Nominations for WTA committee

Following are the nominations and continuing positions for the Wildlife Tourism Australia committee

The AGM will be held 12.30pm EST, 24th November (see previous posts for details)

Ronda J Green, BSc(Hons) PhD. Queensland. Nominated for Chair

Dr. Ronda Green is a zoologist who has been involved in wildlife tourism and nature interpretation  as well as ecological research for several decades, and now runs the multi-award winning ‘Araucaria Ecotours’ specialising in wildlife and other ecotours from Brisbane, all of which have achieved advanced eco-accreditation. Ronda has also recently developed the Scenic Rim Wildlife Ecology Centre, powered by photovoltaic cells, on her family property near Rathdowney, South East Queensland, the indoor section introducing visitors to Australia’s wildlife, local wildlife, ecology and behaviour, and nature trails such as a butterfly walk and a seed dispersal walk leading out from there. She is co-author of several Sustainable Tourism CRC  reports, ecology papers, book chapters and two books (one on bush holidays, another on preparation of nature trails), and co-editor of a book on seed dispersal. On behalf of WTA, Ronda has led discussions on impacts of wildlife tourism on wildlife leading to policy statements, written to government on several wildlife conservation issues, and initiated wildlife workshops and a Wildlife Expo in Beaudesert, southeast Queensland. She also ran a member survey and now hopes to act on the results by  helping WTA raise its profile, engage more in lobbying for the wildlife tourism industry and wildlife conservation, make the website more interactive and useful for travelers (and thus also for member products) and continually update it with reports on latest research. She is also keen to accentuate and support wildlife tourism’s various roles in wildlife conservation.

Denise Kunwinjku Goodfellow, BA, Grad Dip (sociology of tourism), now PhD candidate, Northern Territory. Nominated for vice chair

Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow is a birdwatching/natural history guide, environmental/Indigenous tourism consultant and writer .  As biological consultant she has conducted fauna surveys in the remote Top End, often solo. In 1981 she stood for Councilto save mangrove habitat.  Learning that Indigenous people lacked representation she won their trust by accepting an invitation from a senior woman to catch a water python, entailing four hours in a lake inhabited by large estuarine crocodiles. The Indigenous women were horrified  when Denise was then threatened with prosecution, and to protect her they adopted Denise. Denise began working as a birdwatching/natural history guide for international visitors in the early 80’s.  Later she ran a national campaign against operators in Kakadu National Park who rammed crocodiles with boats to make them jump for visitors, a mistreatment that angered the Indigenous owners and made them want to ban visitors. At the request of her adopted Aboriginal sisters, Denise helped establish an appropriate tourism project on their country, Baby Dreaming, in western Arnhem Land.  The elders, previously scared and distrustful of white people, drove 450 kms to Denise’s home to tell her their first visitors – American birdwatchers and students – were “great”. Elders also decided to make their prized hunting waterhole a sanctuary for birds. The sensitive visitation enhanced the status of women and families.   Denise has worked as a wildlife and Indigenous adviser to television, and in 2000 was contracted as an interpreter/transcriber on the Lonely Planet’s Guide to Aboriginal Australia. Her book Birds of Australia’s Top End has been described as winning “top honors” (American Birdwatcher’s Digest), and ‘impressive’ (the American Birding Association’s Winging It).  Her autobiographical Quiet Snake Dreaming is used for literacy projects in European educational institutions and cross-cultural awareness courses. Since 2010 Denise has lectured for the University of New South Wales’ summer school and is presently planning a study tour for the University of Georgia.  She is doing a PhD on American couples who travel internationally to watch birds.

Len Doherty. Tasmania. Continuing as treasurer (no opposing nominations).

Len Doherty has been involved in tourism for over thirty years and has owned and managed Mountain Valley Wilderness Holidays in north west Tasmania since 1982. The Mountain Valley property has a perpetual conservation covenant to protect the habitat and threatened species, and guests at the lodge are able to gain fascinating experiences from Len’s knowledge of the wildlife. A member of WTA since its inception, Len was a key member in the formation of the Tasmanian branch and the Tasmanian Wildlife Trail brochure. He sees the potential of WTA as a great tool for the wildlife tourism industry into the future.

Amanda Porter – nominated

Amanda Porter has created and managed Wilderness Wanders a multi award winning wildlife tourism operation based in Port Lincoln South Australia since 2008.  Operating with a firm commitment to sustainable eco tourism, Wilderness Wanders tours have all been awarded Advanced Eco Accreditation and are focussed on wildlife and nature based interpretation and learning. Amanda chooses to live and work with a philosophy of creating minimal impact on our environment, working on repairing and maintaining our awesome earth and sharing in the journey with others in hope to impart some of her passion. With over 20 years of experience raising orphaned and injured native wildlife, Amanda has a hands on approach and keen interest in the future of wildlife tourism. Amanda is also currently WTA’s public officer.

Katherine Blanche, B.App.Sc (wildlife), Dip ed. –  nominated

Katherine has always had a keen interest in wildlife and animal welfare. After finishing her Wildlife Science degree she also completed a Graduate Diploma of Teaching. She is committed to her vision of educating the public on issues affecting animals and their welfare. In the last decade she has spent time working and volunteering for many organizations (PETA, WSPA, RSPCA) that aim to help animals and educate the public on issues concerning their welfare. By being apart of WTA Katherine hopes to continue her work through public education and the promotion of minimal impact tourism. The more people understand animals the more they appreciate them!

Kate Rodger, BSc(Hons)PhD. Western Australia. Continuing non-executive committee member

Throughout the last decade Dr Kate Rodger has carried out research on various aspects of human-wildlife interactions. With a background in conservation biology and tourism Kate’s work focuses on bringing these two disciplines together. Kate’s research expertise includes the ecological and social impacts of human-wildlife interactions, marine and nature based tourism as well as environmental policy. Kate is currently employed as a Research Fellow at Murdoch University, Western Australia where she is working in the fields of visitor monitoring and the sustainable management of marine wildlife tourism.

Barry Davies Queensland. Continuing non-executive committee member

Barry Davies is an experienced Naturalist, Environmental Interpreter, Tour Guide and a Certified EcoGuide. Since 2004 he has operated Gondwana Guides, a freelance Interpretive Guiding and specialist bird watching Guiding service, and Gondwana Environmental Consulting, working with ecotourism operators, mining companies, developers, local government and educational institutions consulting on interpretation and training and wildlife and vegetation management. He spent 25 years working at ecotourism pioneer Binna Burra Mountain Lodge in Lamington NP as a Naturalist and Adventure Guide and Activities Manager and is currently on the Board of Directors. In 2005 he won the Rainforest Habitat EcoGuide Australia Award and in 1993 the prestigious Gold Coast Supreme Hospitality Award, and in 2009 won the William Agliss Ecoguide Award of Excellence.


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