Foundation

Founded in 2018 to urgently protect the world’s single greatest fossil record of first animal life, the Foundation achieves its purpose through in situ conservation, and supporting education and tourism, making the fossils and their significance accessible for all.

THE FOUNDATION

The Foundation is dedicated to protecting and conserving these fossils, and ensuring they are well managed for current and future generations to experience and learn from them.

We also want to ensure the fossils continue to be the subject of critical palaeontological research, ensuring South Australia is at the forefront of science.

Our fossil record is not only unique in having so many species, and such an extraordinary record of the ecology of the marine environment from this distant past; it provides unparalleled insight into how animal life evolved in a changing environment on Earth. Recognising the site’s historical significance, NASA has supported research in the Flinders Ranges for many years.

The Foundation continues to work closely with land managers, researchers, institutions, and the traditional owners and broader community of the Flinders Ranges, to ensure our Ediacaran legacy is a source of pride and opportunity.

Ensuring the fossils are accessible, well managed and inspiring the next generation of future scientists is an important part of our goal. The fossils also have an artistic legacy – they are a thing of rare beauty and have inspired internationally renowned musicians and artists such as Elena Kats-Chernin, Cathy Milliken, Gabriella Smart and Constantine Koukias.

The Nilpena site, which has been so well managed by Ross and Jane Fargher, will now be protected as a national park, and its future is secured thanks to the support of and ongoing partnership with the South Australian Government. But this achievement is only the beginning. We hope you will be inspired to contribute to the creation of a new legacy for the Flinders Ranges, our state, and our planet.

THE FOUNDATION

THE BOARD AND IMPACT COUNCIL

To ensure the Foundation proceeds wisely and with a worldwide perspective our Board includes international experts in palaeontology, strategic marketing, social media, business innovation, finance and law.

The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation Impact Council will provide global perspective, connection to relevant communities, and the wisdom of extraordinary experience.

Institutional Mission & Purpose

The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation exists to conserve the Ediacara fossils of the Flinders Ranges in perpetuity, and to ensure the world benefits from the knowledge they embody.

Vision & Commitments

The Nilpena site will be supported by a secure and sustainable plan.
Learnings from Nilpena will be available to interested people anywhere in the world. The site is the most important Ediacara fossil site in the world.

THE FOUNDATION

FROM THE CHAIR:
MARY LOU SIMPSON

The Foundation’s goal is to make a practical contribution to an extraordinary part of South Australia’s heritage; the world-renowned Ediacara fossils.

The Foundation was founded in 2018 as a non-profit organisation, with the purpose to urgently protect the world’s single greatest fossil record of first animal life.

We achieve our purpose through in-situ conservation and by supporting education and tourism, ensuring the fossils and their significance remain accessible for all. We are working with government and a range of partners to create a long-term asset for the Flinders Ranges, and to support the protection of this fossil heritage in perpetuity.

To ensure we proceed wisely and with a worldwide perspective, we have appointed a board which includes international experts in palaeontology, strategic marketing, media, business innovation, finance and law.

The Foundation is embarking on an ambitious preservation and interpretation program at Nilpena as the first stage in achieving its goals. We hope that you will be inspired to contribute to creating a new legacy for Australia.

THE FOUNDATION

The Foundation Board

Chair and Founder

Mary Lou Simpson

As founder and chair of the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation, Mary Lou has had a strong interest in the Nilpena Ediacaran fossil beds since 2004

As founder and chair of the Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation, Mary Lou has had a strong interest in the Nilpena Ediacara fossil beds since 2004. She understands the global significance of the fossils for scientific research, education, and ecotourism. Mary Lou has gained a thorough understanding by working closely with palaeontologists in the field and personally leading Waterhouse Club (main support group, South Australian Museum) expeditions to the site.

Mary Lou has been a principal fundraiser for the purchase of the fossil beds, which are now owned by the State Government. The land on which they rest is soon to become a National Park. She takes great pride in being responsible for raising funds to refurbish the South Australian Museum’s Ediacara Gallery.

An Honour’s graduate of the University of Adelaide (History), Mary Lou was a secondary teacher, public examiner and curriculum writer. She is a volunteer teacher at the South Australian Museum where she was a contract employee in Anthropology. Mary Lou is committed to ensuring the Ediacara story reaches as many people as possible, and particularly school children.
For 19 years, Mary Lou was secretary of the Waterhouse Club. She has authored a book on South Australian history and has had a number of articles published. She lives in the Adelaide foothills with her husband and they share interests in bushwalking and sailing. Mary Lou’s other interests revolve around supporting young musicians and golf. (And she has six pet magpies all called Melba.)

Director (California, USA)

Dr Mary Droser

Mary received her PhD from the University of Southern California, she has been working on Ediacaran and Cambrian rocks all over the world throughout her career, specifically at Nilpena in the Flinders Ranges for the past 18 years.

Mary is Professor of Geology, Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Having received her PhD from the University of Southern California, she has been working on Ediacaran and Cambrian rocks all over the world throughout her career, specifically at Nilpena in the Flinders Ranges for the past 18 years.
Mary is widely published and regularly contributes to scientific journals.
The University of California Riverside’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences focuses on research and education about Earth dynamics and history, planets inside and outside or our solar system, and life in the universe.
Students and faculty investigate geological processes operating at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales and research interests span many disciplines within the Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Mary is very involved in working to increase diversity in the Earth Sciences.
Director

John Goldberg

John Goldberg practices as a commercial lawyer in South Australia and has more than 40 years of experience.

John Goldberg practices as a commercial lawyer in South Australia and has more than 40 years of experience.

John has acted as a board adviser and as a director on a large number of private companies and also has considerable experience in the not-for-profit sector.

John is a former President of the Law Society of South Australia and chaired the Ethics Committee of the Law Society for more than seven years. He also chaired the Law Society’s Audit and Risk Management Committee and Investment Committee.

Apart from his experience as a lawyer, John is an experienced nature and wildlife photographer.

Director

Prof Robert S Hill

Bob Hill is a graduate of the University of Adelaide and completed his PhD on Cenozoic plant macrofossils and his DSc on the interaction between climate change and the evolution of the living Australian vegetation.

Bob Hill is a graduate of the University of Adelaide and completed his PhD on Cenozoic plant macrofossils and his DSc on the interaction between climate change and the evolution of the living Australian vegetation.

In 1999 he returned to the University of Adelaide as an Australian Research Council Senior Research Fellow and in 2001 was appointed Head of Science at the South Australian Museum.

Bob became Head of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Adelaide in 2003, and then Executive Dean. Bob is currently the Director of the university’s Environment Institute.

Bob has won many awards throughout his career, including the Clarke and Burbidge Medals for his research into the impact of long-term climate change on the evolution of Australian vegetation.

Accounts

Belinda Goedecke

Belinda is an experienced accountant who specialises in taxation and general business services. She has worked as an accountant with Nexia Edwards Marshall, a medium sized firm in Adelaide, for many years.

Belinda is an experienced accountant who specialises in taxation and general business services. She has worked as an accountant with Nexia Edwards Marshall, a medium sized firm in Adelaide, for many years.

Belinda has provided taxation, accounting and general business services to clients ranging from individuals through to small and medium-sized businesses. During her time with Nexia Edwards Marshall she has also specialised in foreign tax issues and Research and Development Tax Incentive claims. On occasions, Belinda has also provided advice to not-for-profit organisations and assisted with their financial obligations.

Belinda currently works with Nexia Edwards Marshall on a consulting basis, where her focus has shifted to not-for-profit organisations.

Belinda holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Adelaide. She is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

Government Observer

Stuart Paul

Stuart is an experienced executive with a background in conservation, natural resource and protected area management.

Stuart is an experienced executive with a background in conservation, natural resource and protected area management.
On 1 July 2019, Stuart was engaged as the Director of Regional Operations with the National Parks and Wildlife Service Division of the Department for Environment and Water, SA. In this role, Stuart leads a team of National Parks and Wildlife Managers, Rangers and specialist staff that manage over 360 national parks and reserves across seven regions in South Australia.
Prior to his current role, Stuart was the Department’s Regional Director for the South Australian Arid Lands Region. Based in Port Augusta, he led a diverse team supporting the management of national parks, natural resources, pastoral lands and high profile conservation programs across the Flinders Ranges and outback rangelands of South Australia.
Prior to joining the South Australian Department for Environment and Water in 2013, Stuart worked with the Australian Governments - Parks Australia Division, in roles spanning workforce planning and development, operational management and conservation program delivery, most notably across the World Heritage listed and jointly managed Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks.
Stuart holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Adelaide, post graduate qualifications in Public Sector Leadership and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

THE FOUNDATION

The Impact Council

Chief Scientist, Queensland

Dr Hugh Possingham

Dr Hugh Possingham is a former Rhodes Scholar who completed his Doctor of Philosophy in ecology and mathematics at Oxford University.

Dr Hugh Possingham is a former Rhodes Scholar who completed his Doctor of Philosophy in ecology and mathematics at Oxford University.
He currently holds a number of positions including: Chief Scientist of Queensland, Board Director of Birdlife Australia, Member of The Wentworth Group, Researcher for Threatened Species Index and Head of The Possingham Lab, University of Queensland.

He recently completed a term as Chief Scientist at The Nature Conservancy.

In 2019 the University of Adelaide awarded Professor Possingham an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa) in acknowledgement of his internationally recognised pioneering research into endangered species, conservation biology and ecological planning. He is also a University of Adelaide Emeritus Professor.

Professor Possingham was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2005. In 2013, he was the first Australian to be elected an Ecological Society of America Fellow, and in 2016 he was elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.

Award winning writer and broadcaster

Richard Fortey

Richard is both an internationally-recognised research scientist and a leading presenter of both life and Earth’s interactive history, and the value of the scientific approach.

Richard is both an internationally-recognised research scientist and a leading presenter of both life and Earth’s interactive history, and the value of the scientific approach.
Richard is the world’s leading authority on trilobites, the ancient marine fossil, having contributed fundamentally to the understanding of their life habits, evolutionary relationships, and role as indicators of ancient world geography in more than 200 publications. He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of this contribution.
Richard is widely known as a writer and broadcaster on natural history topics in the United Kingdom, have published a series of popular books celebrating an appreciation of the history of nature and its vital role in decision making for an enduring future.
AO Global conservation leader

Penny Figgis AO

Penelope Figgis serves on the international committee of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, as Vice Chair Oceania, in a position she has held since 2005.

Penelope Figgis serves on the international committee of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, as Vice Chair Oceania, in a position she has held since 2005.
Penelope has had a long career in conservation, working in the NGO, academic and government sectors. She was the principal lobbyist to the Federal Government in the early 1980s and served as the Vice President of the Australian Conservation Foundation for 17 years. She has served on the boards of many national and state statutory authorities as well as contributing to conservation though extensive public speaking, writing and lecturing.
Penelope’s core areas of expertise are biodiversity and protected area policy, World Heritage, conservation on private lands, and nature-based tourism. As Director of the Australian Committee for IUCN from 2011-2014, she revitalised the organisation, established secure finances, created a major symposium series and generated three books and other publications leading up to the 2014 IUCN World Protected Areas Congress in Sydney.
For her lifetime dedication to conservation, Penelope has been twice awarded Australian Honours, becoming a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994 and Officer of the Order of Australia in 2006.
Retired NASA Astronaut and first Australian in space

Dr Andy Thomas AO

Andy was selected to join the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1992, after obtaining a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Adelaide, followed by several years working in the US aerospace industry.

Andy was selected to join the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1992, after obtaining a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Adelaide, followed by several years working in the US aerospace industry.
Andy’s first flight into space was on a 10-day science mission aboard the space shuttle Endeavour in 1996. This was followed by a 20-week mission as a cosmonaut on the Mir space station in 1998.
His third flight came in 2001, on a mission to the International Space Station, and included a six-hour spacewalk outside of space station.
Andy’s fourth space flight, also to the space station, was on space shuttle Discovery in 2005. As a professional astronaut, he has logged more than 177 days in space.

IN HONOUR OF

Chris Meyer

1948-2020

Our website is dedicated to our founding visionary director.

Thank you and acknowledgements

The Flinders Ranges Ediacara Foundation acknowledges these people for images used in the website:

  • Diego Garcia-Bellido
  • James Fitzroy
  • John Goldberg
  • Jason Irving
  • Mary Lou Simpson
  • Mary Droser
  • Lyndal Redman