“Our focus is on preventative nature-based health and wellbeing design: practical, scalable and proven solutions that can be incorporated into our everyday living.  They can be linked to technology, built into design and accessible to all regardless of ability, age, gender or socioeconomic status. Nature being an untapped source of  wellbeing  benefits for the health of individuals and communities.”

Who we are

Waminda Parker: Co-Founder and Director 

With over 20 years of strategic planning, operations and project management experience Waminda is accustomed to and enjoys building multidisciplinary programs that translate innovative concepts into executable plans. Waminda has a high-end capacity to build transdisciplinary networks across government, land managers, industry groups, community and research and as aligned to legislative frameworks, policy and planning instruments. As a Director of Programs Waminda has successfully established a range of large, long-term and complex projects, alliances, networks, consortiums and programs addressing holistic models of sustainability, community resilience and conservation.

Waminda has been actively promoting the co-benefits of nature connection and nature inspired design through talks, workshops, research, policy and planning. Waminda also lectures in and manages nature based research programs at Macquarie University, is a committee member of #NatureForAll (Australia) and Living Future Institute of Australia (Biophilic Design) and an Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional.

Dr Miles Holmes: Co-Founder and Director 

Miles is a professional facilitator, anthropologist and nature connection mentor, who has been working with groups in the outdoors for over 25 years. He has been mentored in deep nature connection, wilderness survival and meditation by leading experts in Australia and the USA and holds a PhD in anthropology completed in partnership with Warlpiri people from Central Australia. He consults as a trainer and facilitator in nature connection experiences. He also has over 15 years’ experience as a social anthropologist working with Aboriginal people in some of the most remote regions of Australia. Through this work and research he has developed a deep understanding of the processes through which humans become connected to nature, and an insight into the knowledge that Aboriginal peoples can offer in the practice of nature connection and environmental stewardship.

At the connective Miles brings together this experience to facilitate the core elements of nature connection. The proven skills and techniques that powerfully reconnect us with the natural world, ourselves and each other. Miles is a researcher and published academic and a passionate advocate for the role of nature connection in increasing general wellbeing, and in fostering the next generation of environmental stewards. Miles is also the co-founder of The Art of Mentoring. 

Ross Wissing

Ross is a landscape planning, design and management professional with over 25-years of experience in delivering integrated sustainable solutions in the green and grey infrastructure sectors across the public, private and academic domains.  He is passionate about involving people in the creation of sustainable urban environments that meet both ecological and human needs. Ross’s broad experience has been gained from technical fieldwork, community facilitation and senior appointments within policy across local, state and federal government.

In April 2020, Ross submitted his PhD in Landscape Architecture (Deakin University) that investigated the influence of natural, human (physiological and psychological), social, economic and built environment contributions to the use and design of backyards.  Central to this was the development of an Australian Philosophy of Landscape and an Australian Theory of Landscape Engagement incorporating Australian Aboriginal and Western approaches to the design and management. Ross has a horticultural degree and post graduate qualifications in environmental management and is a member of Parks and Leisure Australia’s Victorian Open Space Planning Network Committee and is an Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional.

Dr Matthew Zylstra

Matthew is an ecologist, educator and facilitator with over 15 years of international experience in research, education and facilitation of collaborative social-ecological change processes. He has a PhD in conservation ecology and transdisciplinary sustainability (Stellenbosch University, 2014) and his research explored how meaningful nature experience and nature connectedness can support transformative education for sustainability leadership. He has published and peer-reviewed widely on these themes. He has a long-standing curiosity with the evolving scientific understandings of consciousness and is keen on exploring how emerging insights can enhance our nature experiences, conservation practice and, ultimately, our neurophysiology in support of optimal health and wellbeing.

Matthew is a founding director for Noetic Ecology and coordinator of the Masiyembo Association, aimed at creating more meaningful opportunities for South Africans to find health, wellbeing and connection through nature. Matthew is also a research and education associate to the Sea Change Project (Cape Town) and also serves as a pro bono advisor to the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve, Earthfire Institute (USA), and the Kwendalo Institute.

John Allen

John has 30 years of experience working with State and Local Government, self-employment and community organisations. John has worked in the fields of biodiversity and landscape conservation, ecology and threatened species management, environmental education, Aboriginal cultural practice and heritage conservation, fire management and environmental planning.

As an experienced place and nature-based facilitator, John’s authenticity, honesty and experiential approaches to facilitation create an intimate and meaningful outcome across both individual and group work. John also has extensive experience in horticulture and landscape design.

Photograph: O. Eclipse; image © Wanta Steve Jampijinpa Patrick and Same But Different

Mr Wanta (Steven) Patrick Jampijinpa

Wanta currently sits on the Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation board as Senior Cultural Advisor for his community, Lajamanu, in the Northern Territory. Mr Patrick was a contributing author for ‘Ngurra-kurlu: A way of working with Warlpiri people’ – a report which outlines key elements of Warlpiri culture being land, law, language, ceremony and skin.

He is the founder and creative director of the award winning Milpirri cultural performance with Tracks Dance.  Mr Patrick, along with other Warlpiri elders, developed an app to tackle Indigenous youth suicide in 2017 and he has worked as a Community Liaison Officer and Teacher’s Assistant at the Lajamanu Community Education Centre. Currently he is a member of the National Co-design group as part of the Indigenous Voice process. He is a passionate educator for his own community and for cross cultural understanding, with many projects completed to date.

Wanta’s vision is connecting all Australians with country to maintain a strong sense of identity and personal wellbeing.  Wanta’s expertise at The Connective is related to how the core cultural elements of Ngurra-kurlu can be translated in nature connection interactions for mainstream audiences.

Wanta is a speaker and workshop facilitator, for further enquiries about his work contact miles@theconnective.co

What if we don’t know how the plants and animals and weather here in Australia speak, what if we can’t listen to the Kingdom of the Emu and the Kangaroo? What if we become so ignorant we won’t be able to relate to our own plants and animals and weather anymore?  Cultural Studies Review. volume 21 number 1 March 2015. 

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