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Our Staff

Darren Kindleysides, Director (Brisbane)

Darren Kindleysides AMCS DirectorDarren Kindleysides has worked at AMCS since 2009 on a variety of issues including marine protected area establishment, threatened species conservation, sustainable fisheries management and mitigating the environmental impacts of marine industries, coastal development and shipping.

Darren has in-depth experience, knowledge and expertise in marine conservation having worked in this field for almost 20 years both in Australia and overseas. He has overseen the development and implementation of marine conservation programs, projects and campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the South Pacific and Europe, leading initiatives to safeguard Coral Sea reefs, Antarctic whales, Pacific turtles, Atlantic seabirds and North Sea cod.

 

FISHERIES AND SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD

Tooni Mahto, Senior Marine Campaigner (Victoria) 

Tooni Mahto, Marine CampaignerTooni's love of the sea began by causing havoc in rock pools as a child around the British coastline. Following gap year underwater adventures in Thailand and East Africa, she undertook a degree in Marine Biology, worked as a diving instructor in South Africa and led scientific expeditions in Mozambique and Malawi. She has worked in television in various capacities, including an underwater camera operator and researcher at the BBC's Natural History Unit.

While undertaking a Masters in Oceanography, Tooni was one of the presenters on the BBC series 'Oceans', where she was lucky enough to dive in locations from the Arctic to the tropics. Tooni is never happier than when underwater, although surfing is currently vying for top sea-based activity.

Tooni has worked in marine conservation in both an educational and campaign capacity in the UK and abroad, including filming a series about the underwater wonders of British seas.

 

MARINE PARKS

Adele Pedder, Marine Campaign Manager (NT)

Adele Peder Marine Parks Manager

Having grown up aboard boats Adele has been very fortunate to experience the power and beauty of our seas up close and personal. She did school by correspondence from the nav table, explored deserted islands barefoot, swam in wide open seas and on coral fringed islands, sailed silently under star filled skies, and also been forced to return to port due to poor weather on more than one occasion.

Adele wishes that everyone could see what she has as she's sure that there'd be many like her dedicating their lives to protecting the wonders of our unque coasts and seas.

Adele did her undergraduate studies in Environmental Sciences at James Cook University in Townsville. Her passion for affecting change led her to a Masters in Politics and eventually to be Chief of Staff with a well respected Greens MP in the Victorian Parliament.

Adele is returning to AMCS after a 10 year absence from the organisation. Previously she was the AMCS NT Marine Campaigner. She is very happy to be back with what she says is Australia's great marine conservation organisation - AMCS.

Jimmy Cordwell, Marine Campaigner (Brisbane)

Adrian Meder Marine CampaignerJimmy studied Environmental Conservation and has since worked in marine education and advocacy roles around the country.

There's two major things Jimmy learnt from his travels. Firstly, how endlessly amazing and inspiring our natural world is, and that in using nature's beauty we can inspire an increase to our knowledge of the world around us, building a stronger appreciation for it. Secondly, that everyone can make positive changes in their life to make a difference to our world. Whatever our origins, everyone has the choice to take the little steps that lead to huge positive changes around them.

Every day he wakes with the coast on his mind, be it camping out on beaches and diving in sub-tropical Queensland, or trawling through pages laced with natural photography and inspiring words. Jimmy hopes to inspire everyone and anyone to be a little wiser about what’s great about our world: the beauty around us, and everything in it that really worth protecting.

You can learn more about Jimmy on his Instagram or at jimmynails.net

Sharnie Connell, Sydney Marine Campaigner  

Sharnie ConnellSharnie Connell has joined us part time as our dedicated Sydney Marine Park Campaigner in a joint role between Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Nature Conservation Council NSW. She joins us to champion our campaign for a Marine Park for Sydney – a beautiful region in which less than 1% of our waters are protected.

Sharnie has a background in Science majoring in Psychology, she is fascinated by animal / human behaviour and interaction and how we can engage people in the protection of the marine environment.

Sharnie is passionate about the ocean and spends much of her time underwater. She is a qualified divemaster and regular long distance ocean swimmer. She brings a wealth of knowledge of experience previously working on the National No Shark Cull campaign. She has a great deal of hands on experience with working directly to rehabilitate sick and injured marine life and educating others about the importance of marine protection at her time at SEALIFE Sanctuary.

Opal Sternbaum, Keep Top End Coasts Healthy Community Campaigner (Darwin)

Opal SternbaumOpal spent her early years on boats, so she learnt to use a CB radio before she could use a phone. For her first swimming lesson she jumped overboard (luckily in a life jacket!) for a dip with a pack of dolphins. Having grown up on the Sunshine Coast, she naturally went on to dabble in scuba-diving, surfing, swimming, and anything involving the sea.

When she realised that her marine backyard was under threat, Opal dedicated several years to defending the Great Barrier Reef and other areas of QLD, including working with Greenpeace, GetUp!, and Aust Youth Climate Coalition. Opal now spends her weekends out on the water, introducing young adults to the sailing world and is completing a Bachelor of Education degree at Charles Darwin University.

Opal is passionate about protecting the Top End’s marine environment, and has joined AMCS to do exactly that.

GREAT BARRIER REEF

Imogen Zethoven AO, Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director (Sydney)

Imogen Zethoven AOBefore joining AMCS, Imogen led a global shark conservation campaign for The Pew Charitable Trusts based in Washington DC. Imogen had previously led Pew’s Coral Sea initiative.

Before joining Pew in 2007, Imogen was in Berlin leading WWF’s global climate campaign, PowerSwitch! and prior to that, she was leading WWF’s Great Barrier Reef campaign. In recognition of her achievements on our Reef campaign, Imogen received the Fred M. Packard International Parks Merit Award at the World Conservation Congress in 2004, shared with the late Hon. Virginia Chadwick.

Imogen has led many campaigns in Australia including one to phase out broadscale native vegetation clearing. Imogen was director of the Queensland Conservation Council from 1995 to 2000. From 1992 to 1994 she was environment advisor to the leader of the Australian Democrats.

Imogen holds a bachelor’s degree with honours from the University of Victoria in New Zealand and a master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Adelaide. In 2006, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to conservation and the environment.

Dr Lissa Schindler, Great Barrier Reef Senior Campaigner (Brisbane)

Lissa SchindlerLissa is a marine ecologist who has worked in marine conservation both in Australia and overseas. She has spent time in the Philippines helping local communities manage their marine resources and also worked in the Galapagos Islands undertaking scientific surveys.

Lissa worked with AMCS back in 2005 and helped increase protection in Moreton Bay Marine Park from 1% to 16%.

Since then she has obtained a PhD, assessing the effectiveness of protected areas, and also worked for the Queensland government in environmental policy and natural resource management.

She is an avid diver and has dived around the globe but our Great Barrier Reef is still one of her favourite divespots.

David Cazzulino, Great Barrier Reef Community Campaigner (Cairns)

David Cazzulino

David was born and raised in Cairns. Growing up visiting the Great Barrier Reef with his family, David knows the unique beauty of our Reef and how much communities depend on healthy corals for their livelihood. David has dual degrees in Arts/Laws from the University of Queensland and has four years of community campaigning experience with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, most recently as the State Coordinator for Queensland.

David has been part of the fight to protect our Reef since 2013 when he first heard about plans to unlock the Galilee basin and industrialise our Reef. He has seen the power of people coming together to stop three mega coal port expansions and secure a ban on capital dredge spoil dumping in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. He is so excited to be working with Cairns locals to fight for our reef and stop Adani’s destructive coal project once and for all. When he’s not campaigning for the future of our Reef, David enjoys exploring local water holes and all things Harry Potter

Follow David on Twitter to see what he's up to in Cairns >>

Sabine Walther, Fight For Our Reef Community Organiser

Sabine WaltherSabine has always had a love for nature, spending every summer in and around creeks, lakes and rivers since childhood. She has dived beneath thundering waterfalls in Kakadu and swum in turquoise limestone pools in Semuc Champey, Guatemala. These powerful experiences give her the drive and determination to stand up for the environment, a passion she loves to share.

Sabine is a firm believer of people power. She knows that every individual’s effort to protect our natural world makes a difference and that together we have the power to create change and win campaigns. With her background in student, union and community organising she is really excited to build grassroots power for our Reef and oceans.

 

COMMUNICATIONS & Fundraising

Ingrid Neilson, Communications and Relationships Manager (Sydney)

Ingrid NeilsonIngrid has a long history with marine conservation and the environment sector in Australia. Since her early years, Ingrid has surveyed whales and sea birds on the eastern coastline. Ingrid worked on the South-east Queensland Forest Agreement on policy issues, community campaigning and conducting botanical surveys in South-east Queensland.

Ingrid has also worked in the sustainable energy sector and has management roles on other conservation organisations. She is dedicated to the protection of our precious natural environment, particularly our spectacular coasts and oceans.

Ingrid coordinates our communications, promotions and events, and helps out with fundraising to resource our campaigns. She also coordinates Turning the Tide, our supporters' magazine, and assists with various campaigns. As one of our longest standing staff members, Ingrid is shamelessly devoted to AMCS. 

In 2009 she was officially recognised as a Queensland Champion of Conservation. Since mid 2013 Ingrid has been based in Sydney, New South Wales, where she has become fixated with the resident blue gropers, Port Jackson sharks and albatross off the coast. 

Ingrid has been at AMCS for over a decade. She is the heart and soul of our organisation.

Jacinta McLennan, Fundraising Manager (Brisbane)

Jacinta McLennanA lover of nature and the outdoors, the environment and its conservation have always been Jacinta’s greatest passions. With a marketing degree from Brisbane’s QUT, Jacinta has worked in fundraising at not-for-profits in Australia and south-east Asia for seven years.

Jacinta describes working at AMCS and putting her fundraising skills toward raising the critical funds need to protect our oceans and the animals that call them home as a dream come true.

Shane Cucow, Senior Communications Strategist (Brisbane)

Shane CucowFrom a fishing family in WA's south west, Shane's earliest days in advocacy for our oceans involved campaigning with his own family about the need for sustainability in our fisheries. Since his first trips out on the family fishing boat, seeing dolphins and whales playing in the oceans off of Western Australia, he has always had a deep love for our oceans and the unique and stunning wildlife beneath the waves.

Shane has spent his life working with non-profits and social causes. After completing a Bachelor of Social Science, his early career was spent as a youth worker and a community advocate - supporting homeless young people, working in mentorship programs, and eventually working on nation-wide online mental health campaigns and in the development of new online services for young people. 
 
A self-confessed technology tragic, Shane has always been keenly interested in how new technologies and online tools can be leveraged to offer people real opportunities to make the world a better place.

Nadia Razzhigaeva, Digital Communications Officer (Brisbane)

Nadia RazzhigaevaIdentifying as an environmentalist since she was 11 years old, Nadia has always felt strongly about protecting our oceans, forests and wildlife, believing that we should live in harmony with the environment.

When she was 15, she went deep sea diving at the Great Barrier Reef and experienced firsthand the beauty and wonder of this World Heritage Site. This experience contributed to her motivation towards taking action on global warming and pollution. 

With a First Class Honours degree in Media Communications from UQ, Nadia has worked in digital marketing and communications for 6 years. Nadia loves working at AMCS because she can combine her skills and passions in a way that makes a difference for our environment every day.  

Felicity Shand, Direct Marketing Coordinator (Brisbane)

Felicity ShandFelicity Shand is a senior fundraiser with over 10 years fundraising experience. She believes it is her role to help passionate supporters connect with the cause to see their visions for the future become a reality.

Having held Senior Fundraising positions with RSPCA Queensland and Surf Life Saving Foundation - her new position at AMCS is a nice blend of animals and ocean, and ignites her passion for advocacy and changing the world for the better.

A true animal lover, Felicity is highly passionate about protecting our oceans for the amazing wildlife that depend our our deep blue.

 

Rebecca Hay, Digital Fundraising Officer (Brisbane)

Rebecca HayAfter moving to Australia at age eight, Rebecca has a unique appreciation for the diverse and remarkable marine environments of Australia. Rebecca has always had a passion for non-profit, activism and the power of social change.

Rebecca has volunteered at several charities since she was a teenager, and considers volunteering her number one hobby. She is currently completing her Bachelor of Mass Communications, and is incredibly excited to be building her non-profit career with AMCS and it’s amazing team.  

 

 

OPERATIONS

Kellie Ireland, Operations Manager (Brisbane)

Kellie Ireland Born in Townsville, Kellie displayed a marked enthusiasm for conservation and animal welfare from an early age. She studied Environmental Science at James Cook University and completed a thesis on Brush Turkey behaviour in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

She has worked as an environmental scientist and was RSPCA Qld’s Director of Education for 6 years, engaging communities across the Pacific with humane education and animal welfare programs. Her work in Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Palau ignited her passion for protecting the marine environment. 

Over the past 5 years Kellie honed her business management and community engagement skills as Executive Manager of Partnerships and Visitor Experience at State Library of Queensland. She forged innovative partnerships with organisations including Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Hubei Provincial Library and the School of Hard Knocks, and spear-headed a new approach to visitor engagement, resulting in a 99% client satisfaction rating.

Kellie also holds a degree in Creative Industries and is currently completing a Master of Education for Sustainability. She is delighted to be back “home” in the NFP arena and is keen to streamline AMCS operations to support our vital campaigns.

Julie Labzin, Supporter Coordinator (Brisbane)

julie labzinAll her life Julie has been swimming and surfing up and down Australia's east coast. She grew up in Brisbane, taking time out every weekend to soak up the sunshine on the Gold Coast.

With a degree in Social Sciences, Julie had an extensive career in government before breaking into the wonderful world of marine conservation.

Although a Southport Yacht Club member for many years, she remains hopeless at sailing. Julie learns Russian in her spare time and loves to travel to Europe and the USA to visit her daughters.

Julie is a coffee addict, can't pass up an invitation out to breakfast and in her other working life is a social media guru in Brisbane's restaurant scene.

Tina Dalby, Finance Officer (North Queensland)

Tina Dalby, AMCS Finance OfficerTina Dalby keeps the finances of AMCS in ship shape, and has worked as Finance Officer for over a decade. Tina is a QuickBooks Professional Partner and is currently completing her Diploma in Accounting with the NIA.

Tina has always loved Australia's oceans since her father taught her an appreciation for boats and boating, to be able to fish and ski at a very early age. Tina takes every opportunity to get out on the water with her husband and kids to explore our beautiful big blue backyard.

 

Maryanne Major, Database Officer (Sydney)

Maryanne Major Maryanne has worked for environmental and animal welfare organisations for many years. Growing up in bushland by the beaches of Sydney, Maryanne has developed a deep respect and love for nature and has since dedicated her career to the welfare and conservation of wildlife and their habitats. The beach has been her haven, spending much of her younger years beach sprinting, and surf life saving in the summer months. While living on the coast of New Zealand she was privileged to come up close to the beautiful marine life. After seeing the effects of the conservation efforts from local beach cleanups and established marine parks she was inspired to help make a difference after returning home. Maryanne has been working with databases within the charity sector for 7 years and is excited to be AMCS’ ‘data wrangler’.

 

Tribute to Felicity Wishart

Felicity Wishart, Great Barrier Reef Campaign Manager Vale Felicity Wishart

The Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Australian environmental movement is in mourning over the sudden and unexpected loss of Felicity ‘Flic’ Wishart who passed away in her sleep on 20 July 2015, aged 50.

Flic was one of Australia’s leading conservationists and was a great and inspiring champion for the planet, the cause she dedicated her life to.

For thirty years Flic played a fundamental role in many of the key environmental campaigns in Australia.

Flic was a leader of seminal campaigns to protect the rainforests, to stop land clearing in Queensland, to confront the threat of climate change and national campaigns to protect the marine environment through the creation of a national network of marine protected areas and in her last, greatest and yet unfinished campaign, to protect our Great Barrier Reef.

She was a hugely influential force in the Australian environmental movement working at the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Queensland Conservation Council, The Wilderness Society and the Australian Marine Conservation Society to tremendous effect. She mentored and inspired many newer campaigners, especially up and coming women in the environment movement.

None worked harder, with as much grace and achieved as many results to protect our heritage. As a leader she combined great warmth and humility, with an ability to understand and fearlessly challenge powerful forces that threatened our heritage.

All Australians, whether they realise it or not, owe a debt of gratitude for her work. We are all beneficiaries of her life and work.

As campaign director of the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Fight for our Reef campaign she spearheaded the work that has led to a massive increase in protection for our Great Barrier Reef over the last three years.

She was a beloved mentor and guide, friend and confidant, inspiration and leader, mother and partner. Her intelligence, warmth, wisdom and energy are irreplaceable.

For someone with so much love and time for others it is now that we must continue her work to make Australia a better place for all.

Her legacy will endure. Her fight is our fight.