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; Chief Science Adviser, Environment Australia, and Supervising Scientist, Alligator Rivers Region (1997 – 99) and Chief Executive, Australian Nature Conservation Agency (including the statutory appointment of Director National Parks and Wildlife Service) (1990 -1997).
Peter was a Joint Recipient, with the 6-member Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme, for the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord 2001 and 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.
Among a range of organisations to which Peter has been appointed are: Chair, Pew Whales Commission, (2009); Member, Screening Committee of the Cosmos Prize, Japan. (2003-2004); Trustee, Parks Forum (2003 – 2014); Commissioner, Parks & Wildlife Commission, Northern Territory (1997-99); Chair, Inter-governmental Coordinating Council for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme (1995-98); Commissioner, Independent World Commission on the Oceans (1995-98); Chairman, International Whaling Commission (1995-1997; Vice Chair 1992 – 1994) and Member, Australian National Commission for UNESCO (1993-1999).
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. Not long afterwards, David began growing a range of vegetable crops in rotation with cane. He also became actively involved with a range of vegetable industry groups where he learned about agripolitics, the business side of farming, and the fact that “there was a lot more to it than just growing and selling”.
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 the largest chilli company in Australia and is an internationally renowned leader in the food manufacturing industry. As the company’s managing director, David continues to draw on his experience in small crops, his knowledge as a qualified mechanical engineer as well as his passion for innovation to deliver fresh chilli nationally and aseptic purees throughout the world. The company is constantly innovating, trying to control as much of the supply chain as possible and focusing on value-adding instead of volume.
The company’s success is built on its vision of “ foreseeing opportunities, building successful businesses, continually challenging how we can improve ourselves and the world around us”.
Costa Georgiadis has been the host of Gardening Australia, the ABC’s iconic gardening show, since 2012, when he became only the third host in 23 years. Previously, he was the host and co-creator of Costa’s Garden Odyssey for SBS television where he first caught the attention of the nation, sharing his knowledge and passions with one and all.
Costa is a landscape architect who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people – he knows how to bring out the best in both of them, and takes great pleasure in bringing them together. He believes in embracing and celebrating Mother Nature’s cycles and seasons and nurturing her balance, beauty and bounty organically. His holistic approach is all about gardening the soil and the soul.
Costa’s charm, charisma and passion make him a particularly appealing public speaker who has a gift for making his important messages engaging and highly entertaining.
Costa is an eco-visionary who is always focused on the big picture. For Costa, soil and water are central to absolutely everything and their availability and sustainability is of the utmost global importance. Costa is particularly fervent about the preciousness of water and the pertinence of its management. He can deconstruct any landscape – analysing climate, aspect, geography, water flow and soil structure to create holistic, sustainable, productive and pleasurable garden and landscape solutions.
Food and Food Security are two areas where Costa connects his skills with landscape design to the very future our cities. He is involved with 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, Costa is actively involved with delivering this message to the broader community. His work with primary schools, high schools, TAFE Colleges and Universities, Industry Groups and Community organisations reflects his ability to take the message of a permanent self-sustaining culture, and give it traction to any audience.
As Costa Georgiadis continues his journey as Gardening Australia’s much-loved host, he continues to nurture the plants and people of 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 the Global Vice President, CFO, and Treasurer.
Dick and his Australian wife, Kim, 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 in the area. 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 a number of 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.
Sheila is the CEO of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) and Chair of the Great Sandy Biosphere Management Group.
Sheila built a successful career in the corporate world, heading up an internet-based business before taking on agricultural and NRM leadership roles in Western Australia and Queensland. She is passionate about the Burnett Mary region as a “wonderfully productive region on the edge of one of the world’s natural wonders” and our community coming together in collaboration to protect our natural assets and resources.
He 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.
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. Mike 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.
Ben Artup is Council’s Executive Director of Strategic Projects and Economic Development with over 20 years of experience in economic development and commercial advisory, in roles spanning the private, public and not for profit sector.
Ben is a qualified economist and will provide an overview of the region’s economy, and recent joint grant application under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program titled, Reducing Urban Glow in Bundaberg: An open data approach to sea turtle conservation.
Rowan Foley is the general manager of the Aboriginal Carbon Fund. The vision of the Aboriginal Carbon Fund is to nurture and build a sustainable Aboriginal carbon industry. In doing this, the fund’s aim is to build wealth for Traditional Owners with social, cultural environmental and economic core-benefits through the ethical trade of carbon credits with Corporate Australia, government agencies and international bodies.
Rowan began his career as a ranger at Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park shortly after its hand-back Traditional Owners in 1989. Rowan later returned with his family to once again live at Mutitjulu, this time as the Park Manager. Working with the Board and park staff, Rowan’s team successfully developed the $21m sunrise area, established the Mala (Hare Wallaby) paddock and introduced the summer seasonal closure of the climb of Uluru.
In between time at Uluru, Rowan worked for the Kimberley Land Council as their first Land Management Officer where he negotiated the first Indigenous Protected Area at Paruku (Lake Gregory) in WA and with a National Heritage Trust Co-ordinator established their Land and Sea Management Unit.
As the Carbon Fund Initiative was being developed in 2010-11, Rowan worked with a dedicated team of people to ensure Indigenous interests were acknowledged and supported through the establishment of the $22m Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund..
Rowan comes from the Wondunna clan of the Badtjala people, Traditional Owners of Fraser Island (K’gari) in Queensland and lives in Alice Springs.
Tanzi was born and raised in the Mary River catchment and has a strong commitment to ensuring that rivers and catchments feature in our natural resource management decision making. She has a comprehensive education and twenty years of experience working in a diverse range of natural resource management related fields and a range of different industries.
Tanzi currently works for the Mary River Catchment Coordination Committee and is a founding executive member of the Greater Mary Association Inc. Before focusing on the catchment management field. Tanzi’s experience includes work and research in the community development and environment field in Vietnam, work as an environmental engineer at the Casino Abattoir and Tannery in Northern NSW and operation and research experimentation on pilot scale sewage treatment plants in Sydney. Combined with spending her formative years on a beef cattle property in the Mary River catchment, this experience has provided Tanzi with an appreciation of the challenges and opportunities of managing our natural resources to maintain ecosystem health and sustainable agricultural production.
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 including pasteurization and IQF (individually quick frozen) in a variety of sizes, ranging from 500gram pouches to 500kg bulk bins. The diverse multi-functional plant layout and design provide capacity to produce more than 4000 tonnes of quality product annually.
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.
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. He has presented at high profile conferences including the Global Carbon Expo and annual UNFCCC climate talks, as well as at regional events such as the annual Carbon Market Institute and New Zealand Carbon Expo.
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. He is also adding a Masters in Astronomy to his existing degrees in Anthropology and International Relations.
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.