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CERES School of Nature and Climate Team

Meet our dedicated, passionate and expert team of educators that deliver a range of inspiring programs for early childhood centres, schools, tertiary institutions and individuals.

Learning Directors

Lorna Pettifer
Lorna PettiferLearning Innovation Director
Lorna Pettifer has been working in environmental education and presenting to community groups on sustainability for many years. At CERES Lorna passionately directs CERES School of Nature and Climate. She is dedicated deepening our response to the ecological and climate crisis through CERES learning experiences. Her background in sustainability stems from ecology and zoology and has broadened to community engagement, environmental management, behaviour change and farm and food programs. Lorna has worked with community groups, schools, organisations, households and individuals. As an environmental advocate she has worked in National Parks, Environmental Consultancies, Universities, NGOs and Wildlife reserves as a conservationist, educator, tour guide, bush regenerator, GIS Consultant, environmental modeler and researcher. Lorna proudly received the Environmental Educator of the Year for Victoria in 2018 and the Australian Environmental Educator of the Year in 2019.
Jane Burns
Jane BurnsSchool Programs and Consultancy Director
Jane has a background in education with experience in secondary school teaching, training, and curriculum writing in schools, community groups and the not-for-profit sector. Jane is passionate about designing and delivering education programs that contribute to making a difference in the world and bring value to communities. With a strong desire to make a contribution in her career, Jane has developed and managed a range of educational projects and programs with a social, community and environmental focus. In 2016 Jane was awarded the prestigious Environment Education Victoria award, The Environmental & Sustainability Educator of the Year 2015. She believes that schools and early childhood settings are perfectly placed to engage children, students and teachers in learning about the environment and gain skills and knowledge to be leaders in their communities.
Melissa Lawson
Melissa LawsonFood Systems, Community Engagement and Adult Learning Director
Melissa is passionate about connecting people to community food systems and manages all farm and food related projects at CERES including The Merri Table, Tamil Feasts, the Community Kitchen and the Organic Farm.
Melissa initially started as the Office Administration over 15 years ago, before she found her happy place with the Farm Team. Joining forces with Chris Ennis, the early days found her immersed in a wide range of activities including everything from building commercial kitchens to helping start the Propagation enterprise; from making coffees at Market, to wrangling sheep across farm paddocks. Alongside this, Melissa also developed and implemented training programs and enterprises around urban food systems and hospitality, with a particular focus on engaging marginalised individuals. Melissa also loves bringing people together for celebrations around food and the seasons at CERES, as well as at home.

Educators and Staff

Catherine Medwin
Catherine MedwinResourceSmart Schools Eastern Metro Coordinator
Having a background in Education for the past 10 years. Catherine has been part of establishing a brand new PPP school and has been Leading Environmental Education for the past two and a half years. She has been successfully embedding a culture of sustainability across the school during this time through implementing the ResourceSmart Schools program. Catherine is passionate about inspiring others to reduce waste and spreading awareness of environmental issues to both children and adults.
Chloe Horner
Chloe HornerSchool Programs Manager - Excursions and Incursions
Chloe grew up in the Otways, riding horses, climbing trees and racing her brother on billy carts. She has been working in the environmental education industry for over 9 years. She has passionately managed, designed and delivered a range of environmental education programs, for local government, in partnership with industry leaders and community groups. Her work has supported sustainability initiatives and outcomes within Council, schools, early learning centres, apartments and community groups. Chloe loves to work collaboratively, which is recognised in winning the 2018 Keep Victoria Beautiful, Sustainable Cities Award in Community Government Partnership. She has tertiary qualifications in environmental sustainability, horticulture and education. Chloe loves to work on community projects and is on Committee of Management for Collingwood Children’s Farm. She’s excited to be a part of the CERES network and continue to do what she loves – connecting people to community and the natural environment.
Daniela Signor
Daniela SignorOnline Education Coordinator
Daniela has always had an interest in sustainability and our planet and is now happy to combine that interest with her expertise in online education and learning design. She brings a new online learning site for CERES School of Nature and Climate that allows our online education delivery to reach all the corners of the earth and for our blended education to benefit from online content that complements CERES onsite education. Daniela has a Masters of Arts in Online and Distance Education from The Open University (UK) and a Diploma of Sustainability from Swinburne University of Technology. She believes in the power of education and hopes to continue the great work done at CERES and more great online education opportunities that will benefit the earth.
Darren Tinker
Darren TinkerBiodiversity Programs Coordinator
Darren originally comes from country Victoria, where he grew up on a small farm and spent he’s spare time exploring local bushlands. Fulfilling the role as CERES Biodiversity Programs Coordinator, Darren is passionate educator with a sincere interest in all things CERES and the wonderful people that make up our community. Darren has a keen interest in plants and the way people interact with the natural environment, he has a background in geography, land management and horticulture, and applied his skills to environmental projects locally and abroad, gaining a deep understanding of the local and global climate challenges we’re facing. Darren loves being a part of CERES and contributing to the role we play in helping us all to fall in love with the earth again. Outside of CERES, Darren enjoys many activities that get him outdoors, particularly gardening, bike rides and hiking.
Deanne Jones
Deanne JonesOutreach Educator
Deanne has had a passion for the environment and an interest in social justice issues from a young age. This has led her to explore and volunteer in the natural world both within and beyond Australia; living in Argentina as an exchange student and exploring the unique environments of South America, East Africa and Asia. She has also completed a Bachelor of Science (Biological Science) and later a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary and Secondary). Deanne has worked in a number of organisations including the Melbourne Aquarium Education and Interpretation team, Gould League and Knox City Council as a Community Sustainability Officer. In total, she has worked and volunteered in the Environment field for over 15 years. Deanne joined the CERES Outreach team in 2012 after introducing her daughter into the world. She believes sustainability education and empowering the next generation is essential in helping to build a sustainable future for all.
Emmanuelle Delomenede
Emmanuelle DelomenedeCasual Outreach Educator
After completing her engineering degree in France, Emmanuelle undertook a Master’s degree of Energy Studies at the University of Melbourne specializing in the environmental impacts of buildings. Prior to CERES, Emmanuelle was working as an Energy Consultant in a large engineering company, undertaking holistic design and operational sustainability assessments of major commercial buildings. She joined the Outreach team in September 2015 and is excited to be working with Victorian schools as she strongly believes in a bottom-up approach to drive change, starting at the community level and through early/primary education. Emmanuelle is passionate about sharing her dedication to sustainability and resilient resource systems and hopes to inspire the next generation.
Jason Sheehan
Jason SheehanOutreach Educator
Jason is an adventurer and storyteller. He has recently returned from Tonga where he worked with coastal communities in environmental education. Diving next to volcanoes, working with sharks, and rescuing turtles, Jason equally enjoys planting a tree and growing herbs. Jason loves the narrative of conservation following the connections between everything we as humans do and how it impacts our planet. He has taught students about climate change, sustainability, marine and coastal science and more, always finding new and interesting ways to invoke passion.
He and his young family do anything they can to leave a gentle footprint on our country and he is quick to lend a hand to anyone else wanting to do so. He strives to make everyone he meets excited about the environment. Working with CERES as an outreach educator is something he cannot wait to be a part of. With so many working for sustainability, he is more than ready to be a part of this network.
Justin Walsh
Justin WalshEducation Bookings Coordinator
Connection to nature has been a long running theme in Justin’s life. Upon completing a Bachelor in Environmental Science, Justin took off to the Victorian High Country to work on an off-the-grid outdoor education centre that aims to teach young people about the importance of time in nature, community and the deep joy of working together. This proved to be a more formative experience than ever expected as it lit the flame of environmental education with young people. As well as working as a Sessional Educator at CERES for the past 4 years, Justin has worked with various schools and various organisations leading outdoor experiences all over Victoria, all whilst dragging his friends away on as many camping trips as possible in between. CERES has always provided a place of great learning and great hope throughout Justin’s time within the community and he’s excited to continue his journey with the place.
Kat Young
Kat YoungEducation Bookings Coordinator (On leave)
Kat’s love of the environment and being in it began as a youngster in New Zealand, climbing daily through wild fennel and over the back fence to play in the neighbouring fields. After following the wind to Australia in 1999, Kat has spent her time in various creative and people centric roles, from hospitality to costuming to teaching Martial Arts, until arriving at CERES in 2014. Starting as a casual teacher, Kat quickly discovered that CERES was the place for her and her passions for art, education and environmental connection. Kat can be found teaching kids around CERES, arranging school bookings in the Ed Office or elsewhere around site with a trolley of paint creating colourful environmental resources for all to share.
Kelsey Smith
Kelsey SmithResourceSmart Schools Northern Metro Coordinator
From a young age, Kelsey has had a passion for conservation, particularly surrounding the unique fauna found in Australia. This stemmed from weekends spent camping and hiking through the bush and formed the basis of her passion to conserve Australia’s unique environments. She completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) and worked as an Environmental Officer for Queensland Government, then turned to field biology as a research intern in South Africa. It was from these experiences that she feels the key to sustainability and conservation is an understanding combined with a sense of responsibility and excitement. Following this path, she has since completed a Master of Environment (conservation and education) and volunteered for programs like Zoo to You, CSIRO Education, Science Experience Melbourne and worked as a science demonstrator for University of Melbourne. Kelsey joined CERES as an intern in late 2017, and joined the Outreach team in January 2018 and is excited to share her enthusiasm with the next generation.
Laura Nix
Laura NixOutreach Educator
After completing a Bachelor’s degree in ecology and conservation biology, Laura developed an interest in sharing her love for conservation and sustainability. She completed a Masters of Environment at Melbourne University in 2017 where she focused on sustainability education and behaviour change. Her interest in sustainability has led her to volunteer for a number of likeminded organisations including Zoos Victoria, Oz Harvest and Cultivating Community. Most recently, Laura has worked for local government in waste, litter and sustainability education where she has delivered various education programs as well as developing strategic documents to guide best practice sustainability programs for the future. Laura loves talking about waste and also has a particular interest in sustainable food production! She is excited to start the next chapter in her sustainability journey at Ceres and hopes to use her skills and passion to continue empowering others with the tools to embed sustainable practice in their everyday lives.
Lauren Kaszubski
Lauren KaszubskiWaste & Early Childhood School Programs Coordinator
Growing up in New York State, Lauren formed a deep connection with her natural world playing in the snow and truly connecting with the phrase, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices”. Later, as a young adult, Lauren heard the first-hand story of a woman living in a Californian Redwood, protesting against the logging of local forests. It was these experiences that inspired Lauren to study Environmental Science & Management at the University of Newcastle some years later. During her time of study, Lauren started working with students in outdoor education programs, further igniting her passion to work with and for our environment alongside her new community in Australia. Since 2013, Lauren can be found at CERES as the Waste & Early Years Schools Program Coordinator – helping students learn about compost, recycling and waste management, local food systems, and fostering a deep connection with our natural world. As of 2018, Lauren is the organizer and facilitator of the CERES Nature Playgroup, helping children connect with and for their local environment and community. Lauren is also a presenter and facilitator for Adult Training courses; Environmental Education and Circular Economy & Zero Waste. With her knowledge and experience combined Lauren passionately works towards providing learners of all ages with creative and meaningful learning experiences that they can carry with them throughout their day-to-day lives, cultivating a deeper connection with Earth and each other.
Leah Martini
Leah MartiniOutreach Educator
Leah, our newest member of CERES Education has joined the team in 2018 as an Outreach Educator. Growing up in the South Eastern suburbs, just minutes from the beach, her love for the water and natural environment was inspired from a young age. Now with a strong passion for both the outdoors and environmental education, Leah is extremely excited to inspire change throughout Victorian schools and help protect the beautiful planet we call home. Leah completed her bachelor of Environmental Science (Environmental Management and Sustainability) at Deakin University, and has since worked in various fields within the environmental sector including land management, sustainability and environmental education. Leah has over 7 years experience working with children, and has been involved in delivering a wide range of educational programs for a number of environmental organisations including CERES, Gould League and Do it on the Roof. These roles have allowed Leah to bring awareness to important environmental issues and inspire change through fun, engaging and educational programs. Leah is extremely excited to join the team and looks forward to encourage and support the next generation of eco warriors!
Luisa Cardamone
Luisa CardamoneRelationships and Program Logistics Manager - Adult Learning
For over 20 years, Luisa had visited the site as a nearby neighbour and for the past five years has been thrilled to call CERES her workplace. Luisa coordinates the adult learning programs encompassing workshops and short courses across all things sustainable for individuals and groups ranging from corporate to the marginalised. Across gardening, cooking and the creative, her aim is to draw expert, passionate presenters to pass on their knowledge and skills so we can continue to lighten our footprint.
Michelle Sanahon
Michelle SanahonOutreach Communications Manager
After completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, Michelle decided that the IT world wasn’t for her. Instead she stumbled across the wonderful world that is CERES, and since 2003 has worked in various roles and today is Communications Manager for the CERES Outreach Education team. Michelle’s role includes ensuring that our centres, schools, Partners, and the wider community are informed about CERES Education news and available opportunities in the realm of environmental education. Michelle is also passionate about sustainable/ethical fashion, travel and dreams of living off the grid.
Subik Baso
Subik BasoExcursions Cultural Programs Coordinator
Subik graduated from Bachelor of Agriculture where he learned about the application of Green Revolution methods on farming practices in Indonesia. Soon after graduation, Subik was asked to be involved in a Composting Project funded by the Canadian Government. It was a program that looked into a potential natural fertilizer in the farming industry as well as the production and the trial of the product in several areas in Makassar South Sulawesi. This involvement lead Subik to a very different path from what he learned in University. Subik then worked for a research company Operation Wallacea (Opwall) based in the UK before moving to Australia. Living in Australia enhanced Subik’s passion for the environment by working in a native nursery, as well as helping several friends to re-vegetate a depleted property into a beautiful native garden. Working at CERES gives Subik a great chance to learn in the broader context of the environment and social justice whilst continuing his passion… gardening.
Tom Kelly
Tom KellySELP Coordinator
Tom grew up in Bendigo and studied Outdoor and Environmental Education at Federation University in Ballarat and fell in love with everything the natural world has to offer. Through spending time with young people in the Australian bush hiking, mountain bike riding, paddling and rock climbing, Tom explored and shared his deep connection. Through this he recognised the importance for local connection, care and activism and what better place to do that than with CERES. Now as the Coordinator of SELP he has the opportunity to share all of this with the amazing young people and the people who support them as he travels around regional Victoria!
Benedict Walta
Benedict WaltaRetreats and Consultancy Manager
Ben has facilitated over 40 trips internationally and at home in Australia and brings with him a gentle and contagious warmth and laid back nature. As well as being a 5-star facilitator, Ben is also an incredible networker and manages to pull connections and great conversations together wherever he goes. He is passionate about experiencing and being with the world in new ways, getting our wings out, gaining global perspectives on sustainability and the environment, sharing journeys and connecting with our own human stories.

His favourite thing about working at CERES is coffee and cake, the Namalata Willum, and networking with amazing people.

Sophie Edwards
Sophie EdwardsRetreats and Experiences Coordinator
Sophie has been working in social equity and sustainable community development in both international and domestic contexts since 2004. Her background in environmental sustainability stems from an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Botany and has broadened to community engagement and development in her Masters in Social Sciences. Before starting at CERES, her working life has taken her through government, not-for-profit and higher education sectors across Australia and the world, including research projects in Papua New Guinea, Project Coordination in Sierra Leone and cross cultural community development in Darwin.

She is passionate about experiential learning and challenging people to think about themselves and the world differently. She believes that relationships and stories are what really touch and move people, and that is what she aims to nurture as a trip coordinator and facilitator.

Her favourite things about working at CERES are the creativity and dynamism within her role and the organisation.