The Board & team

Our Board

Our Board is made up of eight volunteer Directors who collectively guide the direction of the Foundation and liaise with project stakeholders.

Directors of the Board are appointed for terms of one to three years to ensure creative stimulus is maintained and the broadest range of community skills and experience engaged. One is an elected Noosa Shire Councillor, a requirement of the Trust.

Fiona Berkin


Fiona is an accomplished, outcome driven CEO with a significant portfolio that demonstrates the achievement of outstanding results. Her focus is on purpose-led leadership,  which facilitates cultural transformation and oneness and unity with stakeholders, producing better outcomes faster.

After a successful corporate career as the CEO growing a facilities management company to 2000+ employees and spanning more than 20 years, Fiona had a pressing desire to serve humanity and our planet. A new chapter began when she was appointed as the CEO of Destiny Rescue Australia and Director of Strategy Destiny Rescue International, a non-profit INGO renowned for its success in the fight against child trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Her interest in the environment and how to balance its protection with societal needs, resulted in her being chosen as an Advisor to the NBRF Board. Fiona is excited about the opportunity to enrich collaboration with the many community groups that are all working, ultimately, towards a united cause. She will help facilitate the mapping of common purpose and vision, and utilise the NBRF strengths to multiply efforts in enhancing the Noosa Biosphere Reserve.

Linda Venables

Deputy Chair

Linda is an international executive with 35 years’ experience building and leading teams across Retail, FMCG, Industrial and 3rd Party Logistics sectors, with core competencies spanning business transformation, technology integration and automation deployment, Logistics and end-to-end Supply Chain.

She is passionate about partnering with integrity, internally and with external customers and service/vendor partners – and defining and delivering ‘win-win’ solutions that create new value.

Able to inspire a healthy culture with high levels of engagement, Linda is known and recognised as a ‘values-based’ leader who is passionate about safety, high performing teams and the proactive management of risk.

With strong business development and B2B relationship development experience, Linda is skilled in establishing and delivering large transformational programs, including mergers, acquisition and divestment, adept at leading negotiations and change management.

Dr Tom Wegener

Cr Tom Wegener

Board Director & Noosa Council Representative

Cr Wegener brings his expertise as a sustainable surfboard manufacturer, academic and environmental lawyer to the NBRF Board as Noosa Council’s representative. For the past 20 years, Tom has run his internationally successful and multiple award-winning surfboard business in Noosa. His bespoke, highly sought-after boards have led the surfboard industry to greener manufacturing processes.

Tom holds a PhD in the sustainability of small manufacturers in Australia of which his findings were published in his book, Surfboard Artisans For The Love. Tom brought his real-world experience in sustainable manufacturing to academia and his body of work continues to grow through Australia and with projects in Papua New Guinea, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Prior to coming to Noosa, Tom graduated from the University of California San Diego with a BA in Philosophy and a Jurist Doctorate from the University of San Diego School of Law. Tom focused on environmental law and worked for Greenpeace as well as starting the Environmental Law Society.  His concentration was on good regulation in sustaining and improving the environment.

Prof Ian Lowe

Board Director

Ian Lowe is an emeritus professor in the School of Environment and Science at Griffith University. His degrees include a doctorate in physics from University of York, a Doctor of Science from University of NSW and two honorary doctorates. His publications include 15 books, over 50 book chapters and more than 50 journal articles. A former president of Australian Science Communicators, he has also written regular columns for a range of periodicals including New Scientist and The Weekend Australian.

Ian has served on a wide range of advisory bodies for all levels of government, including the national energy research council, the council advising the nuclear regulator, the expert advisory committee to the South Australian Royal Commission on the nuclear industry and the environmental health council. He chaired the advisory council which produced the first independent national report on the state of the environment in 1996, as well as chairing Queensland Conservation Council for three years and Brisbane City Council’s environment advisory committee for five years. He was recently re-appointed to the board of Health and Wellbeing Queensland.

Ian has received many awards for his work including the Queensland Millennium Award for Excellence in Science, the Prime Minister’s Environmental Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement and the Konrad Lorenz Gold Medal for contributions to sustainable futures. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 and elected a Fellow of the Academy of Technology and Engineering in 2005. He moved to the Sunshine Coast twenty years ago and is Patron of the Sunshine Coast Environment Council.

Jennifer Black

Board Director

Jennifer is a strategist and an innovative change maker. With over 25 years’ driving reforms, she specialises in innovation, collaboration, and environment. Jennifer works with partners from across sectors to leverage investment and capital for common goals, having achieved an extensive portfolio of environmental economics across life sciences, nature conservation, and energy reduction. As well as building economies for entrepreneurs’, start-ups, small businesses and in the tourism sector.

Jennifer holds has an honours degree in natural systems and wildlife management where she has led many reforms to secure land, sea and sky protection or sustainable use in Queensland. She works closely with Aboriginal and Torres’s Strait Islander people and values their perspectives to enrich our common future. She also works closely with businesses and change makers from all sectors to shift towards a new reality.

Jennifer lives in Noosa, with her husband, teenage children, and dogs, as well as their local Glossy Black-Cockatoos who frequent her yard.

Peter Hunnam

Board Director

Peter is a local ecologist and environmental scientist, living in Tewantin with partner Valerie, diving, sailing, kayaking, and singing when time allows and both active members of numerous local groups. Peter has been a Member of the NBRF for the past ten years and is a Board Director for the second time. He is particularly interested in people living close to nature, building local ecological knowledge, using and developing local natural resources in ecologically sensitive and sustainable ways.

Peter brings to the Board more than 40 years’ professional experience in the development and management of conservation and sustainable development programs comparable to Biosphere Reserves. These span a wide range of socio-economic and ecological settings, and include integrated conservation & development projects, Marine Parks, LMMAs, biodiverse landscapes and other multi-use schemes, as well as conventional protected areas. He has specialised in the design and monitoring, evaluation and adaptive management of these complex programs and in using participatory research and planning tools to build local capacity.

Peter has written umpteen management reviews and evaluations, policies and plans, and also two books on life in water, The Living Aquarium and the Marine Life of Aqaba – he would like to write more.

Bill Allan

Board Director

Bill has 50 years’ experience in business Finance and 25 years in Board Governance. He holds professional memberships with Institute of Public Accountants, Taxation Institute of Australia, Governance Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Management and Fundraising Institute of Australia.

He is currently CFO and Company Secretary for Destiny Rescue Limited, a charity organisation based on the Sunshine Coast. He chose this role to be a part of a humanitarian cause to rescue children in need. Bill sees the Noosa Biosphere Reserve as a fantastic initiative, which will not only bring balance and sustainability to the region – but will also save the area for future generations. He is excited at the prospect of being involved with a Biosphere model that could be duplicated around Australia and the world.

Bill Allan is the current CFO for Destiny Rescue and comes with over 50 years of governance, IT and financial expertise. He holds professional memberships with Institute of Public Accountants, Taxation Institute of Australia, Governance Institute of Australia, Australian Institute of Management and Fundraising Institute of Australia.

Sonia Shillington

Board Advisor – Marketing

Sonia Shillington is a senior marketing leader with a rich history of representing prominent global and domestic brands for almost twenty years. Sonia’s affiliation with NBRF began during her tenure as Head of Marketing and Events for Tourism Noosa, where she spearheaded the strategic vision and rollout of Noosa’s ‘Enter the Biosphere’ campaign, which emerged as Tourism Noosa’s most successful marketing campaign at the time.

It was through this campaign work that Sonia was immersed in learning about the Man and the Biosphere projects, gaining profound insights into their far-reaching impacts on the Noosa region. She came to recognise the pivotal role played by the resident, visitor and business communities in shaping the future of the Noosa Biosphere, and future-proofing our UNESCO status.

Both MBA-qualified and a nature-enthusiast, Sonia brings a depth of knowledge of the Noosa region and expert marketing leadership to the NBRF program as Board Advisor.

Our team

Garry Hamilton

Program Manager

Garry joined the NBRF in October after leaving his position as a development manager for utility scale renewable energy projects.

Passionate about the environment and sustainability, Garry has amassed experience in environmental impacts and potential resolution opportunities through three decades of working in the sector across three continents.

With a first degree in Forestry and a Masters in Environmental Management obtained at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, Garry has been passionate about the conservation of the natural environment his entire life

Career highlights include initiating, growing and managing an environmental consulting company in Vancouver, Canada; progressing a number of wind energy projects from initiation to operation (totalling over 4 gigawatts of output); management of stakeholder groups focused on policy development and evolution, volunteering for many environmental not for profit organisations and building meaningful relationships with First Nations communities.

Garry is passionate about protecting and conserving the Noosa Shire for the current and future generations and is grateful to be part of such a proactive and dedicated team. He is excited about the opportunities the NBRF have in playing an integral part towards achieving this goal.

Chabuca Barnes


Chabuca is a dynamic professional with experience as a consultant, partnership manager and project manager across a range of Sustainability and International Development issues. With a strong aptitude for problem-solving and a talent for fostering collaboration, Chabuca has navigated diverse roles, from managing multinational partnerships and delivering advisory services at CSR Europe in Brussels, to coordinating multi-country projects and leveraging strategic alliances at VSO in London. Coupled with a post-graduate Master’s degree in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, this has cultivated a profound understanding of global sustainability issues and a desire to drive sustainable solutions to challenges we face on our own doorstep.

Chabuca moved to the Sunshine Coast a few years ago with her family and is keen to use her skills to support NBRF and actively engage in protecting and building resilience of our unique environment and community here on the Coast.