Meet our board members

Community representatives

Board member profile

Chris Daniels

Presiding Member, Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board

Chris Daniels is Professor of Biology School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of South Australia.

Chris was educated in zoology at the University of Adelaide and the University of New England. Chris has held academic positions at the University of California, Flinders University and the University of Adelaide before accepting the chair of Urban Ecology at UniSA. Chris teaches undergraduate and postgraduate zoology and supervises large numbers of research students each year. He is a member of several journal editorial boards and zoological societies including the Royal Society of SA. He holds honorary positions at ZoosSA and SA Museum.

Chris is a prolific publisher, with nine books published and over 140 scientific publications. In 2005, along with Catherine Tait, he edited the book Adelaide Nature of a City. The second book in this series, Adelaide Water of a City was published in 2010. Both books have won numerous awards including the Whitley Award, and awards from the Planning Institute of Australia, Stormwater Industry and Australian Institute of Landscape Architects. Other books published by Chris include The Possum-tail Tree, The Ferocious Fluteplayers, A Guide to Urban Wildlife and several edited volumes on the evolution of air breathing.

Chris has an abiding interest in reptiles, particularly lizards, and is a passionate communicator to the general community about science and the environment. He is Deputy Chair of the Parks and Wilderness Council, a Governor of the World Wildlife Fund (Australia) and Patron of the South Australian Junior Field Naturalists Society and the Marine Discovery Centre.

Board member profile

Alexi Kentish

Board Member

Alexi has a strong connection with sustainable land management with an Honours degree in Agricultural science, six years working with a large fertiliser company and 16 years farming in the south east of South Australia with her husband, Nic. Alexi’s role on the farm was to monitor the soils and crops and guide the business from conventional farming methods through to sustainable, biological and then organic broad-scale farming. The focus for the business was to keep soil cover and optimise grass production through fencing, waters and grazing management.

During the cropping phases of the rotation, the soil biology was promoted and encouraged to multiply in order to maintain a healthy crop that required minimal to no chemical sprays.

Alexi has been a member of several boards and committees, including the Soil Conservation Board on a local level and the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women and Equestrian Australia, among others, on a national level. She has also worked as a facilitator for two producer driven projects – ‘Sustainable Grazing Systems’ with beef producers and ‘Best Wool’ with sheep producers.

Alexi, Nic and their children recently moved to the Adelaide Hills, where Alexi brings a practical ‘farming’ focus to natural resource management in the Adelaide and the Mount Lofty ranges.

Image of Belinda Bramley board member

Belinda Bramley

Board Member

Belinda works in the Wine Industry as a consultant and has a close connection to the land, having grown up on a cereal/wheat/ sheep farm near Pt Broughton. She has worked with CSIRO for 16 years and the Australian Wine Research Institute for 9 years. Belinda has a degree in Viticultural Science from the University of Adelaide and a certificate in Applied Sensory and Consumer Science from UC Davis. She has a keen interest in the influence of terroir on the sensory characteristics of wine.

Belinda's work with CSIRO included providing field, laboratory, GIS and database management support to projects in Soil Biology, Soil Physics, Land Use Impacts on Water Quality, Sugarcane Agronomy, Land Resource Assessment/Mapping, Organic Matter in soil and water, and for the National Carbon Accounting System (this project won the Eureka prize in 2009).

An interest in Natural Resource Management influenced her decision to work as Industry Development Officer at the McLaren Vale Grape Wine and Tourism Association (2012-2015) where her role was to assist in the facilitation, coordination and delivery of key regional projects and initiatives pertaining to viticulture, sustainability and the environment. She worked closely with the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia Program and volunteer working groups in the areas of Environmental Management, Soil and Water, Pest and Disease Management. She was also involved in viticulture and winemaker extension and communication. 

Belinda has previously worked with the NRM board to support regional projects in automating bore water monitoring systems in the McLaren Vale region and to develop grower courses to support the Sustainable Winegrowing Australia program.

She has a keen interest in supporting growers in best practice techniques and is co-founder of the Skinny Lattes Cycling Club, Club Secretary, Public Officer and a cycling coach.

image of board member mark searle

Mark Searle 

Board Member

Mark is passionate about the environment, community engagement and developing organisational capacity.

He was CEO for the City of Marion for nearly 15 years where he led the organisation through a period of significant transformation with resultant financial turnaround, improved customer and stakeholder relations, improved capital works delivery, sound partnerships, and a huge reduction in staff turnover. The City of Marion has been recognised widely including a Gold Australian Business Excellence Award 2010, and four National Awards relating to Cultural Transformation (2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013).

Mark holds a BA (psychology, statistics and geography) and a Master of Business Administration, and has prior experience in private, public and not for profit sectors (including agriculture, manufacturing, retailing and community services).

He now runs his own business assisting organisations transform through the alignment and development of leadership, culture, strategy and performance.

Image of board member Rachael Siddall


Rachael Siddall

Board Member

Rachael an anthropologist with a masters in sustainability has a strong interest in sustainability planning and programming, co design processes and behaviour change and is currently Senior Policy and Program Advisor for the Indigenous Land Corporation.

With over 15 years of experience and expertise in the management and implementation of community and corporate strategic planning and engagement projects, within Australia and overseas, Rachael started her career in the mining industry in indigenous affairs. Moving to work on a native sea claim in the Gulf of Carpentaria exposed Rachael to the dynamics of cultural and environmental management which held her in good stead to later manage a program of works of community education and awareness of River Murray issues for the River Murray Catchment Water Management Board.

Working in Afghanistan with the International Committee of Red Cross saw Rachael working on a water and sanitation project to supply clean fresh water and increase awareness of good hygiene practices amongst the population of Mazar I Sharif, in northern Afghanistan. This was followed by several years designing, developing and implementing a bi-national waste management program between the Australian and Canadian Red Cross in 74 islands in the Maldives after the 2004 Tsunami.

In recent years Rachael has gained experience working at a senior level in local government as the Group Manager of community engagement, strategic planning, governance and communications at the City of Playford and most recently has been managing a behavioural change program in obesity prevention for young children for SA Health at Murray Bridge.

Board member profile

Professor Rob Lewis

Board Member

Rob Lewis has a lifelong commitment to managing and sustainable use of natural resources. He has experience in marine research, research management, public and private sector governance and management and commercialisation of intellectual property. Rob has professorial appointments at the University of Adelaide (Waite Research Institute) and Flinders University. He is Senior Advisor to Flinders Partners Pty Ltd. Previous responsibilities include Director, South Australian Department of Fisheries and CEO, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). Rob holds a BSc (Hon) from Adelaide University and a DSc (honoris causa) from Flinders University for his contribution to the marine sciences and industries. 

In 2003 Rob was awarded a Centenary Medal for services to marine sciences and a 2011 Australian Honours Public Service Medal for services to primary industries research and development. Rob currently sits on a number of boards and councils including the Australian Genome Research Facility, Science Without Bounds Pty Ltd and KJT Lewis Pty Ltd and Trust. Rob is an Honorary Fellow of the SARDI and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering. 

Board member profile


Russell Johnstone

Board Member

Since 1985, Russell has held a wide range of viticultural and environmental sustainability roles in a range of family and corporate wine companies, as well as a research and extension role for several research organisations. As a long-term resident of the Barossa Valley, he has developed a love of the landscape in the region and what it offers. Russell still makes wine and continues his passion for the industry through Winecycle, a consultancy that supports a range of organisations.

As well as his experience in viticulture, Russell has worked with grower communities to achieve better outcomes for pest management at a national level, improved soil management in vineyards at a regional level and drives improved environmental performance for the wine sector.

Russell serves as Secretary on the Council of Trinity College, Gawler, is a member of the management committee of the Barossa Bushgardens and is a member of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia Wine Industry National Environment Committee.

Government representatives

Julia Grant

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

With more than 17 years in public policy Julia has developed a wealth of experience in formulating government responses to policy challenges in the water and climate change portfolios.

Julia was a policy adviser to Premier Mike Rann for over five years and facilitated the passage of Australia’s first climate change legislation.  She then moved to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and was responsible for negotiating and implementing 20 agreements with Industry and Local Government to address climate change challenges.  She is currently responsible for leading the development of government policy solutions to ensure South Australia’s long term water security to meet the State’s economic, environmental and social needs and leads the government’s implementation of South Australia’s Climate Change Strategy.

Current responsibilities include implementation of the Water Industry Act 2012, State Government’s response to the Murray Darling Basin Plan, development of an integrated urban water plan for Adelaide as well as delivery on the Carbon Neutral Adelaide initiative in partnership with Adelaide City Council.

Julia is a member of the SA-Vic Border Groundwaters Agreement Review Committee and the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board and was a member of the Stormwater Management Authority.

Peter Pfennig

Environment Protection Authority

Peter Pfennig is Principal Environment Protection Officer for the Environment Protection Authority of South Australia. He is a graduate of Adelaide University with majors in Botany and Zoology.

Previous work includes the project management of Stage 2 of the Adelaide Coastal Waters Study and the development of the Port Waterways water quality improvement plan. Peter currently leads a team that develops water quality management strategies in South Australia. Recent work includes water quality improvement plans for the Adelaide coast and the Mount Lofty Ranges watershed.

Peter also has a background in the management of marine oil spills and is one of South Australia’s environment and scientific coordinators under the Australian National Plan for Maritime Environmental Emergencies.

Allison Bretones

Local Government Association of South Australia

Allison Bretones has 16 years’ experience working in local government in various strategic planning and management roles, in areas ranging from community crime prevention to recreation, biodiversity and public realm development.

Allison is currently responsible for council’s open space and property assets, and for implementing council’s NRM programs in the City of Charles Sturt, including coastal vegetation management and pest plant and animal management along the coast and the River Torrens Linear Park.

In addition to employment in local government, Allison was Elected Member of both Port Adelaide Enfield and Charles Sturt Councils, the latter as Deputy Mayor. In these elected positions Allison chaired the Finance and Strategic Development Committees of Council.

Allison has also held board positions with numerous non-government organisations including Mental Health, Community Arts, and more recently as CEO of the Football Federation SA.

Trevor Bennett

Primary Industries and Regions SA

Trevor has extensive experience in regional economic development and has been with the state government since 2007, working across all South Australian regions. Prior to this, Trevor spent five years working within the Regional Development Board framework. He has formal qualifications in Management, Information Technology and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Trevor has previously owned and operated businesses in the agribusiness and hospitality sectors and has a good understanding of the opportunities and challenges that small businesses face and how government can support these sectors.

Trevor has undertaken numerous project management roles within government, including projects in the mining and energy sector, community consultation and economic diversification.

James Crocker

SA Water

James has a Bachelor of Environmental Management from the University of Adelaide, and has extensive experience working in the environmental management and natural resource management fields. James is currently managing SA Water’s Environment Services Unit, which has state-wide responsibility for planning and overseeing SA Water’s Land and Fire Management program, as well as management of cultural heritage, catchment and water resources, water and environmental licensing, environmental impact assessments, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainability.

Prior to commencing with SA Water, James worked for the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) for 18 years, primarily in roles involving public land management and commercial site management. He has worked in several regions of the state, including Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges, Kangaroo Island and the South East. For a period of time, James led DEWNR’s Fire Management Program in the Mount Lofty Ranges, and still remains actively involved with fire management as an accredited Level 3 Incident Controller and an active volunteer with the Country Fire Service.

Related links

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges