The Werribee River Association has become a professional environmental agency, with a team of part-time staff and a board of management that is guided by strategic priorities, a business plan and has its sights on creating a new environmental hub for Melbourne’s West.
John Forrester - Riverkeeper and Board Secretary
John is a well-known community champion for the Werribee River and he has been instrumental in leading the way for the development of the Association. John has made a significant impact to the Werribee River catchment through direct action, advocacy and education. His involvement and support for waterways reform now spans almost thirty years. When not at his desk, John can be found surveying the river environs, bird watching and platypus spotting.
Kathryn Williams – Chairperson
Kath is an environmental scientist who has worked in environmental assessment and management for over 15 years. Kath loves teamwork and is a calming force within the Association. She volunteers with a number of organisations including TreeProject and Rotary, is raising two beautiful children and enjoys attending WRA planting days and Beach Patrol.
Rob Bradley – Deputy Chair
Rob is passionate about caring for our environment and deeply concerned about the biodiversity loss of the western grasslands species. Since 2012 Rob has been involved in litter work and advocacy on single use plastic reform. He is the convenor of the Justice Taskforce at Crossroad Uniting Church, has a productive food garden and occasionally can been seen driving around town in his collectable vehicle.
John Marks – Board Member
John is a long-time environmentalist and community activist. John is the guy you call when you want something done. John leads the Friends of Cobbledicks Ford and is a regular contributor to other clean-up groups and Landcare activities. His skills and contacts span business, gardening, and boating. John is passionate about getting more people on the waterways.
Adrian Cloonan – Board Member
Adrian has been active in the environmental sector for over 50 years. His professional roles include lecturer with Victoria University, guide with Werribee Open Range Zoo and kayak tour operator along the lower Werribee River. Now retired, Adrian is involved in various committees and boards, including the Tree Project. Adrian and his wife live in a passive solar mudbrick house that they built themselves in the 1980s, in central Werribee, and are long term members of the Association.
Liesl Verity – Treasurer
Liesl is an experienced risk, governance and tax professional and is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow member of The Tax Institute. Liesl also has post graduate qualifications in psychology and business management and is passionate about supporting separating families, children and women, as a coaching professional. Liesl is a dedicated mother to her young daughter, and is a regular attendee to the Beach Patrol 3030 clean-up group.
Dr Will Buchanan - Board Member
Dr Will Buchanan is currently the Chief Scientist at a Victorian water corporation and manages a multi-disciplinary team with a wide range of responsibilities. Will’s background is in environmental science and has a doctorate in chemical engineering. Will understands the challenges and opportunities of urban, regional and rural water issues, and has held national industry roles as Chair of the Water Services Association Australia (WSSA) Water Quality and Health Network. He is currently an Executive Group member of VicWater’s Intelligent Water Network (IWN) and volunteers as a member of the Wyndham City’s Environment and Climate Futures Portfolio Committee. In 2023, Will completed the company directors course.
Muthu Pannirselvam PhD - Board Member
Muthu Pannirselvam has had a varied and international career, commencing as a scientist, then academic and now moving onto entrepreneur. Muthu has a Master of Science and PhD, Science & Engineering, and experience on projects in water purification, use of recycled materials, and in building and overseeing laboratories for academic research. Muthu has strong project management and business skills that have included consultancy work, construction projects, property investment and organising international conferences. Muthu’s current business is focussed on real estate, technology and wellness. He moved to Australia in 2005 and now lives in Werribee South.
Jasmine Thomas - Board Member
Jasmine Thomas completed her VCE in 2022 and commenced a Bachelor of Science in 2023. Jasmine has been a part of the Werribee River Association since she was a child, as her mother, Robyn Thomas, was a former board member and Treasurer for many years. Jasmine has strong communication and environmental skills and she has presented at our past AGM’s, led guided nature tours and supported our public stalls at festivals and events. Jasmine also works part-time at Werribee Zoo and is part of the Youth Climate Action Group and other initiatives to support a strong voice on climate action.
Charlotte Williamson – Education Manager
Charlotte has over 15 years-experience as an environmental educator, and since August 2021 has been the inaugural Education Manager for the Werribee River Association – leading walks, talks, stalls and seminars for people of all ages and backgrounds. Charlotte has delivered the 1st year of the Association’s CALD programming, that is trialling the Waterways of the West CALD toolkit. Charlotte has built new relationships, new resources, and is supporting some great events and partnerships including on water events. If you want a presentation or to discuss a community environmental project, please reach out to Charlotte.
Lisa Field – Community & Business Development Manager
Lisa has worked extensively in community services and a history of environmental activism. Since November 2020 Lisa has overseeing the community programming, and business services, communications and key projects of the Association. Supporting staff, attracting ongoing funding and partnerships is a key part of Lisa’s role. Lisa welcomes contact from new partners, sponsors and benefactors, as she seeks to build the capacity and reach of the Association’s work. Lisa is also a volunteer, leading the Love Our Street 3030 clean-up group, hates plastic, loves composting, cooking and connecting with like-minded people.
Maryann Weatherill – Regeneration Officer
Maryann has extensive conservation expertise, working with local government, land and water managers, and community organisations. Since 2021, Maryann has worked steadily to grow the Werribee River Associations Landcare programming. Maryann is also playing a lead role is monitoring our broad range of programs, in building partnerships and not just out in the field weeding, brush cutting, and digging holes. Maryann is the best person to reach out to for discussions on land management services or if you want to delve deep into nature discussions.
Jess Fairfax – Sustainability Officer
Jess is a creative scientific communicator and environmental programmer, working to build up our services and programs that promote sustainable living practices. Since 2021 Jess has been delivering on some short and medium terms projects that include immersive nature experiences, community connections, volunteer support and presentations on all things to do with waste and sustainability. Jess is also a sound artist and journalist and uses creative expression to inform environmental awareness and action.
Fatima Measham – Community Engagement Facilitator
Fatima is a passionate nature educator and communicator who has a long history of volunteering with the Association. Since 2022, Fatima has begun to undertake projects to enhance access to the Lower Werribee River, and toward facilitating engagement with our culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) community. When Fatima is not working for WRA she is undertaking creative projects with a conservation focus