a strong affinity with the nature it’s preservation since childhood.
Why do I love WA Parks?
I grew up in Pemberton, in the lower south-west of WA on a property centred between the Gloucester, Warren and Beedelup National Parks, so my love for WA’s parks is grounded in my childhood. I didn’t realise how unique my childhood was and how extraordinary our WA parks were until I moved to the city in my late teens. I soon realised just how integral parks like those are to the wellbeing of all people. I believe that the conservation of our WA parks is vital to maintaining Aboriginal peoples’ connection to Country, and indispensable to ensuring that future generations are able to learn and practice culture. I believe that the celebration, promotion and protection of WA parks is fundamental to future generations of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians learning, growing and healing together.

Jim Sharp

jim sharp
Jim is the Director General of Department of Parks and Wildlife. He has worked in conservation and land management for more than 40 years. Jim has extensive skills in engaging in partnerships with parks and conservation stakeholders and community interests.
Why do I love WA Parks? “Our Parks are a heritage for all to share and enjoy. They help define who we are as Western Australians. Rich visitor experiences in our Parks are essential to building a supportive, aware community which will ensure the value of our Parks are conserved for the future.”

Richard Simpson

Richard Simpson
Richard Simpson has a background in science but has worked in the finance and investment banking sectors for the past 30 years. He has advised corporates and governments around the world in a range of sectors from mining, oil and gas, infrastructure, tourism and agriculture. Since returning to Perth from London, Sydney and Melbourne, Richard led the management buyout of Hartleys Limited in 2003 and was the inaugural Chairman and Managing Director of the wealth management and corporate advisory firm. He is currently a director of Hartleys Limited, Chairman of Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority (covering Kings Park and Bold Park) (since 2002) and member of the State Emergency Management Committee (since 2015).
Why do I love WA Parks? “Our parks provide me and many others a vital connection to the natural environment. They help teach us to value our unique biodiversity and beautiful landscapes, provide a sanctuary from an increasingly busy life and allow us to breathe fresh air and be inspired.”

Eva Skira

eva skira
Eva has an MBA with Distinction from IMD International (Geneva), and is a former career executive in banking and finance. Her Board roles include Chairman of the Water Corporation, Chairman of Trustees of St John of God Health Care and Director of RCR Tomlinson Ltd. She has also served as Chairman of the Forest Products Commission and of Westscheme, and on a number of other Boards including Metrobus (formerly Transperth), MDA National Insurance, Doric Construction Group and as Deputy Chancellor of Murdoch University.
Why do I love WA Parks? "Having grown up in Tasmania where national parks were such an important part of our backyard, I am passionate about bringing people and parks together and making them part of our 'forever' sustainable State."
 

Dr Richard Walley OAM

Dr Richard Walley OAM

Richard is a Nyoongar man, one of Australia's leading Aboriginal performers, musicians and writers and has performed around the world. He has been a campaigner for social justice for Indigenous Australians from a young age. At 23 Dr Richard Walley OAM chaired the Aboriginal Advisory Board. He is Director of Aboriginal Productions and Promotions.

Why do I love WA Parks?

“Parks connect people, places, plants and animals. Parks are medicine, our bush food. Our family lived in the bush when I was younger. And I think that experience was fantastic and set me up for the rest of my life in terms of how you present yourself to the world.”


Melanie Wilshin

Melanie Wilshin
Melanie Wilshin is the General Manager for the WA Parks Foundation. Melanie’s previous leadership roles include Executive Management with Youth Focus, State Manager at Ticketek, Senior Manager at Mellen Events and her early career included management roles in Association Management and Conference industries in London and Vancouver.
Why do I love WA Parks?
It’s important to me to maintain a healthy balance in life which is why I value every opportunity to soak up the tranquillity and beauty of our parklands.  Western Australia is renowned for the diversity of its flora and fauna and it is paramount we ensure the heritage of our unique parklands is protected and enriched for all Western Australians to enjoy for generations to come.  

Tim Winton

Tim Winton
Tim Winton is Australia's most celebrated writer. His work has been translated into 28 languages. Long active in the environmental movement, he is the patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Trust for Australian Native Animals. He played a prominent public role in advocating for the system of marine national parks the nation now enjoys. Photo: Hank Kordas  
Why do I love WA Parks?
The natural world is vital to our physical and mental wellbeing. National Parks, therefore, are not a luxury. Native landscapes and ecosystems need respite and relief and so do we. Our natural heritage is something to celebrate and honour, study and protect, and National Parks provide crucial opportunities in all these endeavours, on land and in our seas.  

Mike Wood

Mike Wood
Mike Wood is the Managing Director of Peregrine Travel Centre Perth and founding Chair of the Bibbulmun Track Foundation since 1996. Mike completed an end-to-end walk of the Bibbulmun Track in 2008 and has trekked extensively overseas, travelling to every continent. Mike’s outdoor skills include bushwalking, both white water and sea kayaking, rock climbing and abseiling. Mike has led treks and expeditions for 36 years and feels it’s important to visit as many of the world’s long distance trails as possible to bring back knowledge to WA. Prior to joining Peregrine, Mike owned and operated the Mountain Designs adventure stores across the State.
Why do I love WA Parks? I am a huge fan of national parks because I believe it is imperative that there are some wild places left on the planet where we can go to rejuvenate and immerse ourselves in the wilderness. And for sake of the eco-system that doesn’t need humans to keep interfering in its workings.