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Our CEO

Victoria Marles
BA, Dip Ed, Dip Arts (Dramatic Arts), LLB (Hons), LLM

Victoria Marles

Victoria took up her position as CEO of Trust for Nature in 2009, recognising the value of the organisation’s work in protecting the state of Victoria’s vulnerable biodiversity.

As the owner of a property near Wedderburn with a conservation covenant, she understands the power of individuals to make a positive contribution to protecting our natural environment.

"Trust for Nature’s powers to protect private land through conservation covenants are incredibly important. We’re able to work with landowners to protect their properties for now, and into the future. Trust for Nature plays a key role in conserving our state’s native species and habitat on private land.

"As a person who calls this place home, I am a custodian of biodiversity and the health of our land. I am merely looking after the land, and only for the time being.

"Having a conservation covenant on my property was a very concrete thing I could do; and it means it’s protected forever. I know that my piece of biodiversity is one of many, contributing to the larger picture of a healthy environment."

Victoria’s covenanted property is 40 minutes North West of Bendigo in the Goldfields region. "It’s a dry landscape, but when the wattles are all in flower it’s spectacular."

"One of the best parts of my job at Trust for Nature is having the opportunity to see the amazing work our covenantors and reserve committees do to restore and take care of the land, and to show our generous donors how much of a difference they’re making to conserve Victoria’s unique species and natural places."

Victoria brings extensive legal and management expertise to Trust for Nature, being a solicitor by training, with her previous roles including the inaugural Legal Services Commissioner, Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board, the Deputy Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and ten years as Deputy Director of the Communications Law Centre.

Victoria also has a continuing passion for the arts, having graduated in drama at the Victorian College of the Arts. She has held board positions with the Victorian Arts Centre and the Melbourne Writers Festival, and was Chair of Circus Oz for thirteen years. She has also held a position on the board of the Victorian Women’s Trust.

Victoria is currently Chair of the Abbotsford Convent Foundation, a board member of the Consumer Action Law Centre, and a Director of the Australian Advertising Standards Council.

In her spare time, Victoria is a keen bike rider, cycling trails through the city and the bush.


Our Board of Trustees

Max Ervin (Chairman)
BE (Civil), MEngSc, FIEAust, FASCE, CPEng, MAICD

Max Ervin

Max Ervin has a background in geotechnical engineering, initially with the Country Roads Board of Victoria, but since 1977 as a consultant. Max has consulted extensively throughout Australia, the Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. He has won several awards, including Geotechnical Practitioner of the Year, 2006, and Australian Civil Engineer of the Year, 2001. Max is an honorary Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. He and his wife Pru have two Trust for Nature covenanted properties in the Victorian Pyrenees region. Max has retired from full time consulting but continues to provide consulting services on a casual basis.

Geoff Driver (Deputy Chairman)
BEc, Grad Dip Finance, MAICD

 

Geoff Driver

 

 

Geoff has been involved in the banking and funds management industry for over 25 years. He is currently General Manager Business Development and Investor Relations for ASX listed Australian Foundation Investment Company (AFIC) and for other listed investment companies - Djerriwarrh Investments, Mirrabooka Investments and AMCIL Limited.  He is a Director of AISC, the company that services these investment companies. Prior to joining AFIC, Geoff was with the National Australia Bank in various executive roles and spent three years in the UK.  Geoff’s experience covers strategy development and planning; capital management; new business implementation; and distribution and marketing.

Geoff is a strong believer in the advantages of community based participation in the conservation of Australia’s natural environment. His family has a property in the Victorian high country that is benefiting from such an approach.

Cas Bennetto
MA (Organisational Communication), NFP Leadership

 

Cas Bennetto

Cas Bennetto joined Trust for Nature’s Board of Trustees in December 2015.

Cas is a passionate advocate for the protection of Victoria’s native plants and wildlife, and believes Trust for Nature and its protection of nature through covenants are an effective mechanism to achieve conservation objectives.

"The world is a better place if we retain and enhance biodiversity – particularly endemic species of flora and fauna. I’m proud to be a part of that in Victoria."

Cas has extensive experience across corporate and professional services, not-for-profits, government, the arts and tertiary sectors. She has worked in executive management positions at the Australian British Chamber of Commerce, Charles Darwin University, Australia Council for the Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Smith Family.

Cas holds a Master of Arts (Organisational Communication) from Charles Sturt University and has graduated from the Harvard Club of Australia’s Not for Profit Leadership Program. She is currently CEO of the Kimberley Foundation Australia and is also a member of the Melbourne Singers of Gospel.

Gayle Austen
BA (Media & Communications), Adv Cert App Language (Mandarin), AICD Member

 

Gayle Austen

Gayle Austen joined Trust for Nature’s Board of Trustees in December 2015.

Gayle’s love of her home state of Victoria and its fascinating landscapes, plants and wildlife is balanced by the recognition that we haven’t always looked after it so well. And, as she notes, we have the scars on our state’s biodiversity to show for it; "It’s up to all of us to rectify that and protect what we still have."

As a former journalist with specialties in both environment and rural affairs, and from a farming family, Gayle has a strong interest in the way agribusiness can positively contribute to the conservation of the environment it relies upon, and the opportunities to energise and involve farmers in safeguarding our natural heritage for future generations.

"Trust for Nature is the only organisation outside of government with the ability to truly safeguard our natural heritage on private land. Its existence is an important acknowledgement that the vast majority of Victoria's valuable natural habitats are situated on, and must be managed within, private land. The Trust has a sophisticated approach to its work which encourages and inspires people to get involved in conservation, and opens their eyes to the possibilities of personal contribution."

Gayle is a communications specialist with extensive experience in strategic communications and public engagement. She has held executive positions at ANZ, Channel Seven, the International CFO Forum and Foster’s Group. Her senior roles in journalism have been based in Australia, China and the UK, including The Economist Intelligence Unit and The Age.

Gayle holds a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications), an Advanced Certificate of Applied Language (Mandarin), and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is currently the Principal of Gayle Austen Corporate Communications and is also a Board member of Camcare.

Dr Charles Meredith
BSc (Botany, Genetics), PhD (Zoology/Earth Sciences)

 

Charles Meredith

Charles Meredith joined Trust for Nature’s Board of Trustees in December 2015.

Charles has 30 years’ experience in ecological and environmental consulting and has published 22 papers. In 1984 Charles founded Biosis Research, Australia’s largest specialist ecological and cultural heritage consulting firm.

Charles’ more than 45 years’ of experience in the natural environment across Victoria has given him unique insights into the need for conservation of private land.

"I have seen too many examples of loss or degradation of ecological values, but I have also been privileged to see many conservation successes, the result of the hard work of individuals and organisations and the growing awareness of the importance of good conservation practice and management. The natural diversity of this state depends more than ever on our continuing conservation efforts.

"Ecological systems do not recognise the boundaries between public and private land – conservation on all tenures is equally important. Victoria’s history of extensive clearance of vegetation types for agriculture has meant that many of the remnants of our most endangered ecological communities are on private land. As the effects of climate change become more marked, the role of ecological linkages between conservation reserves will become critical – and these linkages are again often on private land. Trust for Nature’s significant role in contributing to the conservation of privately held vegetation and habitat is critical to the long-term conservation of Victoria’s biodiversity."

Charles holds a PhD in Zoology/Earth Sciences, a Bachelor of Science (Botany, Genetics), is a Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. He is currently Chair of the Melbourne Strategic Assessment Land Protection Advisory Group, a member of the Course Advisory Committee for Wildlife and Conservation Biology Degree at La Trobe University, and a Board member of the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council.

Dr Gregory Moore
BSc (Ed), BSc (Hons), MBA, Ph.D

 

Dr Gregory Moore

Greg has a strong interest in horticultural plant science and ecology.

From 1988 to 2007 he was the principal of Burnley College in the Faculty of Land and Food Resources at the University of Melbourne. Prior to this he was a senior lecturer in Plant Science and Arboriculture from 1979. He was Head of the School of Resource Management at the University from 2002 to 2007. Greg was inaugural president of the Society of Arboriculture, Australian Chapter and contributed to Australian Standards in pruning and amenity tree evaluation.

Greg has published more than 100 papers and articles; written one book on tree biology and management; and was the inaugural president of Arboriculture Australia.

Amanda Noble
MBA, BA, Dip Law (SAB), Dip Leadership & Asian Studies

 

Amanda Noble

Amanda Noble joined Trust for Nature’s Board of Trustees in December 2015.

Amanda has a particular interest in providing opportunities for individuals to contribute to solving global and local problems. Having attended an agricultural high school, she has long been passionate about sustainable land management balanced with active conservation of habitat and wildlife.

Amanda's experience extends across risk management, investment management, strategy and operational areas including new business integration. She has worked in both the public and private sectors, predominantly in finance for the past 15 years, with significant trust management experience. She has previously held executive and management positions at ANZ, Westpac, NAB and KPMG.

Amanda is currently Chief Risk Officer with Trustee Partners. She is a qualified solicitor and holds a Diploma in Law (SAB), Master of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Diploma in Leadership & Asian Studies. She is a Member of AICD, IAPP, is a Senior Associate of Finsia, and also graduated from the Chief Executive Women’s leadership program in 2013.