Smart Green Economy Student Hybrid Conference
Great Barrier Reef Academy brings you the Smart Green Economy Student Conference.
‘Proudly supported by the Advance Queensland initiative.’
Speakers – Click On Images For Bios
Rashan is changing education in not only the design industry, but also in the transition of students from secondary to tertiary education. He is the founder and CEO of Australia’s leading professional development in 21st century education institute – Inspired Education Australia.
In addition to this, Rashan is also the Founder and Design Director for Inspired Design Australia, servicing and helping other entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses with ‘Design for Business’.
More speakers to be announced soon!
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“One person can make a difference”
– John F Kennedy
BE THAT PERSON!
CEO, Reef Restoration Foundation
Ryan is the CEO of Reef Restoration Foundation, a community-based not-for-profit organisation that is building resilience on coral reefs and in communities amid a changing climate.
Established in the aftermath of the back-to-back mass coral bleaching events of 2016 and 2017, Reef Restoration Foundation secured the first permit on the Great Barrier Reef to undertake this type of intervention and established the first ever ocean-based coral nursery at Fitzroy Island on 7 December 2017.
Reef Restoration Foundation is unique in that the organisation is completely built on community partnerships, from near and far. There are no government funds involved. Importantly, the heavy lifting is undertaken by a small army of volunteers from all compass points of the Cairns community.
Climate change is creating warmer sea surface temperatures, and this is manifesting in a higher frequency and magnitude of coral bleaching events and a higher frequency of destructive scale cyclones (3,4,5). As the frequency of these events increases, the ability to fully recover between events is compromised. Reef restoration aims to accelerate the natural process of recovery.
Ryan brings more than 20 years involvement in coral reef research, conservation, and management; and reef related business and industry.
The foundation has been highly successful. Ryan will share part of the journey, the operations and the success stories with attendees.
Co-Founder, Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
JENNIE Gilbert, an experienced zoologist and veterinarian technologist has devoted her life to caring for all animals with countless volunteer hours. Jennie assists in rehabilitating turtles on Fitzroy Island, Cairns Aquarium and James Cook University that she has earned the nickname “the turtle whisperer”.
As co-founder of the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre Jennie has helped rehabilitate hundreds of sick and injured reptiles back to health over the past 31 years, releasing them back into the Great Barrier Reef and Cape York region.
Turtles arrive in care at the rehabilitation centre for many reasons ranging from floaters syndrome and starvation through to boat strikes, crocodile and shark attacks. Despite the turtle’s hardy shells, they are remarkably vulnerable animals and are prone to human-induced threats such as entanglement in fishing gear, poaching, coastal development, marine pollution, and, of course, climate change.
It takes anywhere between six months to four years to rehabilitate turtles depending on their injuries or illness, when they have recovered and time to release them back into the wild, it is a joyous occasion for Jennie and the other dedicated volunteers. Over the years, the hospital’s success rate for the rehabilitation of the turtles has grown from 30 to 90 per cent, which is one of the highest rates in Australia.
Jennie now spends her time running the centre and undertaking postgraduate research at James Cook University, researching threats to marine turtles and how to treat them and following a turtle’s rehabilitation journey with the use of satellite trackers.
The centre works closely alongside other organisations, including the Department of Environment and Heritage and indigenous groups, to support sea turtle conservation work across the GBR.
Sea Turtle conservation has greatly progressed over the years pointing to a positive future ahead for all six species of turtles that live on the Great Barrier Reef.
Chair, Circular Economy FNQ
Irene Portelli, Chair of Circular Economy FNQ, speaks and writes passionately on the Circular Economy space in Far North Queensland.
Irene will take students through a disruptive design workshop, with divergent thinking exercises to enable a clear understanding of how we can get to a Circular Economy. Teachers will take home online workshop to continue to develop students thinking about disruptive design and how we can get away from single use EVERYTHING.
‘We don’t have a human problem, we have a system problem. We don’t know who made our stuff, like who really made our stuff, because we don’t measure our supply chain. When we knew who made what we consumed and knew their story and had a trusted sustainability report to tell us the supply chain, we would vote green with our dollar. It has been proven by consumer data that we would use our buying power to make clear ethical choices in our purchases. If everyone bought better and less we would have a circular economy of thriving sovereign makers, fixers and upcyclers because good quality comes from quality makers, better resources.’
Irene’s vision is to build on what is working, fill gaps, empower people inside and outside our region to do the same because we have a roadmap built with data and a distributive framework that will work if you have the same waste challenges as Far North Queensland.
Operationals Manager Parley For The Oceans
Belinda Flanders is the Operations Manager at Parley Australia. She has been teaching students in Australia and Asia about the problem with plastic since 2005. At Parley Australia, she delivers environmental education programs and coordinates beach and reef cleanup expeditions around Cape York and the Great Barrier Reef.
Based in Cairns, our Australia team operates along the Great Barrier Reef and beyond to conduct cleanups, conservation and education — working in some of the most remote and fragile ecosystems on the continent.
Founder Cairns Property Clearances
Pip grew up on an Island in NZ where none of the waste left but was repurposed to make the things they needed.
Her parents owned a Caravan park and they lived and breathed the #nothingwasted headspace.
This gave Pip the unique skillset to see waste as a resource from a very young age and now with her business Cairns Property Clearances she does what Yas (WBGS > Circonomy) does for Officeworks and other dormant household goods but for hotels, offices and deceased estates in FNQ.
She is also starting to train Mums on how to do what she does as a side hustle to maybe eventually become their main hustle as we transition to a Circular Economy.
She will be part of Circular Economy FNQs workshop to show the kids how to identify opportunity in waste.
Principal, Numimbah Valley Environmental Education Centre
Kalindi Brennan is Principal at Numinbah Valley Environmental Education Centre. She is an experienced and passionate educator, who champions students engaging in real-world learning contexts, linked to their own interests, skills and strengths. Numinbah Valley Environmental Education Centre (NVEEC) provides experiential learning programs to students from Pre-Prep to Year 12, with environmental and sustainability themes embedded. Our Vision is: Inspiring Minds for a Sustainable Future.
Kalinda will be facilitating our E-waste workshop: This interactive workshop will further develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the local and global implications of managing electronic waste. They will explore how social enterprises are using technology and innovation to divert waste from landfill through extracting, recycling and repurposing valuable components from electronic devices. Students will safely use basic tools to dismantle, sort and retrieve useful electrical, metal and plastic parts from laptop computers, which will then be sent to an e-waste innovation hub to be upcycled and/or repurposed. They will critically examine technologies and explore ways to create sustainable designed solutions to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption.
Equipment will be provided but if you have your own 2nd hand laptop that needs to be recycled, bring it along! Students will be able to take learnings back to their schools.
Development Practitioner and Researcher
Secretary – Circular Economy FNQ
A multi-disciplined management and development professional with more than six years of work experience in diverse range of industries. He was trained in international development and relations, sustainable development, and business management.
Currently, he is working for James Cook University and serves CAFNEC management committee in a secretary role. Prior to this he completed a research project with Cairns Regional Council to incorporate the UNSDGs in council’s development and reporting frameworks.
Avinash is also working with Circular Economy FNQ in their key objective to reduce food waste to landfill and certify businesses Sustainable Development Goals in his role on the Circular Economy FNQ board.
Avinash is passionate about eliminating polarisations and inequalities among societies through promotion of international service learning and education. He is an early age researcher and an ardent advocate of democracy, human rights, and children development.
GBR Community Campaigner
With over a decade of experience as a scuba instructor and reef guide in Cairns, Tanya is deeply devoted to educating people about the awe-inspiring marine life that surrounds us and the imperative need to safeguard it. Witnessing firsthand the alarming consequences of climate change and water quality deterioration on the Reef, Tanya took the initiative in 2017 to establish the non-profit organization, Divers for Reef Conservation, which has since merged with Divers 4 Climate.
Equipped with a degree in Journalism from Curtin University, Tanya has years of experience working in print media and for ABC radio. Her unwavering passion for the Reef has driven her to engage in television appearances, radio broadcasts, print publications, and social media campaigns, effectively raising awareness about the imminent threats to our precious ecosystem and emphasizing actionable steps to address these challenges.
As an AMCS campaigner, Tanya collaborates with the local community in Far North Queensland, imparting knowledge and empowering individuals to become staunch advocates for the Reef. By inspiring them to use their voices to influence others, she fosters the creation of dynamic social movements that drive positive change for our Reef.
Green Food Australia
Dr Kelvin Ross has over 30 years of experience in software engineering and enterprise IT applications. Kelvin started his IT career in defence, and completed a PhD in safety critical systems engineering. He has worked in the commercial sector for the past 20 years, across many domains, including significant projects in healthcare.
Kelvin is a Director of the Queensland AI Hub. The Queensland AI Hub was launched in April 2020 with funding from the Queensland Government’s Advance Queensland initiative. It was designed and established by a group of technology-focused businesses, based in Queensland, now known as AI Consortium Pty Ltd. Kelvin is the Director of IntelliHQ, a non-profit developing the ecosystem for AI innovation in healthcare. Kelvin is the founder and non-executive Chairman of KJR, a specialist IT advisory firm with 100 staff in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Institute for Intelligent and Integrated Systems, Griffith University. He is a Director of AIkademi, an organiser for the Young Women Leaders in AI program, and has held several roles in national technical working groups (NATA and ACS), and held several board positions.
Dennis is a circular innovator, he and the rest of the Salty team take PET waste and have turned it into dive Fins which also promote Torres Strait Indigenous Artists. They have just secured $400k funding to tackle the issue of ghost nets and plastic litter in the waters and beaches in the Torres Strait.
Salty Monkeys offers a range of programs that teach essential marine skills, foster care for the environment, and encourage people to do great things. The company believes in the power of community and works closely with locals to engage and inspire people. They also collaborate with talented artists to share their art and story on their apparel.
At the heart of their operations is a commitment to sustainability and conservation. Salty Monkeys collaborates with Australia’s best free diving instructors to deliver workshops that improve diving skills and safety. By partnering with experts in the field, they can ensure that their participants receive the highest quality training available.
Salty Monkeys is on a mission to engage with the community, mentor future leaders, and inspire positive activities. Their programs and operations emphasise the importance of sustainability and conservation, and they believe that by working together, we can ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of the Torres Strait.
Dr Sam Horseman
Innovation Facilitator, James Cook University
Samantha is the Innovation Facilitator and lead for the JCU Founders-in- Residence Portfolios for James Cook University spanning Cairns, Townsville and Singapore Campuses.
She works with University Staff, Students and local Entrepreneurs to take their research, deep-tech and startup ideas to the market through IMPACT10X simulator training, mentorship and venture growth. In addition
Samantha sits on several advisory boards for regional and international companies.
A globally recognised inventor, innovator, and entrepreneur spanning an impressive two decade career at Aramco. She is a highly motivated thought leader as a result of her human -machine interface (HMI)
portfolio of 60 granted patents, 15 prototypes, 22 publications with 25 local, regional & global awards.
Additionally, following her research contributions with the World Economic Forum Global Study ‘Workplace Wellness Alliance’ (2013) she continued to accelerate this work in her role as President of the MENA Institute for Health & Productivity Management (IHPM) chapter.
GaragesaleIt is an innovative online e-commerce platform that aims to
revolutionize the way schools and organizations raise funds. Founded
with a mission to make fundraising fun, engaging, and easy,
GaragesaleIt offers a unique platform that helps communities come
together to support a cause they care about.
The platform is tailored to meet the needs of schools and organizations,
offering a range of features that make fundraising more accessible and
effective. With GaragesaleIt, users can create custom fundraising
campaigns, share them with their networks, and track their progress in
One of the standout features of GaragesaleIt is its emphasis on
community engagement. The platform encourages users to involve their
communities in the fundraising process, creating a sense of shared
ownership and commitment to the cause.
Garagesaleit is committed to making a positive impact on the world, and
its platform reflects this ethos. By providing a fun, engaging, and
effective way for communities to come together and support causes they
care about, Garagesaleit is empowering people to make a difference in
their own lives and the lives of others.
David Witherall. BSc. Ecology James Cook University / Level 25 QuestaGame Expert.
From very early on David discovered he was biophilic (a lover of living things), so his path has always been learning about and sharing the incredible enlightening stories of the creatures that surround us. After a long and adventure filled career, he took on the role of Questa Schools biodiversity competition Project Manager.
QuestaSchools runs a discovering Biodiversity competition where players take photos of wildlife (animals, plants, fungi, any living thing); are awarded points for each photo. Players join a school team the team may join an inter-school competition https://www.questaschools.com/.
All the photos are identified by experts (and each other) the species are mapped, put in a global database and then placed in the player’s personal collection. The students learn about what is around them and by creating a Realm (a territory like their School Ground) they have the ability to regenerate it and their photos will become data that demonstrate how their school has, in their small space, increased biodiversity on Earth.
During our conference, the Cairns Colonial Club will become our Realm and students will learn how to take the project back to their own schools. AND one school will win a realm!
Marc Jackson is an international tropical agriculture consultant specialisation in innovation and sustainability. Marc latest achievements was design and construction of the world’s largest pineapple packaging house capable of packing 250,000 boxes per week. That project was winner of the Costa Rican Exporters Presidents award for technology transfer and for providing employment opportunities rural communities.
Marc has worked extensively in Central America, Philippines, India and China and included waste solutions for the Belize banana industry.
Other achievements are Inventor of the Clipslip® and winner of 2012 Established Innovation Tropical Innovation Awards. Marc also received a Nuffield Farming Scholarship that allowed him to study banana production from all over the world.
His latest innovation is to make plastic waste in farms, and eventually domestic and commercial soft plastic, circular in Far North Queensland first and then ripple that innovation throughout Australia.
CEO FNQ Food Incubator
Lara has a background in economic development and working closely to mentor and grow start up businesses. With extensive networks in the industry, Lara can often find the connection that you need to make your business work. With a strong background in rural industries and regional communities, Lara has worked with primary producers, start up small businesses, and economic development projects to create employment opportunities and and drive sustainable growth.
Lara enjoys telling the story of our food manufacturing industry as a speaker, advocate and writer. From Cairns to Canberra, Lara has met with media, politicians and investors to promote our local food businesses and support the industry to grow. Lara and the team are dedicated to helping growers and food entrepreneurs to value add to fresh ingredients in the Cairns based shared food manufacturing facility. Through their efforts, they are helping to reduce food waste and create delicious new food products ready for export.
When not talking business with food entrepreneurs, Lara spends time in her garden and talking about cars.”
Executive Head Of Thirsty Croc
Angus Copelin-Walters is an Australian 13 year old entrepreneur, philanthropist, speaker and young ambassador for the global charity, Made by Dyslexia and is a multi-award winner.
After starting his business when he was just 7, he worked hard after many challenges and has now earned the respect and admiration of people such as Sir Richard Branson, Twiggy Forrest and has won the hearts of families and kids his age and even Her Majesty, the late Queen!
Angus is the Australian Young Ambassador for the global charity, Made by Dyslexia and through his own challenges and positive dyslexic thinking, is helping to redefine dyslexia as a ‘Super Power’.
From this, his first business Croc Candy was born in 2017 and pretty soon, so was his entrepreneurial spirit. He is making a big splash into the bottled water industry and is the youngest owner of an aluminium bottled water company in Australia.
In true form, he will donate money to charity from every single bottle. He wants to make the world a better place, one bottle at a time. Angus hopes to gain the support of families, small businesses, corporate and global giants.
Founder Of Ocean Ears
My name is Olivia Gilchrist and last year I studied business at school. Our projects had to have a focus in mental health or sustainability. I chose sustainability because I’ve always been concerned about our environment and wanted to do my bit to help look after our planet.
I’ve always enjoyed arts and crafts and I love making earrings, so when I was trying to figure out how I could make my earrings sustainable, we just kind of stumbled across the idea for Ocean Ears at our local beach.
We were walking the dog one day after a high tide and we noticed that the beach was covered with micro plastics that had washed up along the tide line. We collected as much as we could, washed it and sorted it into colours and were amazed at how many different colours we had found. I used a UV resin and arranged the plastics into different moulds and after 10 minutes in the sun, we were really pleased with how they turned out.
In February this year I was lucky to feature on Channel 9’s My Way show and afterwards, my Etsy shop was very busy. I was making earrings for weeks! We stripped the beach clean of plastics.
NASA Spacecamp Winner 2023
My name is Toby Fealy and I am a 15 year old high school student from Mareeba, Far North Queensland.
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated with space. From building spacecraft out of Legos before I could walk to disappointing bicarbonate soda rockets that barely got a metre off the ground, the scientific method has always been the lens through which I see the world and that is why I’m so excited to be a part of this team. My other interests have always been things that require patience and problem solving, like playing music, tennis and reading but none have captivated me like the sciences, always representing a place where people aren’t bound by the borders of nations, but united by a common love of discovery and exploration.
The opportunity to learn and collaborate with an international group of students in this area on subjects I am passionate about is truly a dream come true, and I look forward to this amazing experience.