Our People

Nature Foundation is an apolitical and mainly voluntary organisation governed by a board of experienced conservationists, scientists and business and professional people.

Our Staff

AlexNankivell.jpgHugo Hopton – Chief Executive Officer

Before joining Nature Foundation in February 2016, Hugo's most recent role was Regional Manager at Natural Resources SAMDB based in Murray Bridge where he led delivery of the programs of both the SA Murray-Darling Basin NRM Board and DEWNR for the community and government. After completing a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) at the Australian National University, Hugo began his career as a forester in the South East and Fleurieu Peninsula, moving on to work as the manager for State Flora and revegetation program manager within Primary Industries SA. Throughout his career he has worked with and for communities and industries in land conservation, primary production, native vegetation management and water management. Hugo also has strong relationships with government departments within South Australia and the Commonwealth, and with local government and the NGO sector.

AlexNankivell.jpgAlex Nankivell – Science and Knowledge Program Manager

Alex has been with Nature Foundation since 2008 and adeptly handles both the strategic and operational sides of Nature Foundation business operations, from writing management plans to expertly overseeing their on-the-ground implementation. Alex has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Management and a Masters of Project Management.

NatalieStalenberg.jpgNatalie Stalenberg – Regional Conservation Programs Manager

Natalie has managed the Water For Nature Program for Nature Foundation since 2016 seeing it mature into a program with a strong emphasis on science and community. Natalie has built strategic relationships with all levels of government, coordinates operational water delivery issues, and enjoys working closely with community groups. She has a Bachelor of Environmental Management and a Masters in Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (Society and Environment). Natalie has over 16 years' experience working in natural resources management with experience both nationally and internationally in policy, community engagement, and project management.  

CarolineNefiodovas.jpgCaroline Nefiodovas – Offsets Program Manager

Caroline has 15 years’ experience in business development, marketing and project office roles and has worked closely with the private sector and all tiers of government. Along with strong customer service skills and experience, Caroline has studied Environmental Science and holds a Diploma in Project Management.

Liam-Crook-headshot-Copy.jpgLiam Crook – Offsets Program Coordinator

Liam is a technical specialist with over 10 years’ experience working on ecological and organisational and citywide decarbonisation projects. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons) in Grassland Ecology and a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Policy and Management.

claire-stephenson.pngClaire Stephenson – Program Manager Revitalising Private Conservation in SA

Claire has worked in the NRM industry for more than a decade, and prior to that for the Soil Conservation Board. Her expertise is specifically in collaborative stakeholder engagement, on environmental dilemmas and projects. Claire is deeply passionate about co-design and working with and for the community. Having completed the Governors Leadership Foundation program in 2019, Claire learnt lifelong skills in adaptive leadership, compassion, and deepened her understanding of social systems. Working in the NGO sector is a first for Claire and she’s excited by the opportunity.

PatrickMentzel.jpgPatrick Mentzel – Philanthropy Coordinator

Patrick leads grant opportunity liaison with corporate and philanthropic organisations. Patrick has a background in marketing, sales, event management, communications and fundraising in the not-for-profit sector. He has an affinity with the environment, having travelled extensively through Australia’s outback and to remote places in the world.

GeorgieFiedler.jpgGeorgie Fiedler – Finance & Corporate Manager

Georgie is CPA qualified and brings a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit accounting field as well as the commercial and government sectors. Georgie loves the outdoors, especially bushwalking and camping in South Australia’s national parks.

Katie-photo-(3).jpgKatie Perry – Youth Programs Coordinator

Katie comes to Nature Foundation with 20 years' experience working with a variety of language groups across SA in community engagement, health, events and education. Kids on Country will bring together Aboriginal young people, Elders and scientists/researchers, provide culturally appropriate practical conservation activities and support young people to get out on country to learn about preserving natural habitats, protecting nature, and keeping the planet green. Katie has a Cert IV in Training & Education, a Diploma in Narrative Approaches and a Cert IV in Community Services Work.

Gretta-photo.jpgGretta Koch –  Marketing & Communications Manager

Gretta has a background in professional writing and communication, and has worked as an editor, tutor, and lecturer across many different subject areas and environments.  Most recently she was a Communications Coordinator for a peak body, developing national communications and delivering integrated campaigns via events, social media, public relations, and promotions. Gretta has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Professional Writing & Communication, and a PhD in Cultural Studies. 

Rosemary_Argue-(2).jpgRosemary Argue  Communications Officer

Rosemary has a background in professional writing and communications, and has worked in various roles including at Super SA, Stormwater Industry Association, South Australian Research and Development Institute, the Blackwood Times, Australian Dance Vision and Rural Industries R&D Corporation. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Public Relations), an Advanced Diploma in Arts (Professional Writing) and a Bachelor of Science. She has a passion for the environment which includes bushwalking, bird watching and gardening with local native plants and is keen to combine her passion and skills at Nature Foundation.  

Anne Clark – Office Manager
Anne comes from a background of business and teaching including operating her own business for 12 years and running her own consultancy. She volunteers across a broad range of Australian conservation organisations working both within Australia and Internationally. She completed a Diploma of Sustainability in 2013 and commenced business and education sector training in implementing sustainable practices. Through her family Anne became a member of Nature Foundation, a volunteer, Minute Secretary for Council and now assists staff with administration support, ecotourism management and coordinating office volunteers.

Kelly Arbon – Conservation & Spatial Programs Officer

Kelly is skilled in GIS and spatial analytics and has been working in the private land conservation sector since 2011. She has also worked as a research assistant and as a nature education officer in the field of sustainability and natural resource management. She is currently completing a Master of Environment with a focus on social sustainability and has a true passion for connecting people to nature. She is a big believer of life-long learning and spending time in nature and her passion for conservation brought her to Nature Foundation. 

20180526_223439.jpgRebecca Clark – Administrative Assistant

Rebecca has completed both a Bachelor of Applied Science (Biodiversity, Environmental and Park Management) and a Diploma of Sustainability. She has undertaken volunteer work with various conservation organisations both within Australia and internationally. Rebecca became a member of Nature Foundation in 2016 and began volunteering at various events and assisting in the office. In January 2020 she became a part of the staff team, assisting with a variety of administration tasks. The environment is a very significant part of Rebecca’s life and the vital importance of conservation was instilled from an early age. Travel and photography have also become a passion, allowing her to connect more with nature and appreciate its value.

Our Board


Jan Ferguson OAM
 is a leader and strategist for the 21st Century. Her deep experience in innovation, knowledge and enterprise management is fused with a passion for people, teamwork, social justice and especially for rural and remote Australia. She has a flair for building large, effective partnerships across industry, government, academia and the community to understand and solve major challenges. Jan now works as a company director with organisations that reflect her broad range of interests.

Having lived in Beltana in northern SA, and Alice Springs, NT, she has a particular, heartfelt commitment to building a better future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and all remote Australians. In 2017, Jan was awarded Medal of Order of Australia for service to the Indigenous communities of the Northern Territory.

Philip-Weinstein.jpgDEPUTY CHAIR

Professor Philip Weinstein sits on the Nature Conservation Committee of Nature Foundation, to help ensure that our research effort underpins both our management of our reserves as well as our community engagement. He holds a full-time research position in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Adelaide, and is a Research Affiliate of the South Australian Museum.  

Phil holds dual qualifications in ecology (PhD) and public health medicine (MBBS, FAFPHM), focusing his current research on the ecosystem services provided by biodiversity conservation – including human health benefits. Phil has lectured zoology at James Cook University, was Professor of Public and Environmental Health at the University of Queensland, and Head of School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia. He has over 250 publications on insect ecology, water quality, and mosquito-borne disease.



Doug Ransom has lived and worked in Germany and has worked as an English and German language teacher. After returning to Australia he obtained qualifications as a CPA and as a Certified Informations Systems Auditor and later completed a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment.

His work experience spans local government, transport, health and finance in the not for profit sector. Prior to retiring Doug worked as General Manager for the Commissioners of Charitable Funds in Adelaide managing their investment portfolio generating income to finance medical research mostly at the R.A.H.

Apart from Nature Foundation Doug holds a Pilot Certificate and enjoys flying and keel boat racing. 

Millie Nicholls has been a partner in a family farm all her life and involved in environmental work since she completed a Science degree in 1994. She has been a member of the Native Vegetation Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Council, several regional boards in the Northern and Yorke Region, and is a director of several private companies. She was instrumental in forming two Landcare Groups and a private conservation company. Millie was the winner of the South Australian Individual Landcarer of the Year Award in 2011, and has a passionate interest in native grasslands and the sustainable management of our natural resources. Millie has been a Nature Foundation Council Member since 2015.

Angela-Hazebroek.jpgAngela Hazebroek OAM is the co-founding Director of highly respected South Australian planning firm Urban and Regional Planning Solutions. She is a strategic planner and community engagement specialist with extensive experience in tourism planning, visitor management planning for protected natural areas and facilitation of water and natural resources planning and implementation projects.
Angela has worked closely with the SA Murray Darling Basin NRM Board in developing and monitoring strategic plans with the Board and in conducting Evaluation and Review workshops across all Commonwealth Government programs delivered through the Board.

Mervyn-Lewis.jpgMervyn Lewis OAM JP is a Life Member of Nature Foundation and since retirement from farming at Wandearah in the Upper North of SA, has been involved as a volunteer on the Foundation’s nature reserves.
Mervyn brings to Nature Foundation considerable experience contributing at the Council level, especially in practical application of the decisions made. He has had the privilege of following his interest over many years by contributing in the areas of Health and Wellbeing, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Management as a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson and Member on a wide range of boards and committees.

Sharon-Starick.jpgSharon Starick runs a 2000-hectare dryland cropping property and a piggery near Cambrai on the plains to the west of the River Murray with her husband. In addition to her farming experience Sharon also has over 20 years of involvement in natural resources management and community organisations. Her experience includes water resources management, soil conservation, conservation and biodiversity management, pest, animal and plant control, and community and industry development at state and national levels. In 2003, Sharon was awarded the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award. Sharon is currently a board member of the Royal Automobile Association of SA, Grains Research and Development Corporation and Animal Health Australia as well as Chairing the Board of Rural Business Support. 

Bec_HeadShot-(5).jpgBec Hardy has a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science (Viticulture), holds a Grad Certificate in Business and a Diploma in the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. She owns and manages her own wine business Bec Hardy Wines with her husband Richard and has held positions of sales manager, brand manager and Managing Director.

She has been a committee member of Nature Foundation for five years, serving on the Engaging People in Nature Committee (previously the Revenue & Marketing Committee). With her husband they are also life members of Nature Foundation. Her family has a long-standing association with Nature Foundation with Bec’s grandmother Barbara Hardy being one of the founders. Nature and the environment have always been important to Bec and since moving into their Tipsy Hill property in Blewitt Springs in 2016, gardening and bird watching have gone from being casual hobbies to something she enjoys every day.

Anne-Marie-Barbaro-(1).jpgAnne-Marie Barbaro is a highly qualified senior finance leader with over 20 years’ experience in the accounting industry, with roles covering management and financial reporting, audit and assurance engagements and small business taxation compliance.

She holds a Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting, a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Golden Key International Honor Society. Anne-Marie has held positions with Beach Energy, Santos, Australian Naval Infrastructure and the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Our Rotational Managers

Nature Foundation is grateful for the dedication, hard work and enthusiasm of the Hiltaba and Witchelina Rotational Managers who undertake both maintenance and conservation work at the nature reserves on a roster basis.

Chris and Maria Reed
Lange and Inara Powell
Greg Bannon and Janet Thomas
Kevin and Shirley Fahey
Brenton and Nanette Arnold
Phil and Susan Cole
Marina Louter/Scott Kinlock
Dave and Marjory Goodenough
Barry and Maureen OAM Wright
Vic Breeding and Penny Shepley
John and Mary Schulze
Fred and Petra van der Heiden
John Ovenden
Peter and Val Collins
Peter and Bronywn Forward 

Our Fellows of the Foundation

Clive Armour*
Avis Bonnin*
Dr Mark Bonnin AM*
Warren Bonython AO*
David Cleland*
Mr Dene Cordes PSM OAM
John Daenke
Dr Barbara Hardy AO
Allan Holmes
Eric Jackson*
Elizabeth Law-Smith OAM
Betty Lewis*
Bob Lewis*
Martha Lott
David Moyle AM
William (Bill) Nankivell
Reg Nelson
Julian Reid
Dr Bob Sharrad AM
Dick Smith AC
John Sibly AM
Dr Rob Morrison OAM

Our Honourary Life Members

Robert Gerard AO
Bernd Stoecker*
Nicholas Newland AM
Megan Dyson
Dr Bob Inns