Meet the team leading conservation education across Zoos Victoria.

Mel Wyatt


At the age of 10, I climbed Uluru (as you did in those days). When I reached the top, the sun hit the horizon and the whole world came to life around me! I could feel and hear everything and I knew in that moment that I’d always work to honour that special connection I felt. After attaining degrees in Conservation and Park Management and Education, I was lucky enough to start working in zoos.

I am so proud to lead a team of people bringing a vision of solutions for the future to life for young people every day.

Cheryl Laks

Program Coordinator 

Whether it was growing up surrounded by the ocean or having a menagerie of cats, dogs, birds and guinea pigs, I always felt connected to nature and wildlife. This took me on a journey into animal biology and veterinary care, which I then combined with 10+ years teaching experience to connect and engage others with the natural world.

In my role as Education Programs Coordinator at Zoos Victoria, I work with students and teachers from across the state to develop engaging and inspiring programs with the aim of building awareness and respect for the world's most vulnerable animals.

Chris Vella  


“It’s so cool that we are doing real stuff at school!” When one of my more challenging year 10 students shared that with me, my world changed. It was my second year of teaching and my first student-led project. Over the term, the class improved a local waterway before presenting to a primary school. I had never seen them so motivated!


From this moment, I was hooked on creating programs around big issues for students. I’ve been lucky enough to create real-world programs in environmental education centres, a university and not-for-profits before finding my dream role at Zoos Victoria. 


Kirsty Costa

Innovation Leader

My connection to nature and wildlife was nurtured by a childhood of camping trips, bushwalks and ocean swims. Looking back, it is no surprise that I now live my element by mashing my passions – conservation and education.I have taught in primary school classrooms, been an education consultant for hundreds of schools and worked at an executive level in large not-for-profits.

As Innovation Leader at Zoos Victoria, I have the honour of designing education programs that help teachers, young people and wildlife to thrive in our quickly changing world.

Nicole Cowan

Program Coordinator

As a young adult, I learned to appreciate being present in the outdoors, hiking, cycling, camping, and watching for wildlife.  These interests led to a Bachelor of Science, majoring in animal biology and a Graduate Diploma in Education. I have a passion for education and working with young people. I have previously worked as a secondary school teacher and recently Monash University‘s Education Faculty developing and teaching environment and sustainability units for pre-service teachers while finishing my Masters in Environment and Sustainability.  

I am excited to bring all my interests together in the role of Education Programs Coordinator.