Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia is run by some remarkable people.
We rely heavily on our incredibly dedicated and committed volunteers. We are governed by a Board of Directors and a Chief Executive Officer is employed to manage strategic and business operations. A small number of full time, part time, and casual staff are employed at the centre.
Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia would simply not exist without volunteers. Volunteers have contributed hundreds of thousands of hours to the centre since its inception—in fact the first paid staff member was not employed until 1989.
Board of Directors
Our board is chosen from the local business community and its membership represents a cross-section of the skills necessary to implement HWCA’s strategic direction.
Ben Chard (Chairman)
Ben has recently retired from the NSW Public Service after 44 years of dedicated service. His most recent role was the Hunter Regional Coordinator for the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Ben was honoured with the Public Service Medal in the Queen's Birthday Awards of 2008 for outstanding service. Projects Ben has been responsible for include: the sale of all BHP land assest in the lower Hunter and payment by BHP for environmental remediation.; The private irrigation district of Pokolbin and Broke Fordwich; The construction of Energy Australia Stadium; Community Renewal strategies for disadvantaged communities at Windale, Booragal, Bolton point and Cessnock and The Disaster Recovery Process for the Hunter Region following the June 2007 storms.
David Crofts (Deputy Chairman)
David Crofts has his own consultancy business after recently leaving his position as Newcastle City Council's Group Manager City Strategy . In this role he was responsible for Council's strategic planning and project development including economic development and tourism, social planning, sustainability, asset management, business strategy, land use and environmental strategy. Prior to this appointment David was a senior executive with the former Federal Department of Health, Housing and Regional Development and National Office of Local Government where he was responsible for a number of national microeconomic reform programs, urban development and regional development initiatives and funding programs. He holds a number of tertiary qualifications, is a Fellow of the Company Directors’ Institute and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. David is also an active member of HWCA's Finance Committee.
Rod Caldwell (Secretary)
Rod Caldwell has had a 35-year career background as a qualified electrical engineer. He came to Newcastle in 1987 to manage the state’s high voltage electricity system in the Hunter and Northern NSW: in this role Rod was a major sponsor of wetland groups. Rod now assists volunteer heritage groups, is a Curator with the Fort Scratchley Historical Society Inc. and a member of other industrial heritage, professional and conservation groups. His heritage qualifications include a recent MA in Heritage Management from Birmingham University/Ironbridge Institute undertaken in 2000/1.
Nicole Holmes is Manager Water Resource Planning at Hunter Water Corporation. Hunter Water is a proud sponsor of Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia.
Ted Lewis has been involved in the management of various local community organisations for many years. His associations include President of the Rotary Club of Newcastle, Secretary of the Rotary District 9670 Youth Exchange Program Committee, Secretary of the Eastern Region Rotary World Community Service Committee and presently Chairman of the Board of Ronald McDonald House in the Hunter and a member of The Malcolm Sargent Fund for Cancer Children-Hunter Committee. Ted is also an active member of HWCA's Finance Committee.
Trevor Pennifold is the former General Manager of BHP Refractories and had a regional development focus in his role as Executive Officer with the Industry Development Centre. Trevor currently teaches in a range of business management, marketing and human resource courses at TAFE and The University of Newcastle. Trevor is also Chairman of HWCA's Finance Committee.
Christine Prietto has recently retired after many years as the Teacher-in-Charge of the Wetlands Environmental Education Centre, a NSW Department of Education training facility located at the Hunter Wetlands Centre. She has extensive experience in the development, implementation, delivery and evaluation of environmental education programs and specialised expertise in the field of wetland education and community involvement in wetland conservation. She is a member of the AWA Reference Group, a Director of Wetlands International - Oceania and a Director on the Wetlands International Board. Christine has represented the Hunter Wetlands Centre at three successive Ramsar Conferences (Australia, Costa Rica and Valencia) and is currently the Australian Non-government Focal Point for Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) under the Ramsar CEPA Programme. She coordinates the CEPA Specialist Group, hosted by Wetlands International, which is a network of specialists that play a CEPA advisory role for WI and the Ramsar Convention.
Jenny is the local coordinator for Hunter Landcare Group and has worked extensively with a number of volunteer groups and works regularly on the site with a number of projects on the go.
Chair of the Environment Scienc Department, University of Newcastle Representative
Deon Van Rensburt
Area Manage, National Parks & Wildlife Service Representative
Ken Conway (Chief Executive Officer)
Ken Conway brings a wealth of experience in working with community boards including time at the helm of the Mayfield RSL, Newcastle Workers Club, Nationwide Superannuation Fund, Mingara Recreation Club and the Newcastle Knights. His vast experience in the community sector and with volunteer groups will be invaluable to the Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia.
Site and Visitor Centre Staff
Site Manager Biodiversity Officer: Paul Trute
Ecotourism & Marketing Manager: Anna Ryan
Site Staff: Matthew Stow, Will McCaffrey
IT and Events: Jake Relf
Volunteer Coordinator: Grant Morgan
Birthday Party Host: Sue Smith
Chief Chef : Peter Halse
Restaurant Supervisor: Jenny Wright
Waitstaff : Fluer Gray
Wetlands Environmental Education Centre
Teacher in Charge: Peter Jones
Teacher: Carolyn Gillard
School Administration Manager: Rhonda Atkins