Biosphere Foundation

Since 2003, the not-for-profit Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation has worked with the community to create a sustainable future for Western Port – environmentally, socially and economically.

Since 2003, the non-profit Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve Foundation Ltd – known as the Biosphere Foundation for short has worked with the community to create a sustainable future for Western Port – environmentally, socially and economically. We do this through research, education, community engagement, partnerships and on-ground conservation efforts. The Foundation has tax-deductibility status as an environmental organisation.

The Board of the Foundation, led by Chair Jo McCoy, is skills-based and includes a Councillor nominated from the five local governments covered by the Reserve.

The Foundation seeks advice and guidance from members of the Science and Education Committee drawing on their links to scientific and educational institutions and eminent experts in fields relevant to the environment and sustainable development.

The Biosphere Foundation’s Executive Officer Greg Hunt, Project Officers Lance Lloyd and Stephen Brend, and Communications Officer Sarah Coe are based at the office in Hastings. The foundation also hosts the Western Port Biosphere Community Forum – a community/agency liaison group with an interest in the sustainability of the region.

The Biosphere Foundation is funded by donations and contributions from the five local governments of the Biosphere – Cities of Casey and Frankston and Shires of Bass Coast, Cardinia and Mornington Peninsula. It also receives grant funding for projects from a number of sources, including the State Government, Federal Government, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria and Port Phillip and Westernport Catchment Management Authority and philanthropists.

View our 2018-2019 Annual Report

The Board

Jo McCoy
BSc, Dip Ed., M Env Sci

Jo is a former secondary school teacher who taught Geography, Biology and Environmental Science in Melbourne and country Victoria for many years. She then moved to DSE and spent more than a decade as a senior public servant working in conservation and natural resource management policy as well as business management roles. While there, she worked with the Phillip Island Nature Park Board in the early 2000s, was the Project Director for the Land and Biodiversity White Paper from 2007-2009 and the Manager of the Victorian Landcare program from 2010-2011. Jo’s family owns a property at Flinders to which she loves to escape at every opportunity. Now semi-retired, Jo volunteers as a guide at Melbourne Zoo and is the area coordinator for the Welcome Dinner Project in Melbourne’s east.

Dr Philip Bachelor OAM

Philip is a cemetery administrator and academic with a background in urban and regional park management, business administration and social anthropology. An experienced company director, he is CEO of Melbourne’s revitalised Box Hill Cemetery and postgrad course director and lecturer in cemetery practice at Deakin University. He has been recognised by the Order of Australia for ‘services to the community, the environment and to cemetery management’

Geoff Brooks

Geoff brings perspectives and communications expertise founded on a multi-sector career as a senior executive, consultant and specialist in corporate communications, public affairs and marketing. This included several years’ pro bono consulting to the World Wildlife Fund, which allowed him to support globally significant campaigns like the establishment of the Southern Ocean Sanctuary for Whales. An enthusiastic kayaker and photographer around the Mornington Peninsula, he is a keen advocate of sustainable development that is sensitive to the region’s great natural attributes. Geoff holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of Queensland) and he is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

David Cross

David has a background in documentation and training, running his own small business, and is passionate about the environment. His background includes ten years as Chair of the Frankston Environmental Friends Network and involvement with other volunteer organisations, including current President of Australian Society for Technical Communication and a former member of the Frankston Council’s Environmental Advisory Committee. He has lived with his family in Frankston for nearly 30 years and was named Frankston’s Citizen of the Year in 2016.

Colette Day
MAppSc, BSc chem/Biochem, Grad Dip Marketing, Grad Cert BA

Colette is a scientist who works in the food industry and in Agricultural research. As a food technologist, Colette has worked on major Australian brands with leadership positions in Dairy, food formulation, consumer research and marketing. She has held lecturing positions in Food Chemistry and Product Development.

Colette has qualifications in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Consumer Science and Business.

As a consultant for the University of Melbourne she works to commercialise research in the school of Food and Agriculture with a focus on Sustainable Indigenous Agriculture.

Colette lives and works on the Mornington Peninsula where she is a passionate advocate for her bush coastal village environment.

Isabelle Higgins
M Sc Chem Eng, M Env Sci, GAICD 

Isabelle is an experienced director who brings to the Board expertise in strategy and business planning, projects & risks management, stakeholder engagement and environmental and sustainability consulting. She has worked for large multinational corporations and runs her own consulting agency that aims to help develop safe, profitable and sustainable businesses. Isabelle has a passion for social justice and the environment.

Karen Hook
Karen is a marketing and communications specialist with a background in education with extensive experience that spans industries and regions.   She brings to the board 15years experience in building brand awareness, customer engagement and stakeholder support.

Karen has previous experience serving on a variety of community and board committees and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Quinn McCormack

Quinn McCormack, a lawyer with extensive experience in private and public practice and as a practise manager. She is currently the Managing Director of QHM Lawyers, located in Melbourne’s South-East and was elected as a Councillor to Frankston City Council in November 2016.

Quinn has a longstanding exposure and involvement with public boards, with a strong governance and risk management focus. Quinn has also been employed as a Judge’s Associate and legal education and policy officer, promoting policy positions, as well as providing practical assistance, education and guidance to legal practitioners, government agencies and the community.

In addition to her legal qualifications, Quinn holds an Honours Degree in Science and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has served as Chair of the Frankston Nature Conservation Reserve Committee of Management, and on the boards of Peninsula Community Legal Centre, WHISE, Frankston Nature Conservation Reserve Guardians, Friends of Earimil Creek, and Devilbend Foundation to name a few.

Her qualifications include: Bachelor of Science (Honours), Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts, Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice and Ethics Master of Laws Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors.

David Young
Dip. Farm Management

David Young is Cardinia Shire Council’s representative on the Biosphere Board. Currently farming at Officer South, his interests include sustainable agriculture and wildlife habitat conservation. Some committees he has been involved with include Cardinia Creek Environment Working Group, Yakkerboo and Cardinia’s Environment Management Strategy. He enjoys serving the interests of the Biosphere community and region.



The biosphere reserve nomination document contains a number of commitments regarding governance and management.

The Biosphere Foundation’s constitution was adopted at the inaugural meeting in December 2003, and in conjunction with the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth), sets the statutory governance framework for the foundation.

There is a procedural pathway prescribed for changing the constitution, should that prove necessary or desirable. However, the organisational review conducted during 2005 concluded that no changes to the constitution were warranted at that time.

The Biosphere Foundation’s charter was also adopted at the inaugural meeting in December 2003. The charter reflects both the aspirational objectives of the foundation and the specific governance expectations of the Victorian State Government. It provides the broad vision for the biosphere reserve.

The Biosphere Foundation’s Living Strategy provides a concise description of its strategy to achieve MAB objectives in the biosphere reserve.

In 2014, a Governance Review Report was conducted by Kevin Love and the recommendations were adopted by the membership and board.

Prior to this, in 2010, an evaluation study was conducted by Roberts Evaluation Pty Ltd, as required by Victoria’s Biosphere Reserve Policy, to determine the effectiveness of the biosphere reserve since its designation in 2002 (​Performance of the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve Evaluation Study, Roberts Evaluation Pty Ltd, and ​Board response to the Roberts Evaluation report).

A range of internal policies guide the day-to-day operation of the Biosphere Foundation.

In 2014 the Biosphere successfully underwent its ten year review with UNESCO. This location map was included in the UNESCO review.

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