Ronda Green, Maree Kerr, Aise Kim, Simin Maleknia, Noel Scott, Sera Steves, Darren Green, and Leah Burns
CHAIR Ronda Green BSc (Hons), Ph.D. QLD
VICE CHAIR Maree Treadwell-Kerr. QLD
Maree Treadwell-Kerr has a Master’s of Wildlife Management and is an Executive Committee member of the Australasian Bat Society Inc., a member of the Australian Wildlife Management Society and Animal research group, and a state representative of Interpretation Australia.
She has a background in environmental, heritage, and cultural interpretation and visitor services in zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and museums. This has included nine years in outreach community and school programs with the Ku-ring-gai Bat Conservation Society.
Maree has a special interest in bats, particularly flying foxes. In 2012 she created the annual Australasian Bat Night which she coordinates on behalf of the Australasian Bat Society (ABS). This is in partnership with community groups, local councils, and people involved in bat conservation, interpretation, and tourism. Maree is doing a Ph.D. project investigating societal values on flying foxes. This would assess the impact of education/interpretation (including tourism) programs in changing attitudes and its impact on conservation efforts and outcomes.
Maree is also coordinating a batty tourism project on behalf of the ABS. She is compiling a list of places to see bats of all sorts throughout Australia and New Zealand. These would then aid the construction of an interactive map on the ABS website. Everyone in tourism, education, research, and bat care is invited to contribute. If you can assist, please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org
Maree also has an interest in social media and its potential for education, conservation, research and tourism.
She has represented Wildlife Tourism Australia at various conferences as well as presenting at numerous WTA events
SECRETARY Aise Kim Ph.D. SA
Dr. Aise Kim is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management at the University of South Australia. She completed her Ph.D. in visitor interpretation and sustainable tourism at the University of Surrey, U.K.
Her research interest areas include tourism impacts, tourist behaviours, pro-environmental behaviour, market segmentation, destination image, and tourism destination marketing. She has a distinctive track record in the field of environmental behaviour and visitor interpretation in nature-based tourism areas. Her research work has been published in top-tier journals, Journal of Travel Research, Tourism Management, Journal of Ecotourism, and Tourism Geographies.
Aise has been actively involved in several research projects focusing on tourist behaviours and the psychological and environmental impacts of those behaviours in the field of special interest tourism. This has included bird-watching tourism, fossil-based tourism, nature-based tourism, food tourism, and ecotourism. She was one of the successful applicants to the South Australian Tourism Commission and Flinders Ranges Tourism Industry Association. The project examined the potential of nature-based tourism products for sustainable regional economic development in the Flinders Ranges region, South Australia.
Her recent research work is extended to examine a cross-cultural study on green accommodation, targeting wildlife tourists and nature-based tourists. She is keen to make a stronger connection with the industry and engage with the project which makes significant impacts on the policy development and practical implications for sustainable business development at a local, regional, and national scale.
TREASURER Simin Maleknia Ph.D. NSW
Dr. Simin Maleknia joined WTA in 2016 for her strong passion and interest in wildlife conservation. Simin brings her extensive experience in environmental and sustainability research. Her current research is in wildlife conservation through developing tools to protect native and endangered species. These help to identify the geographical origins of species in relation to illegal wildlife trade and trafficking.
Illegal wildlife trafficking is seriously threatening fauna species around the world and in Australia. Simin co-convened the ‘Inaugural Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Workshop’ held in Sydney in June 2017. She also presented her pioneering research in Australia on ‘Chemical and Elemental Profiling of Wildlife’.
This follows her presentation on ‘Exploring Forensic Tools to Identify Origins of Wildlife (Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trafficking)’ at the WTA Conference held in Adelaide in November 2016.
2022 CONFERENCE CO-ORDINATOR Leah Burns Ph.D. QLD
Leah has held positions as Head of the Tourism Department at Hólar University College and Head of Tourism Research at the Icelandic Seal Centre.
As an Environmental Anthropologist, Leah’s work focuses on human-wildlife interactions in nature-based tourism settings. This spans topics such as ethics, coexistence, sustainability, resilience, interpretation, and management.
Her work contributed to the development of a code of conduct for wildlife watching in Iceland. She was also involved in the redevelopment of interpretation in the Daisy Hill Koala Centre in Queensland.
She is co-editor of the book Engaging with Animals (Sydney University Press) and is the author of over 40 book chapters and journal articles.
NON-EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER Noel Scott, QLD
Dr. Noel Scott is an Adjunct Professor of Tourism Management at the Sustainability Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast. His research interests include the study of wildlife tourism, tourism experiences, destination management and marketing, and stakeholder organization. He has over 300 academic articles published including 16 books.
He is on the Editorial Board of 10 journals, a Fellow of the Council of Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Educators, and a member of the International Association of China Tourism Scholars. He was the primary editor of the UNWTO report on Sustainable Wildlife Tourism in Asia and the Pacific.
He has represented Wildlife Tourism Australia at other conferences as well as presenting at WTA events
NON-EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBER Sera Steves. QLD
Sera is the owner and sole operator of Aussie Walks and Wonders, a hiking-focused adventure tourism business. It tailors experiences to small groups of up to 6 persons in Far North Queensland.
Sera holds a degree in Biology and Psychology with an Ecology focus from Texas State University. She is currently working on her master’s in Zoology and Ecology from James Cook University. Her interests include bats and crocodiles, and she participates in research on both.
She is currently a community representative for the Cairns Regional Council’s Flying-Fox Advisory Committee. She is also Secretary of the Bats and Trees Society of Cairns (BATSOC), as well as Treasurer for the North Queensland Crocodile Protection Society.
Sera promotes bats and tourism using a model developed by Bat Conservation International in her home state of Texas. She believes strongly that the most effective conservation efforts, aside from legislative change, are ecotourism opportunities and community engagement. That is why she is excited to be a part of Wildlife Tourism Australia to help support its goals.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY Darren Green. QLD
Darren has grown up in a rainforest property with platypus and other wildlife as well as goats, dogs, horses, and other animals. He has been involved in fauna surveys since the age of 8 and is a keen wildlife photographer and experienced amateur naturalist.
He formally studied Mandarin, Spanish, Music, and Theatre at Griffith University.
However, his love of travel has had him visit many wildlife-rich areas of QLD, NSW, NT, SA, ACT, and Tasmania. And he has also been a wildlife tour guide for Araucaria Ecotours since 2001.
In addition, Darren was Secretary of the Lamington Natural History Association for several years. His other skills have led him to become the chief audiovisual volunteer at conferences and workshops for WTA since 2008.
Darren is currently Treasurer of the Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. His musical talents have led him to be the pianist at several of their public functions. This has included playing at the start of one of their annual historical Indigenous events, the Drumley Walk.