Team profiles

Jo Harding : Bush Blitz Manager:

Jo Harding

Bush Blitz Manager

Jo Harding (MPhil (Wildlife Conservation Management); BA) is the Bush Blitz Manager. Jo has undertaken field work in Australia, Thailand and Vietnam. Before moving into the field of natural resource management she studied non-human primates and has published and presented scientific papers on the study of wild and captive primate behaviour, ecology and taxonomy. Jo has worked and travelled in Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, India, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. She has 3 children and lives in Canberra.

Kate Gillespie : Bush Blitz Senior Project Officer:

Kate Gillespie

Bush Blitz Senior Project Officer

Kate (B. Science - Honours in Zoology) is a Bush Blitz Senior Project Officer and Field Team Leader. Kate joined the Bush Blitz team in 2010 and has lead 19 Bush Blitz expeditions across every state and territory in Australia. Kate has over 15 years experience in undertaking biological field survey management and ecological impact assessments for the private and government sectors. She has undertaken volunteer work for a number of conservation organisations and worked on threatened species programs throughout Australia. Originally from Melbourne, Kate has also lived and worked in Ireland as an ecologist and has undertaken coyote research in California USA. Kate has been playing AFL for over 5 years.

Dr Kate Grarock : Bush Blitz Senior Project Officer:

Dr Kate Grarock

Bush Blitz Senior Project Officer

Dr Kate is an ecologist, who worked for 5 years on research and restoration of critically endangered grassy woodlands in the ACT, before joining the Bush Blitz team. This work included reintroducing locally extinct species, such as the Eastern Bettong, Quoll and Bush Stone-curlew. Kate also developed a suite of education programs for the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, sharing science with policy makers, students and the local community. This work resulted in her being a Eureka Prize finalist in 2018 and ACT Australian of the year nominee in 2019.

In her spare time Kate loves hiking and packrafting; and is a member of the NSW Bush Search and Rescue Squad.

Paula Banks : Bush Blitz Reporting Officer:

Paula Banks

Bush Blitz Reporting Officer

Paula (BSc Hons Zoology) compiles the reports that follow each Bush Blitz expedition. Growing up in Wales, Paula's interest in wildlife led her to undertake personal species discovery trips to places such as Madagascar and the Galapagos Islands before she finally settled in Australia. Paula is passionate about science communication and delivered environmental education and volunteer management through non-profit organisations before joining Parks Australia in 2012.

Helen Cross : Bush Blitz Business & Finance Officer:

Helen Cross

Bush Blitz Business & Finance Officer

Helen (BSc - Ecology & Natural Resources) joined Bush Blitz at the end of April 2019 to look after administration and finances. Helen grew up in Canberra, then moved to western Queensland, where she enjoyed working as a Wildlife Ranger, Park Ranger and Regional Landcare Facilitator, and also married a local and had 3 children. Helen and her family moved back to Canberra in 2016. As at the end of 2023 Helen has attended 10 Bush Blitz expeditions, including 3 as the Expedition Leader. In her spare time she enjoys photographing wildlife and documenting it on the NatureMapr platform.

Jesse Holden : Bush Blitz TeachLive Coordinator:

Jesse Holden

Bush Blitz TeachLive Coordinator

Jesse is the Program Coordinator for Biodiversity at Earthwatch, and runs the Bush Blitz TeachLive Program. With a background in Remote Area Wilderness Guiding, Ecotourism Program Management and Environmental Sociology, Jesse is passionate about the human story, protecting natural places and promoting greater connection for environments and communities. Jesse has worked across a variety of Environmental, Cultural, Business and Expedition based projects in Tasmania, Southern Victoria and Cologne, Germany. Jesse works to help nurture and inspire future generations of environmentalists and naturalists to embrace custodianship and advocate for their landscapes. When he's not on a Bush Blitz expedition Jesse is found on Victoria's Surf Coast with his partner and Kelpie pup Rrala. They'll often be hard to pinpoint as they galivant across the land and seascapes of Tasmania and Victoria climbing, mountain biking, hiking and appreciating nature.