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14 Dec 2022

Meet the BGEN committee

Paul Swift, Chair

Education & Partnerships Specialist
Auckland Botanic Gardens

Paul has worked in a variety of interpretation, education, and exhibition roles over the last 25 years. Having begun his professional career in the museum sector he worked in both regional and national museums including the role of Lifelong Learning Officer within the national Science Museum Group. He then spent 5 years working as an educational software producer and web editor before moving to New Zealand in 2008 to take up a role at Auckland Museum. Initially in the Education team he became the museum’s first Online Learning Producer before moving to the Musuem of Transport and Technology Musuem as Exhibition & Education Manager. Moving to Auckland Council in 2014 as a Senior Advisor within the Sustainable Schools team, based at Auckland Botanic Gardens, he was then appointed as Education & Partnerships Specialist in early 2021. He is committed to supporting people to understand the world around them and feels that connections with the natural environment are essential to well-being and happiness.


Education and Learning Manager
Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Perth

Charlotte has worked in education at Kings Park and Botanic Garden for over 10 years. She coordinates the schools education program, community learning programs and visitor services within Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park. The Education and Learning team are focussed on connecting children to nature though authentic nature-based experiences, and creating learning opportunities in the areas of E-STEM, cultural Heritage and Wellbeing. Charlotte has a diverse background in park management and visitor services having worked previously as a Ranger in the UK in both countryside and urban parklands.

Ben Liu, Secretary/Treasurer

Creative Producer, Learning and Participation
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Ben works within the Programming Team at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, a team that each year delivers nature-based programs to more than 30,000 students. Originally trained as a secondary teacher Ben has experience as a classroom Geography, Environmental Science and Outdoor Education teacher as well as more recently as an environmental educator across formal and informal settings both locally and internationally.

With an interest in research, Ben has been exploring the alignment of education and organisation mission, in particular exploring the parallels and conflicts that arise from this so that informal education organisations can better understand the contribution education makes to achieving organisation missions.

Mak Djukic, Committee member

Education Coordinator
Botanic Gardens of South Australia

Mak has worked in public education as a high school teacher for just under a decade before taking on a ‘tree-change’ in the role of Education Coordinator at the Botanic Gardens of South Australia. He delivers environmental education experiences for school groups, designs and delivers teacher professional development, with a touch of event management. He is passionate about educating children in considering elements of sustainability, and including plants and nature in their lives, as well as innovating on pedagogy in the form of formative learning, digital integration and intellectual stretch.

Ngaire Gilligan, Committee member

Education and Interpretation Coordinator
Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha

Ngaire is the Education and Interpretation Coordinator for the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha. Working with her team of education officers, she is responsible for coordinating (and presenting, when she can sneak it in) the school education program, community learning program (workshops, school holiday activities and education-based festivals/events) and all interpretive activities (displays, signage, strategy and wayfinding) at the botanic gardens.

Having previously worked as a research scientist (botanical and chemical control of weeds), secondary science teacher and environmental education officer, Ngaire’s interest is in educating people on the ecological value and cultural importance of plants in their lives, so that they can help “put the plant back into planet”. Her current pedagogical focus is on the development of child-centred learning experiences in nature that will help them develop close, empathetic connections with the natural world.

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