Chris Daniels


Chris is the Presiding Member of the Adelaide Mt Lofty Natural Resources Management Board and Professor of Urban Ecology in the Division of Information, Technology, Engineering and Environment at the University of SA.  He is Director of the Barbara Hardy Research Institute and facilitates and conducts research into the relationship between humans, the communities we build and the natural environment.  He is a prolific publisher and ardent environmentalist and contributes broadly to state, local government and philanthropic organisations who share an interest in the natural world.

Julie Patterson

Julie is Director, Public Health Partnerships Branch of SA Health.  Her role is to promote partnerships between local and state government departments, NGOs and the private sector that impact positively on health and wellbeing.  The Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (OPAL) program is a Branch initiative which actively supports Nature Play.  Julie began her working life as a teacher of Economics and after attaining the most senior position in her subject area in the state, decided she wanted to “change public policy” not just teach about it.  Since then she has worked in three government departments – Education, Health and Housing where she’s had a magnetic attraction to the “cutting edge/my head hurts” type projects including working with the business community to establish Common Ground as a charity to house the homeless.

Pam Kent

Pam has been with the Department for Education and Child Development for 37 years.  For the past 22 years she has served as School Principal at several  schools.  Pam is currently President of the South Australian Primary Principal’s Association and member of a number of National and State Educational Boards and Associations.  Pam recently completed her Masters in Educational Leadership and is committed to progressing the interests of play based learning and nature play.

John Schutz

John is the Group Executive Director, Partnership & Stewardship and Director of National Parks for the Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources.  John has a background in viticulture, horticulture and conservation and land management and was previously Head of Gardens, Adelaide Botanic Gardens before moving into leadership roles in Natural resource management and National Parks.  His current role includes responsibility for 8 state regions administering 8 NRM Boards, the department’s fire management program, investigations and compliance unit and volunteer and visitor services.

Elaine Bensted

Elaine is Chief Executive, Zoos South Australia.  Zoos SA is a charity conservation society that exists to save species from extinction and to connect people with nature.  Zoos SA operates both Adelaide and Monarto Zoos which are visited by approximately 500,000 visitors each year.  Elaine previously held the position of Chief Executive, Office of TAFE SA and prior to that, held senior roles in both state and local government and the private financie sector including human resource and training management, operation and project management and running a branch of a bank.

Amanda Blair

Amanda is a broadcaster, columnist and editor and has extensive Board experience in State and local government and philanthropic organisations.  In 2011 Amanda was nominated for South Australian of the Year and won the St Mary of the Cross MacKillop Award for outstanding contribution to the Media. In 2013 she was named on ‘The Power List’ as one of the 50 most influential South Australians.  Her individual fundraising efforts have raised over $1m.  Amanda is mum of 4 kids and has a passion for competitive baking, op shopping and Air Supply.

Julieann Riedstra

Julieann is the Deputy Chief Executive of the Department for Education and Child Development.  Julianne has a background in finance and is a Fellow of CPA Australia.  She has over 25 years experience in the SA public sector in finance, corporate services and infrastructure roles and has served on a number of government and private sector Boards.  Julieann is currently also the Vice President of the Royal Zoological Society of SA.

Felicity-ann Lewis

Felicity is a Senior Lecturer in Health Education at Flinders University focusing on health promotion and health education.  Formerly the Mayor of the City of Marion and President of the Australian Local Government Association, Felicity-Ann is also committed to reconciliation and has been involved in a number of committees to advance this important issue.  She currently serves as a People of Australia Ambassador and was awarded the 2014 Australian of the Year for SA. Combining her interests in physical activity and play with natural spaces, she is keen to promote this aspect of community participation across SA.