We are incredibly grateful for the support we receive across South Australia. And, this much-needed backing continues to grow.
This section of our website is dedicated to acknowledging the wonderful people and organisations who help us achieve our goals, and better support you.


Our Board


A key part of our governance structure is our Board who are made up of industry professionals, they provide support and guidance on our direction as a not-for-profit organisation and share our passion for making the outdoor play in nature an every day part of children’s lives:

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


John Shultz


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.


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.


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


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.


Members Council


Our Members Council is a group of representatives from some of South Australia’s peak education, recreation and community organisations who provide support and advocacy for us as a not-for-profit organisation. They participate in the election of Board members and voting at our Annual General Meetings.


We Thank Our Financial Members:

  • Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board
  • Department of Education and Child Development
  • Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources
  • SA Health


And Our Valued Members:

  • Association of Independent Schools of South Australia
  • Botanic Gardens of South Australia
  • Catholic Education Office South Australia
  • Conservation Council of South Australia
  • Early Childhood Australia, SA Branch
  • Friends of Parks Inc
  • Heart Foundation
  • Local Government Association of South Australia
  • Nature Play WA
  • Outdoors SA
  • Parks and Leisure Australia, South Australia
  • Play Australia
  • Play Group South Australia
  • Raising Literacy Australia
  • Recreation South Australia
  • Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society of SA Inc.
  • SA Medical Association
  • Scouts SA
  • South Australian Primary Principal’s Association
  • Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation
  • Zoos SA

Our Patron


Our Patron strongly and actively supports our vision to make outdoor play an everyday part of childhood.

Nature Play Ambassador

Tim Jarvis

Tim Jarvis is a renowned explorer, 2013 Adventurer of the Year and member of the Order of Australia 2010 for his service to the Australian community. Tim is also an environmental scientist, author, public speaker, sustainability advocate and a Dad, making him a perfect role model to encourage children to explore, to learn by doing and to appreciate nature.


“It’s important for kids to develop an understanding of the world around them and their place in it by getting out there and finding things out for themselves. It’s also critically important our children grow up being exposed to nature so they develop an empathy for it and see the value in its protection. We do not inherit the world from our parents, we borrow it from our children and our role now is to help those children develop a bond with it for the benefit of us all.”

– Tim Jarvis

Our Ambassador


Our Ambassador plays a role in promoting our message and promoting the hard work that our team and broader community are achieving.


Sophie Thomson

Sophie is a passionate gardener and shares her knowledge and expertise whenever possible.  Sophie has written several books, and regularly writes for magazines and the Sunday mail on all things gardening.  She presents often at events and enjoys providing horticultural consultations on many SA gardens.  Sophie is mum to 5 children and in her spare time tends to her own 3 acres of organic garden, Hamlyn cottage in the Adelaide hills and the menagerie of animals that share her home and family.


“Creating a backyard where children can enjoy free play, connect with nature and learn to grow some of their own food is sowing a seed for their future health, wellbeing and happiness as well as the future health of the planet.”

-Sophie Thomson