Nature Conservation

Nature Conservation was established in 2002 and is one of six natural resource management groups operating in the south west of Western Australia. Originally known as the Cape to Cape Catchments Group, its activities evolved over time from a specific focus on the health of rivers and creeks to encompass the protection of all biodiversity values in the Margaret River region.

This integrated, whole-of-system approach to regional conservation was reflected in a change of name to Nature Conservation Margaret River Region in 2017. Concurrently new appointments were made to an expanded Board of Directors, the Constitution amended and more focus placed on developing strategies to increase community engagement in conservation activities.
Nature Conservation is an independent, community-based, not-for-profit organisation. It works to combine the grassroots support of the regional community with sound conservation science and pragmatic policy initiatives to achieve sustainable environmental outcomes.

This is reflected in a commitment to community consultation, collaborative partnerships and coordinated action as a means to developing effective solutions to regional environmental problems. To this end Nature Conservation undertakes an integrated program of activities including planning, monitoring, research, on-ground action, awareness raising, education and capacity building critical to the ongoing social, economic and environmental well-being of the Margaret River region.

Our Vision

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region has a clear vision for the Margaret River region – A healthy and biodiverse natural environment supporting the livelihoods and lifestyles on which our community depends.

Our mission is – As the PREMIER nature conservation group, work with our community to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Margaret River region.

Board of Directors

The Board are all volunteers who meet on a regular basis. They are responsible for overseeing the strategic direction of the organisation and are committed to maintaining high standards of governance and accountability.

Dr John Cresswell | Chair

John is a retired researcher working most recently with the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). John completed a PhD at Curtin University in 1998 and from 2000 until 2009 managed OECD education assessment and monitoring projects both in Australia and in Paris. He moved to Margaret River in 2013.

Dr Boyd Wykes | Deputy Chair

After completing PhD research at Monash University Boyd pursued a career in environmental science in WA as an academic, educator and environmental manager for the Department of Defence. Since retiring to Margaret River in 2011 he contributes his time, passion and expertise to Nature Conservation and Birdlife WA.

Stuart Hicks AO | Secretary

Chair of South West Development Commission 2011-17 Stuart previously headed various government agencies, including Transperth, the Department of Transport, and Department of Marine and Harbours. He also served as a commissioner of the WA Planning Commission, Chair of the National Transport Commission and Chair of the East Perth Redevelopment Authority.

Margaret Moir | Treasurer

A retired farmer and businesswoman Margaret is a long-term Margaret River resident and a founding member of the Cape to Cape Catchments Group (now Nature Conservation). She is currently President of the SW Capes Branch of the Wildflower Society of WA.

Professor Carmen Lawrence

Former Premier of Western Australia (1990 – 93), Member for Fremantle in House of Representatives (1994-2007) and Minister for Human Services and Health (1994-96), Chair of the Australian Heritage Council (2010-2016), Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Change in the School of Psychological Science at the University of Western Australia and President of the Conservation Council of WA (current). Carmen now has a bush retreat in the Margaret River region and visits regularly.

Steven Castan

Steven is a lawyer, mediator, businessman, & master of ceremonies. The Castan family moved from Melbourne and settled in Margaret River several years ago after being entranced by the beauty of the Margaret River Region. Steven is the current President of the Margaret River Chamber of Commerce & Industry, as well as being an avid bird photographer & nature enthusiast.

Steve Harrison

Steve is currently Join Chief Executive Officer for the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association and has a background in education, commerce, local and state government.

Jarrad Clark

Jarrad has been working hands-on in the biological sciences since 2001, within tertiary and government research roles and in private consulting. For the last 10 years he has designed, implemented and managed a large number and diverse range of fauna survey projects throughout Western Australia, with Phoenix Environmental Sciences, the business he founded in 2008.

Dr Ann Ward

Ann Ward recently moved to Margaret River from the Kimberley where she has spent the last 26 years as a rural GP Obstetrican. Prior to that she was a Flying Doctor in Meekatharra for 3 years. She has a passion for bushwalking in wild areas and has worked in various capacities in the Himalaya, Antarctica, the Arctic and Tonga.  Ann has now made Margaret River her home.

Nature Conservation Staff

Caroline Hughes | Executive Officer

Fran Dohring | Administration & Finance Officer

Drew McKenzie | Biodiversity Officer

Lyndsey Cox | Research & Citizen Science Officer

Genevieve Hanran-Smith | Arum Lily Campaign Officer

Katie Biggs | Margaret River Protection Officer / Volunteer Engagement Officer

Michelle Keppel | ‘Our Patch’ Environmental Education Officer

Tracey Muir | ‘Adopt a Spot’ Program Officer

Chiara Danese |Landowner Engagement Officer

Nature Conservation Partners and Supporters

Nature Conservation seeks to leverage the strength of the regional community by raising awareness, inspiring commitment and empowering action on behalf of the environment.

To this end it develops and nurtures a diverse network of supporters within the Margaret River region. This includes strong grassroots support from individuals and local businesses , teams of dedicated volunteers and citizen scientists, a network of strategic partnerships as well as collaborative working relationships with Federal, State, and local government agencies.

Nature Conservation wishes to thank the following groups and organisation for their support during 2017-18.

Strategic Partners

Augusta Margaret River Shire Council
South West Catchments Council
Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association
Margaret River Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Margaret River Wine Association
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development
Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
Gondwana Link
Murdoch University Freshwater Fish Group
Edith Cowan University
Lower Blackwood Landcare
Geographe Catchments Council
Birdlife WA and Cape to Cape Bird Group

Community and Business Supporters

Nature Conservation Members and Donors
Nature Conservation Volunteers
Friends of Reserves
Rotary Club of Margaret River
Cowaramup Lions Club
‘Our Patch’ Participating Schools
Voyager Estate
Cape Mentelle Wines
Cullen Wines
Hairy Marron Café
Brewhouse Margaret River
Commonwealth Bank Margaret River
Busselton Possum Centre
Settlers Tavern
Margaret River Distilling Company
Proactive Taxation Solutions
The Larder, Margaret River
Sustainable Settlements Pty Ltd
Grape Escape SW Tours

Supporting Grant Programs

Shire of Augusta Margaret River’s Environmental Management Fund
State Natural Resource Management Program
Federal Government National Landcare Program

A special thank you to Christian Fletcher for use of a number of his stunning photographs of the Margaret River region on www.natureconservation.org.au and other organisational products.