NCS Management Committee

Nature Conservation Society of South Australia


Dr Patrick O’Connor

Patrick has a lifelong commitment to nature conservation and has had a distinguished career in research, consulting and government in nature conservation and natural resource management. Patrick has a joint appointment as Associate Professor in conservation ecology and economics in the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics and the Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology at the University of Adelaide. Patrick’s main research interests are in the economics of ecosystem services and nature restoration. Patrick is an author of more than 50 scientific papers, one text book and many consultancy reports on nature conservation and environmental science. Patrick has a long experience in governance of not-for-profit and community organisations including as current chairperson of the National Landcare Network and as a past President of Cystic Fibrosis Australia, Vice-President of the Nature Conservation Society, a Director of Trees for Life, and President of Cystic Fibrosis South Australia. Patrick has been a contributor to NCSSA steering committees since 1999.

Vice President

Doug Bickerton

Doug has more than 26 years of experience in the fields of ecology and natural resources management, including threatened species, pest plant and animal control, habitat management and landscape restoration. He has proven proficiency in planning and policy, having worked for government, NGOs and as a consultant.  For many years, Doug has been a member and committee member of numerous environmental organisations including threatened species recovery teams and Friends groups. In the past, Doug has been president of the Weed Management Society of SA, committee member of the Council of Australasian Weed Societies, a long-standing committee member of the Australasian Network for Plant Conservation and the Technical Advisory Committee for Trees For Life. Other skills include qualified expertise as a trainer, and the down-to-Earth experience developed from running a successful landscape gardening business.


Melissa Feller

Melissa is an Accountant within the Business Advisory division at William Buck Chartered Accountants and Advisors. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Accounting from the University of South Australia and is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining the Business Advisory division, Melissa was a member of the Audit and Assurance team which included auditing not-for-profit associations registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC). Melissa works with a diverse range of clients across numerous industries and structures and has a keen interest in business and financial management.


Nick Lawry

Nick is a young Economics (Adv) student with a long-standing passion for nature and public policy. He spent the majority of his Uni life as a Union Organiser, working successfully to bring people together for common causes and to take action. He currently works as a Compliance Officer at the SDA Union, managing data processing and analysis for major projects. Nick is an enthusiastic hiker and camper who loves exploring South Australian nature. He is excited to use his skills in ecological economics and public policy. 


Dr Anthelia Bond

Annie is a Visiting Research Fellow in applied ecology and economics at the University of Adelaide and also works with the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board as a Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Officer. Annie has extensive committee experience, having previously served on the NCSSA management committee, the National Parks Australia Council, and the Northern Territory Environment Centre management committee. With more than 20 years’ experience working for the conservation of South Australia’s biodiversity, Annie has held a variety of roles in government, NGOs, universities and the private sector, including three years in the NCSSA’s advocacy role. Annie would like to strengthen the NCSSA’s position as a strong and uncompromising community voice for science-based conservation.


Meredith Hennessy

Meredith is a legal and communications professional who specialises in creating effective and compliant governance procedures and engaging communication strategies. She currently practises in civil litigation within the Crown Solicitor’s Office and is completing a Masters of Social Work. Meredith is passionate about nature conservation and preserving biodiversity, with a special interest in birdlife and sustainable food systems.


Josh Usher

Josh has a long-standing commitment to positive impact, including a Master’s in Clean Energy Engineering and building Australia’s first vehicle-to-grid compatible electric car; all before co-founding MistyWest, an impact focused product development company that he grew to a team of 30. Recently, Josh was the technology and impact lead for Good Empire, a local startup for people, community, and planet and he is now the director of an impact focussed idea validation lab at 11point2 based out of Lot Fourteen. What gets him out of bed each morning is his passion for slowing climate change along with his interest in maximizing team productivity and creativity. On weekends you can find him gardening with his kids or doing local native revegetation in the reserve near his home in Bridgewater.


Michael Bennell

Mike is a retired botanist with a Heritage Agreement on Kangaroo Island and extensive experience as a CRC team leader managing projects researching the use of native plants for sustainable agriculture. Since retiring Mike has participated in numerous biological surveys and research projects as a volunteer, including for SEG, DEW and most recently NCSSA and UNSW. With previous experience in the role of secretary of an NGO committee Mike is keen on biodiversity advocacy.


Andrew Allanson

Andrew has extensive ecological restoration on ground expertise and knowledge including habitat establishment, bush management, and feral pest and weed management. Andrew worked for Trees for Life, and now runs and manage his own bush management business, Irongrass Environmental Rehabilitation Services. Andrew served on several community group committees including on the Eastern Hills and Murray Plains Catchment Group. Together with his partner Janet, they “own” 40 acres of land which they are slowly restoring, and andrew is also part owner in three different tracts of land in the Murray Mallee each of 1,000 acres or more.