Managing Fire For Safety & Sustainability

Our Team

The Firescape Science team is made up of a number of consultants from a range of key environmental and social disciplines – we can create the perfect team for any project.  Our key staff are:

Fire, mapping and land management team

Dr Leasie Felderhof – director and principal environmental scientist

  • PhD in Earth and Environmental Science, James Cook University
  • Graduate Diploma in Natural Resource Management (Pass with exceptional merit), University of New England
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours (Class 1) (Botany and Zoology), James Cook University

Dr Felderhof has been involved in a number of local and State environmental projects ranging from regional conservation strategies, developing fire management systems, firescar mapping, remote sensing projects, threatened species recovery plans and biodiversity research.  She has worked in tropical north Queensland for over 22 years and has an extensive network of friends, associates and fellow scientists to draw upon when specialist expertise is required.


Lauren Colless – office manager & personal assistant to Dr Felderhof

  • Bachelor of Laws, James Cook University
  • Graduate Diploma in Information Management with Distinction, RMIT

Lauren is based in our office managing the day to day operations of the business.  She also assists with GIS, research, project support and logistics as Dr Felderhof’s assistant.


Linda Brosnan – accounts and administrative support

Linda is based in our office looking after our accounts as well as providing office support to our project team.


Dr Paul Williams – consultant

  • PhD in Plant Ecology, James Cook University
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours, University of New England

Dr Williams is a botanist and the Director of Vegetation Management Science.  His specialty is evaluating the results of land management actions on vegetation and significant flora. This includes vegetation mapping and monitoring, and assessments of fire, revegetation and weed management issues, from north-west Queensland to south-east Queensland, including the Wet Tropics and Cape York Peninsula.


Mick Blackman – consultant

  • Certificate IV Training and Assessment (Conservation and Land Assessment to Level III, Fire Level I, other fire training)
  • Aerial incendiary and fire fighting operations
  • Practical development of fire and weed management programs

Mick Blackman is the Managing Director of Friendly Fire Ecological Consultants. He has been involved in fire management for over 25 years, implementing fire programmes on rural residential, pastoral, mining, conservation and Aboriginal lands throughout Northern Australia.  He has practical, on-ground experience in all aspects of fire management and also offers accredited training in fire management and a number of other natural resource related fields. He is actively involved in promoting appropriate fire management through participation in a number of local and State organisations.


Dr David Gillieson – consultant

  • PhD in Geomorphology, University of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma in Remote Sensing and GIS, Charles Sturt University
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Geography), University of Queensland

Dr Gillieson has over twenty five years experience in vegetation mapping and assessment using aerial photography, airborne videography and satellite imagery.  He has led a major research project assessing woody vegetation change in northern Australian savannas. This used combined information from field surveys, air photo analysis and satellite image analysis in the Kimberleys (Western Australia), Victoria River District (Northern Territory) and Cape York Peninsula (Queensland). He has also carried out remote sensing research on the monitoring of rainforest canopy disturbance by cyclones, weed mapping in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, fire mapping in Cape York Peninsula and assessing the quality of riparian vegetation.


Keith McDonald – consultant

Mr McDonald worked in Queensland government conservation agencies for the last 43 years until his recent retirement.  His work has covered most parts of the state and has included threatened species management, monitoring and research with a special emphasis on frogs and reptiles.  He has published or co-authored numerous publications on Queensland fauna, coordinated and been involved in recovery teams associated with threatened species and has worked on the management of protected and threatened species on and off the protected area estate.  Keith has been collecting north Queensland plant specimens since 1971 and over 10,000 of these have been incorporated into the Queensland Herbarium collection including numerous weed records.  He is the Weed Spotters Regional Co-ordinator for the Northern Goldfields run by the Queensland Herbarium.  Keith is the recipient of the Queensland Museum Medal, a Cassowary Award from the Wet Tropics Management Authority and was a member of the international team receiving the CSIRO Medal for studies on the chytrid fungus which has decimated frog populations.  Keith contributes flora and fauna expertise to the group and interprets legislation with regard to the conservation status of species and ecosystems and appropriate management responses.

Dr Gay Crowley – consultant

  • PhD in Botany, James Cook University
  • Bachelor of Science with Honours (Botany and Geography)

Dr Crowley  is an ecologist who works with land managers, environmental planners and researchers to develop collaborative conservation options. This has included developing the Queensland Government’s Reef Policy Science Program in 2011-12, the Northern Territory NRM plan in 2010, the Land Manager and NT Infonet websites between 2005 and 2009 and the Management Guidelines for Golden-shouldered Parrots in 2003.

Dr Don Franklin – consultant

  • PhD in Ecology
  • Master of Science

Dr Franklin is a wildlife ecologist specialising in the conservation biology of birds and on plant ecology. He is an experienced botanist in savanna landscapes both in the Northern Territory and on Cape York Peninsula. Don is part of our carbon team. He surveys vegetation in order to prepare the verified vegetation maps needed for project registration under the Carbon Farming Initiative’s Savanna Fire Management methodology.

Liz Poon – casual research assistantLiz Poon

  • Bachelor of Science with Honours (Class 1) (Environmental Science), James Cook University

Liz assists with research projects by gathering background information, undertaking GIS analysis and preparing reports.


Aquatic biodiversity team 

Alf Hogan – consultant

  • Master of Science, James Cook University
  • Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology and Biometrics), James Cook University

Alf has 30 years of experience as a fish ecologist, initially with Queensland Department of Primary Industries and since 2008, as a private consultant.  Alf has worked across northern Australia, particularly in remote rivers in the Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York Peninsula, as well as most east coast streams.  He specialises in fish biodiversity surveys, fish migration and barriers, wetland rehabilitation, heavy metal estimation in fish communities, and river ecology and management.


Terry Vallance – consultant

  • Bachelor of Science with Honours (Zoology (Aquaculture) and Marine Biology (Fisheries)), James Cook University

Terry’s fields of expertise are fish biology, behaviour, and taxonomy.  He has more than 12 years experience conducting aquatic ecological studies throughout tropical Queensland, largely in remote areas. His clients include water boards, mining companies, NRM bodies, universities, government entities and fish stocking groups.  Terry owns and maintains boat-mounted and backpack electrofishing equipment as well as state of the art water quality meters. He is well equipped to tackle remote environments and has excellent logistical skills to access the inaccessible.

Terrestrial Biodiversity Team

Eleanor Collins – consultant

  • Bachelor of Science (Zoology and Botany) with Honours

Eleanor has skills and experience in practical fire management, especially monitoring the implications of fire programs on maintaining flora and fauna populations across many bioregions of Queensland.  She has experience in conducting vegetation and fauna surveys and helping to implement fire and weed management programs.


Business and Community Development Team

Ellie Bock – consultant

  • Bachelor of Arts (Modern Asian Studies), Griffith University
  • Graduate Diploma in International Relations and Development Studies, Institute of Social Studies (The Hague, Netherlands)

Ellie is a founding director of Regional Advisory and Innovation Network(RAIN) Pty Ltd, an enterprise devoted to creating and growing ecologically sustainable diversified futures for communities, businesses and individuals in northern rural, regional and remote Australia.  She has over 12 years of professional experience in complex process facilitation, cross-cultural engagement, participatory community development, participatory land use and land management planning.


Paul Fisk – consultant

  • Graduate Diploma in Resource Management
  • Graduate Diploma in Anthropology
  • Bachelor of Zoology

Paul has extensive experience in a range of areas, including in land use and environmental planning, Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) negotiations and planning for Aboriginal community organisations.  He has also conducted numerous conservation assessments and been involved with state policy development relating to environmental and resource use.  Paul is part of our carbon team, assisting Don with the vegetation verification surveys. He also consults with Traditional Owner ranger groups to identify their individual and detailed requirements for engaging in Savanna Fire Management projects.