Healesville Sanctuary Education Team

Meet the team leading conservation education at Healesville Sanctuary.

Miranda Wills


My love of wildlife and nature has taken me on many adventures including filming Tree Kangaroos in northern Queensland, researching Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Victoria and working with endangered Blackbuck in Nepal.

As a trained Zoologist, Wildlife Filmmaker and Environmental Educator, I have the honour of working with an exceptional and passionate team of Zoo Educators that help young people to connect to the awe and wonder of wildlife, nature and Aboriginal culture, inspiring them to discover solutions to care for our Natural World.

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.

Peta Howard


I am a qualified teacher and zoologist and have been teaching outside the classroom and with wildlife for over 5 years.

I grew up on an Island surrounded by marine species and loving the ecosystem and environment they called home. Surrounded by the ocean and witnessing the loss of species and habitats firsthand, I decided I wanted to do something to protect it for the future by sharing my stories and educating the next generation.

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.

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. 

Nicole Kowalczyk


My childhood was spent in South Africa where I made frequent visits to national parks, enjoying many close encounters with Africa’s wildlife. These adventures shaped my values and interests and led to studies in the biological sciences. My honours year was spent in Costa Rica where I studied the nesting behaviour of the Leatherback Sea Turtle. During my PhD I focused on the foraging and reproductive ecology of the St Kilda Little Penguin colony.  

As a qualified primary school teacher and ecologist, I feel privileged to facilitate opportunities for students to connect with wildlife and develop a love of nature.