About The Jane Goodall Institute Australia

The Jane Goodall Institute Australia (JGIA) has a vision for an Australia where all young people are equipped for custodial leadership of our shared environment.

This is underpinned by our purpose which is to inspire hope and action, through education, for a sustainable planet.

Every day, we strive to deliver our vision with a mission to educate, empower and inspire young people to take positive action for animals, people and the environment.

JGIA defines education in the broadest sense. It includes schools, tertiary, community, mentorship, peer support, training and all processes that create an experience that facilitates learning and actions.

JGIA is one of 25 global chapters of the Jane Goodall Institute. Since 2007, JGIA has grown from a small volunteer led organisation, into a medium sized charity of seven staff and a volunteer pool of around 80 people. Over that time, JGIA has established solid governance and financial foundations that has enabled it to stablise, grow and expand its impact.


The Jane Goodall Institute Australia (JGIA) was founded in 2007 and is an Australian non-profit and registered environmental organisation.

JGIA has a vision for an Australia where all young people are equipped for custodial leadership of our shared environment.

This is underpinned by our purpose which is to inspire hope and action, through education, for a sustainable planet.

Every day, we strive to deliver our vision with a mission to educate, empower and inspire young people to take positive action for animals, people and the environment.


Dr Jane Goodall DBE, world-renowned ethologist, humanitarian, conservationist and UN Messenger of Peace, founded the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977. We now have offices in 25 countries around the world.

In 1991, Jane launched her youth program, Roots & Shoots in Tanzania. Today, Roots & Shoots has a presence in over 66 countries, delivering 12,000 projects and reaching 1.47M young people.


We work to promote the conservation of chimpanzees and other great apes (as our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom) and, through our Roots & Shoots (R&S) program, aim to empower the next generation to be socially and environmentally conscious citizens of our shared planet.

Our Programs

At JGIA We Have Two Main Program Areas That We Support And Fund.

Australian Programs

Our Roots & Shoots Program empowers young Australians and equips them with the tools, motivation and support they need to address the problems that matter most to them. We create an ever expanding network of Australians, connected with their global counterparts, who are inspired to be change-making global citizens. Our Roots & Shoots members can apply for a mini grant to fund their projects.

African Programs

Our Africa Programs conserve and protect chimpanzees, natural habitat and surrounding communities in Africa. Our community centered conservation programs include a range of activities from basic needs such as education, health and water sanitation to park rangers who protect animals from poachers. We also support chimpanzee sanctuaries which provide a lifelong home for orphaned animals.

Head Office

James Forbes

Prior to joining JGIA as CEO, James held senior marketing and fundraising roles with the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, Nature Conservation Trust of NSW and WWF-Australia.

Along with operating his own consulting business, Forbes Philanthropy & Marketing, James is a Senior Associate with Global Philanthropic and a Marketing Advisor with Food Frontier. He is the co-author of a peer reviewed paper, ‘Monitoring and evaluating the social and psychological dimensions that contribute to privately protected area program effectiveness’. In 2019 James was appointed to the Board of the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group – an on-ground organisation protecting and enhancing wetlands throughout Australia’s largest inland river system.

Marileze Buys
General Manager | Operations & Programs

Marileze Buys joined the JGIA team in July 2021. She has a post-graduate degree in Psychology and over 14 years of experience in the not-for-profit industry.

She has held senior roles in operations, fundraising, program as well as financial management. In Marileze’s previous role as the Deputy Director of the Pebbles Project Trust she worked across sectors in education, health care, nutrition and community development. Her love of conservation stems from her childhood in Africa, plus her time working in East Africa where she had the opportunity to track gorillas and chimpanzees in the wild.

Ralph Scott
Finance Manager

Ralph joined JGIA in August 2019 and has more than fifteen years experience in senior financial management roles in the not-for-profit sector and previous experience as an auditor and financial analyst.

Most recently he led the development and growth of disability and aged care programs with the Sydney Region Aboriginal Corporation. Ralph is a Chartered Accountant and has previously served as Treasurer on the board of the NSW Environmental Defenders Office.

Jessica Oliver
Fundraising & Communications Coordinator

With over 10 years experience in the NGO sector, Jess brings her expertise within the fundraising and community engagement sector to drive successful fundraising campaigns from the field to the audience.

A passionate animal welfare and environmental advocate, and a background as a qualified journalist, Jess understands the power of effective communication and uses it to document stories related to environmental conservation and humanitarian causes.

An experienced fundraiser, with a deep understanding of how to connect the hearts of our audience with the pressing needs of the field. Her extensive experience in fundraising and community engagement allows her to craft compelling campaigns that bridge the gap between the mission and those who support it.

Beyond her work at JGIA, you’ll often find Jess in the company of rescue animals, proving that her commitment to animals’ welfare isn’t limited to her professional life. She’s not just a champion for change; she’s a hands-on advocate, always ready to lend a helping hand to animals, people and environmental causes, both across Australia and overseas.

Natasha Coutts
Africa Programs Manager

Originally joining JGIA as a volunteer in 2012, Natasha has been leading our Africa Programs since 2017.

She brings to the role a strong background in science and education, and a wealth of experience in conservation focused field research. In addition to her role with JGIA, Natasha is a final year PhD candidate with the University of Western Australia, where she studies the socioecology, health, and conservation of wild eastern chimpanzees across Rwanda. In February 2020 she returned to Australia after two years in the field collecting data on their feeding and social behaviour, their habitat, and collecting faecal samples for gut microbiome and genetic analyses.

Ben Howes
Roots & Shoots Volunteer And Program Manager

An environmental educator, avid bushwalker and keen gardener, Ben has been part of the JGIA family since 2017.

His passion to equip young leaders to drive local conservation efforts has extended from Victorian coastal ecosystems to geographical field research across South East Asia, with rich experience in the education and community development sectors. Ben has worked in education research at the University of Melbourne, partnering with Indigenous educators across Learning on Country and STEM education initiatives, and most recently was JGIA’s first full time State Coordinator 2020 to 2021, before moving to the Program Manager role.

Abbie Mitchell
Resources Manager | Education Programs

As an environmental educator Abbie has lead programs for NSW NPWS and EcoXplore.

Founding Kids Connecting Nature in 2015 she delivers curriculum-aligned environmental school programs, as well as workshops for government and community groups. Her academic book A Hollow is a Home (CSIRO) explains complex conservation issues and scientific concepts via introducing young readers to hollow-using animals. Her passion as an educator is deeply influenced by her bushland upbringing and she strives to empower people to understand, celebrate and foster biodiversity.

Andrea Stiglingh
ReWild Your School Workshop Facilitator (South Australia)

Andrea is a Graduate Ecologist and Environmental Scientist in Adelaide, South Australia.

She completed a Bachelor of Science (Natural Resources), Bachelor of Soil Science (Honours) and PhD in Environmental Science at the University of Adelaide.

Andrea’s passion for the environment and love for Australian ecology has driven her involvement in various conservation research and habitat restoration projects across urban and regional Australia.

Corinne Bowman
Administration Coordinator

An experience project manager, Corinne brings with her a Post Graduate degree in primary education with majors in environmental conservation and zoology.

She has a passion for social work, fostering dogs and self sustainability.

Corinne first started working with the Jane Goodall Institute in 2005 while living in Hong Kong.

In her role as General Manager (JGI-HK), she hosted the first ever Roots & Shoots Asia Pacific Summit in 2010 which saw over 2000 students from the region gather to collaborate and learn over the 3-day event.

After returning to Australia, she worked with the JGIA team as Roots & Shoots Coordinator before leaving to become a mum. Since that time, she has co-founded a global edtech start-up, Class Creator, developing strong communication, organisation, and marketing skills.

She is excited to once again be a part of the JGIA family and brings to the role a passion for making positive change in the world.

Our Board

Tim Lo Surdo
Board Chair

Tim is the founder of Democracy in Colour, Australia’s first anti-racism and economic fairness organisation led by people of colour.

Before starting Democracy in Colour, he worked with low-paid workers to set up Hospo Voice, a new union in hospitality. Previously, Tim was the Head of Campaigns at Oaktree, a senior adviser to two Senators, the Campaigns Director at Jhatkaa, the National Communications Director at UN Youth Australia, and co-founded Open Sky. Tim has served as a Non-Executive Director on 17 Boards and was appointed in 2020 as one of 17 UN Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Hugh Wareham
Board Director

Hugh Wareham is an environmental and conservation professional with more than 25 years-experience in the not for profit and government sectors in Australia and the UK.

Previous roles have included the CEO of ECO-Buy Limited and Interim CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions. Currently Head of Australian Government Relations for Greening Australia Hugh delivers policy and large-scale programs across the landscape of Australia in partnership with government. Hugh is a graduate of Liverpool University (BSc Marine Biology) and University of Plymouth (MSc Applied Fish Biology), has a Diploma in Governance from the Institute of Community Directors and is an alumni of Leadership Victoria’s Folio program.

Emma Pollard
Company Secretary

With over 15 years professional experience, Emma is passionate about supporting the growth and strategic development of for-purpose organisations.

Emma is the Chief Executive Officer and Company Secretary of The Humour Foundation, a national charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable Australians. Emma previously served as Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary at the Climate Council, and spent 9 years at Taronga Conservation Society Australia in a variety of roles. She led the development and operation of the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning, also establishing the Taronga / University of Sydney Education Alliance. Emma is a Graduate of the Institute of Company Directors (GAICD), has undergraduate degrees in law and finance, plus postgraduate qualifications in environmental law and tertiary education management.

Nick Boyle
Board Director

Nick Boyle has 20 years’ experience working in the wildlife conservation sector.

He currently holds the position of Divisional Director of Animal Welfare, Conservation and Science at Taronga Conservation Society Australia, with responsibilities for Taronga’s Wildlife Hospitals, conservation and science programs and sustainability and environmental leadership across all sites.

Nick has represented Australia in United Nations congresses aimed at preventing the illegal trade in wild animals, sits on state and federal roundtables addressing the recovery of wildlife following floods and bushfires, and serves on a number of conservation and animal welfare-based boards and committees. Nick has undergraduate degrees in biological sciences, communications and law.

Dan Smith
Board Director

Dan Smith is a General Manager of Strategy & Commercial at technology company Versent, responsible for developing commercial strategies and managing risk and governance.

He is an experienced executive with a background in IT strategy, technology and digital transformation. Dan is extremely passionate about animals, nature and conservation of the environment, and is determined in helping organisations drive purposeful impact. Dan is a Chartered Accountant (CAANZ) and holds an undergraduate degree in Commerce (Information Systems) from the University of New South Wales.

Zane Pratt
Board Director

Zane is a Saltwater Biripi man who was raised on, and is connected to Dharawal country in the Royal National Park south of Sydney.

An alumnus of the University of Technology Sydney (BBus Finance), and Melbourne Business School (MURRA Generation 12), Zane currently works at Indigenous Business Australia as a Senior Analyst in the Direct Investments team with a focus around renewable energy and sustainability.

Marsha Beck
Board Director

Marsha is an accomplished executive leader and non-executive director, driven by passion, purpose and results.

Over 20 years, Marsha has held senior roles across the financial services sector, leading change and driving innovation across sustainability, strategy, and customer initiatives.

Marsha is a life-long learner who believes in the transformative power of education.

Kris Anderson
Board Director

Kristine Anderson has over 15 years’ leadership experience in the not for profit and corporate sectors and is a passionate advocate for nature.

Kristine’s career spans Australia and the Asia Pacific. She is Director, Organisational Strategy at The Nature Conservancy Australia, and has held senior roles in Philanthropy and Marketing at the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network and Social Ventures Australia. This followed a corporate marketing career with PwC’s consulting arm Strategy&, working across Asia.

Kristine has an MBA (AGSM), a Bachelor of Business (UTS) and studied towards a Masters of Environmental Management (UNSW). She has a Governance Foundations for NFP Directors from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Roots & Shoots Volunteers

Bill Waterer
Western Australia State Coordinator

Bill has been involved with Roots & Shoots since 2006. Prior to this he was with The Orangutan Project for 11 years.

As JGIA’s Western Australian Coordinator, Bill’s team of volunteers have built a number of groups, including up to thirty plus Scouts, totalling to over 10000 people involved in the State. Bill also held the role of National Coordinator for close to three years. He is married with two children and five grandchildren. In 2019 Bill was also awarded the Order of Australia medal for his incredible services to endangered animals.

Debbie Tanzer
Darling Downs and South West Queensland State Coordinator

Debbie Tanzer is a qualified Counsellor and is currently in her second year of working towards a Bachelor of Counselling degree.

Debbie has also completed a certificate in Wildlife Management. She joined JGIA in 2018 after
hearing Dr Jane speak in Brisbane in 2017. Debbie has always had a love of nature, animals and the environment and she hopes to merge her counselling knowledge with nature in the future. She has two adult children who have now flown the nest, and two rescue cats. She lives in Westbrook Queensland, a little village just outside Toowoomba. Debbie also work part time at St Vincent’s Private Hospital as the Volunteer Coordinator.

Jessica Vize
Victoria State Coordinator

Jess has a love of nature and spending time outdoors, whether that be hiking, sailing or camping.

Jess began her journey with JGIA as a member of the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) and as a member of the Victorian Roots & Shoots Team in 2022, before starting the State Coordinator Role in 2023. Jess is passionate about the interplay with environmental and social issues and is currently studying a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology) and Deakin University. Jess also works as an Environmental Educator at the Gould League, teaching primary school students about the importance of sustainability and conservation.

Lit Wei Chin
NSW State Coordinator

Lit Wei has been our NSW State Coordinator for Roots & Shoots since October 2023.

Born in Malaysia, grew up in New Zealand and relocated to Sydney in January 2022. In his free time, Lit Wei is an enthusiastic hiker and globetrotter who has backpacked across Europe, Asia, and Australia, with a passion for continuing his explorations. He also enjoys running and playing squash.

He has dedicated many years to youth advocacy and has been involved in local and regional youth boards while in Auckland. His impact extended globally as he represented New Zealand at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2021 and participated in international youth forums in China and Japan. His passion lies in uniting people to address climate issues, empower the youth, and drive meaningful change.

Professionally, Lit Wei serves as a Senior Policy Officer in Circular Economy within the Office of Energy and Climate Change in the NSW Government. His previous roles have involved working in climate change and sustainability in the public and private sector in Australia and NZ.

Miranda Braakhuis
Queensland State Coordinator

Miranda is an ecologist who works alongside detection dogs to research and protect threatened species (like the koala) and their habitats.

She is based in the Sunshine Coast, and enjoys all things outdoors – hiking, biking, swimming, birding, spotlighting and camping.

Miranda first joined JGIA in 2022 through the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) program, and became Queensland State Coordinator later that year. She is passionate about community-driven nature conservation and also volunteers with Intrepid Landcare.

Miranda is motivated to make the world a more just and sustainable place, and strongly believes in empowering the next generation through Roots & Shoots programs and events.

Joanne Carroll –
Northern Territory State Coordinator

A lifelong animal and nature lover and a mother of two young boys, Joanne joined the JGI family in late 2022 to help Northern Territorian families connect with and care for nature.

As a previous veterinarian nurse, crocodile keeper, and tour guide, Jo enjoys both caring for and educating others about respecting all living creatures. Jo is currently a full-time zookeeper with hands-on knowledge of both exotic and native species and is currently studying for a degree in Environmental science with a focus on wildlife management. By joining JGI Roots and Shoots, Jo hopes to encourage children, young people, and families to make everyday changes to create a better future for our natural world.

Nila Taylor
Global Campaign Coordinator: Dear World Project

Nila joined the Roots & Shoots Victoria team as one of the three Global Campaign Coordinators for the Dear World (TM) project, which she have been a part of for the last two years.

Her involvement in the Jane Goodall Institute, however, spans 10 years in total, with the highlight being representing New Zealand at the global Roots & Shoots gathering at Windsor Castle in 2018. In her professional life, she is a wildlife & zoo veterinary surgeon, and graduate researcher in One Health at The University of Melbourne. Her Roots & Shoots journey started as part of a local group at Wellington Zoo, born from the inspiration that Dr Jane brought to New Zealand on her tour.

Phuong To
National Youth Leadership Council Coordinator

Phuong is a Bachelor of Science and Arts student at Monash University.

She majors in Environmental Science and Human Geography and aspires to make a positive change in the environment. Phuong has been with JGIA since 2022, starting on the National Youth Leadership Council, and now supporting the NYLC as a coordinator. The NYLC program has connected her with youth all around Australia to help them build skills towards a career in conservation and develop leadership capabilities. With the Victorian R&S Team, she has supported many of their events that support the community and environment.

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