Healesville Sanctuary Education Team

Meet the team leading conservation education at Healesville Sanctuary.

Smiling woman in a blue polar fleece jacket

Naias Mountfort-Davies


My love of wildlife and wild places formed growing up at the beach and in the mountains of Aotearoa, New Zealand. I credit my Granny with nurturing my cousins and I as conservationists from an early age. I am incredibly fortunate that my working life now combines all my great loves; people, wildlife, and wild places. With qualifications in history, education, and museum studies, I have worked developing and delivering experiences in museums, memorials and at Healesville Sanctuary.

As Education Manager, I am privileged to lead a team who love their work strengthening the connection between people and wildlife.

Jade Bohni 


As a child, I spent many days exploring my local beaches and parks and was always in awe of the beauty of the natural world. This fascination with the environment and my curiosity with how the world works, led me to pursue a career in science education where I now work as a qualified teacher.

I strive to instill in students a deep appreciation for the natural world and a desire to care for and protect it. I believe it's crucial to engage young learners with the wonders of the environment, so that they can become informed and active global citizens.

Liam Birkett


My deep appreciation and interest in wildlife, started when I was a kid camping in nature and running around Melbourne Zoo, where both my parents worked as Zookeepers.

I hold a degree in Environmental Management, Diploma of Education and a Diploma of Conservation Land Management. My educational background and experiences have allowed me to develop a wide range of teaching skills from different teaching environments and has helped me to promote hope in future generations. I believe we can provide schools with a sense of community and united energy toward the importance of nature to life’s existence.

Smiling woman wearing glasses and a zoo keeper uniform

Lisa Hodgson


My love of the outdoors and all living things stems from my deep connection to country. Being a Noongar yorga (Aboriginal woman from southwest Australia), I have grown up with First Nations Peoples ways of being and doing. Sharing stories and engaging visitors with offerings from our many and varied cultures Australia wide is my passion.

Working within the Education Team here at Healesville Sanctuary, I look forward to meeting with you and exploring our many animals and attractions on offer through an Aboriginal lens. Let’s walk together and share a united energy and enthusiasm for caring for country.

Melissa Meara


Growing up in Brisbane, our backyard was home to native frogs and birds, as well as a menagerie of pets. I was fortunate to spend weekends visiting museums, bushwalking, or exploring rock pools on the coast. My family nurtured my love of animals, nature, and lifelong learning.

After completing degrees in Digital Media and Education, I made a home in the Yarra Valley, where I have taught high school Media, Literature and Humanities for 15 years. As an educator, I am passionate about empowering people to create positive change. Together, we can care for our environment and support wildlife to thrive.

Michael Newell


I grew up in country Queensland between the beach and the rainforest and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been off finding frogs and lizards in the wild. This fascination went from an interest to a hobby and even an obsession and ultimately lead me to a career in conservation.

As a trained Zookeeper, experienced Science and Drama teacher and a ‘mock-rock’ artisan, I not only take care of animals but talk to people about them all day too. I strive to inspire and empower the next generation to care for our environment and protect all that call it home. 

Rebecca Gray


The magic of nature and wildlife is what inspired me to pursue a career in environmental education. My love for animals and the natural world began as a young child looking after numerous pets and going on regular nature walks with my family.

After completing a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood and Primary Education, I taught for ten years in primary schools and used my holidays to volunteer in conservation organisations around the world. My goal as an educator is to take students of all ages on an insightful adventure and help them fall in love with our world’s wildlife.