Image by David Clode
Board of Directors
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DR. FLAVIA SANTAMARIA (Chair)

Since I was a young girl, my passion for nature was insatiable. I often found myself gazing at the beautiful trees, wondering how many animals were calling them home, and just how many homes filled the forests.

That passion for nature brought me to this wonderful country that is Australia. That passion for nature has allowed me to become a koala researcher. For many years since my PhD, I have been involved in various aspects of koala research from their habitat to their health. But, researching and saving a species from catastrophe do not always go hand in hand. While research has brought, and is still bringing so much knowledge to the surface, it is not enough to save this species from the brink of extinction.

The more I research, the more I know that the single most important thing koalas need is their habitat, their own territory, where they are protected, secure and free of stress. A place that can support a growing population, a home that stretches from tree to tree and from forest to forest. 

I am now dedicated to see my dream come true, to see koala habitat protected for the benefit of all other species too.

I hold B.Biol.Sc.(Hons.) (Universita della Sapenza, Roma, Italy), a  Grad. Dip. of Secondary Education (Victoria University, Melbourne) and a PhD (University of Ballarat, Victoria).

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DR. ROLF SCHLAGLOTH

Rolf migrated from Germany, more than 30 years ago and, since setting foot on this wonderful continent, has been fascinated by the Koala. From the 1st time he saw a dead koala on the road to his post-grad research, the koala has always been part of his professional and private live. Rolf researched the species from a conservation, scientific, education, ethics and historical point of view. His PhD research on modelling koala roadkill blackspots involved radio-tracking of koalas, disease and diet studies. He strongly believes in the power of the Koala as a flagship for many causes including that of protecting its habitat. Rolf holds a B.Appl.Sc., a Dip.Edu. & a M.Edu.St. all from the former University of Ballarat (now Federation University) and a PhD from the Central Queensland University – the Koala featured strongly during all of his degrees.

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A/PROF. DR. FRED CAHIR

Fred is an award-winning teacher and researcher who lives and works in Ballarat (Victoria), on Wadawurrung Country, at Federation University. His work often involves him working in Traditional Owner led research programs, in collaboration with a consortium of Universities from across Australia. Fred’s research focus is on exploring the valuable contribution that Aboriginal knowledge can provide to areas of highest priority such as the management of natural and cultural resources. His research engages with national debates about the role of Indigenous knowledge in koala conservation, heritage tourism, resource management, health and education.

Fred is a prolific researcher and his ground-breaking work on Cultural Renewal Projects is his real passion. He works tirelessly alongside Aboriginal communities from across Australia on the revival and renewal of Aboriginal Knowledges. Fred is a member (by appointment) of AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies), the peak body for Australian Indigenous research.

 

🔗 For more info about Fred and his work click here. 

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STEVE MORVELL

STEVE MORVELL is an internationally acclaimed artist for conservation, dedicated to raising human awareness of the beauty and fragility of wildlife and the habitats in which we co-exist. He was born with a deep and abiding passion for nature. Over 40 years as a fulltime professional artist Steve’s deep need to understand animals on their own terms has taken him to many wild places such as Western China, Africa, Nepal and Outback Australia whilst researching his art and his wild subjects.

 

His art has been widely featured through Television, radio and print media around the world. He has represented Australia and been awarded internationally on many occasions and is a 5 times Gold Medal winner with the Wildlife Art Society of Australasia. Steve’s art has also featured in many books, national and international magazines and on Australian Postage Stamps. He is an ambassador for the Wildlife Art Museum of Australia, board member of Koala Territory Foundation and works tirelessly using his art for the conservation of our natural world.

 

As a former park ranger, the deep need to be with animals compels Steve to study his subjects in the field, often spending long hours observing and sketching animals in their natural habitat. He only paints animals he has actually met in person and preferably in the wild since his life’s passion is learning ever more about ‘real’ nature. His recognition of the spirit of the bush and its creatures leaves a lasting impression on the viewer. For him, it is really a case of repaying to nature, a little of the boundless joy which has come his way in this life. “We, and every single species, owe the whole of nature for our very lives. For that, I am deeply obligated and will always work tirelessly to raise awareness in others. I am eternally grateful for this life and the chance to advocate for nature. THAT is truly my passion”.

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CHRIS PERSSON

As a child reared in rural NSW, Chris developed a strong sense of the importance of our unique flora and fauna. Koalas, wallabies, and a variety of snakes were familiar animals around her home. While completing her Bachelor of Science, Chris was offered the opportunity to move to Canberra to complete a degree in forestry management. Financial commitments prevented her from taking up this option, instead gaining further qualifications that led to a varied career as a science and mathematics teacher. The environmental units that Chris teaches have been developed to include knowledge of Australian fauna and flora. “It is my belief that Australia is a unique island and that as citizens we need to recognise first nation peoples’ environmental management. As a society, old land management ideas resulting in disruption to, and loss of, our natural environment must be changed if this country is to continue to support our native wildlife and forests.  Chris Persson holds a B.Sc. & Dip. Ed. (UNSW), a B.Ed. St. (UQ) and a B.A.Beh.Sc. (USQ).