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 image - Allan Sumner

Allan Sumner

Board Member

Allan has over 20 years experience in working for SA Government, both in the private sector and community organisations.
Allan's Clinical background includes employment in organisations such as SA Health, Aboriginal Health Council SA, APOSS, City of Onkaparinga Council and Flinders University.

Allan is also the Director of his own local SA business, Aboriginal Contemporary Arts (ACA), which was established in 2008 specialising in Aboriginal art, carvings, sculptures, graphic design, cultural workshops and tours, education and training. ACA cultural education is broad but is specific to the Ngarrindjeri and Kaurna peoples of the Adelaide Plains, South Australia.

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 broadscale farming.

Alexi has been a member of several boards and committees, including the Soil Conservation Board on a local level, the Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women and Equestrian Australia, among others, on a national level. She has also worked as a facilitator for various producer driven, industry funded projects.

Alexi, Nic and their children have moved to the Adelaide Hills, where Alexi brings a practical, sustainable, agricultural focus to natural resources management in the Adelaide and the Mount Lofty Ranges.

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 the 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. 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 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.

Board member image - Trudi Meakins

Trudi Meakins

Board Member

Trudi grew up on a mixed grape growing and sheep grazing property in the Barossa Ranges and has a degree in Urban and Regional Geography and Public Policy from the University of Adelaide.

Her broad experience as a senior executive in the Australian and South Australian public sectors includes roles managing the Australian Government’s regional development policy and programs and leading South Australian Government’s transport policy and planning. Trudi has extensive board and committee experience, including nine years as a member of South Australia’s Coast Protection Board.

Vicki Russell Board Member

Vicki-Jo Russell

Board Member

Vicki-Jo Russell is passionate about nature, sustainable natural resource management and the people who work to achieve it. In 2014, her service to NRM over twenty-five years was acknowledged when she was the recipient of the SA Premier’s NRM Award. And she was awarded an Order of Australia earlier in her career for service to threatened species recovery and community engagement in nature conservation.

Vicki-Jo is currently a senior manager for Trees For Life and co-chairs the Nature of SA initiative. She has also worked in significant roles for WWF-Australia, Conservation SA, the Australian Marine and Coastal Society and Zoos SA. She has also served on a number of the boards and advisory bodies including the Australian Landcare Council, National Wildlife Corridor Plan Advisory Board, Natural Resources Management Council, Ministerial Advisory Committee on Volunteering, and National Parks and Wildlife Council.

Vicki-Jo previously served on the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board from 2010 to 2014.

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.


Local Government Association of South Australia

Daniel Casement

Primary Industries and Regions SA

Daniel Casement as Executive Director of Rural Solutions SA ensures a customer-driven focus on regional program development and delivery, community-led policy and modern-day extension programs.

Daniel has experience in working in culturally sensitive areas through work with Australian Aboriginal communities and throughout Asia and the Pacific. In recent years Daniel has applied his knowledge and experience to leading Rural Solutions capacity to develop and deliver major programs like the $265m South Australian River Murray Sustainability Program, and the development of the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme.

Daniel leads highly skilled project teams in areas as diverse as land and soil management, agricultural production, project and grants management, food demand chains, Aboriginal and community engagement, international development programs and climate adaptation.

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