Meet Some of Gecko's Team

Management Committee


Anna Itkonen

I have been involved in Gecko for over 10 years now.

I have had many roles over the years and currently I am the President as well as the Events Portfolio holder.

I am also an Events Manager, a Communications Coordinator and Office and Volunteer Support. (With all these roles, you will see me in the office on most of the days!)

I believe it is not just our obligation, but also our privilege, to look after and care for the environment.

My involvement in Gecko is a part of that privilege for me.

Vice President

Jenny Madigan

I have been volunteering at Gecko for over two years, I discovered Gecko soon after moving to the Gold Coast.

As I was studying a degree in sustainability, Gecko provided the perfect volunteering opportunity to complement my studies.

Throughout my time at Gecko I have helped in multiple areas such as GeckoEd, grants, events and campaigns.

It has been astounding to me how much I have learned and I am constantly proud and excited to be part of the great work Gecko does.

I am now a small sustainable business owner on the Southern Gold Coast and I continue to value my volunteer time at Gecko and am always excited to support and collaborate with Gecko through my business.


Dorothy Tollett

I have previously worked with Gecko’s Management Committee where I found them friendly and willing to impart the knowledge I needed of the budgeting system within Gecko to perform that task.   The intricacies of this became enthralling so, when the opportunity arrived, I offered to take on the position of Treasurer so I can use the life skills learned during my career for the benefit of a worthwhile cause.


Rose Adams

I have been Gecko’s Secretary, more on than off, since 2001 and it is a position I am happy to fill. There are some tedious aspects to do with paperwork, filing and other statutory aspects but there are also more exciting things involved, including having the opportunity and honour to represent our organisation at public meetings and events and in interactions with elected officials. It is our job as environmental campaigners to speak up about things that may harm our natural world and to lobby hard for changes to improve environmental protection. As well, “environment” includes the amenity of the places we live- our ability to access adequate public open space, enjoy liveable cities and have faith in the honesty and accountability of our decision-makers. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with like-minded people to achieve these things and build a better world.

Honory Member

Simone Gillespie

In 2011, I moved with my family from Brisbane to within easy walking distance of Gecko House and have been Treasurer since late 2011. I have a full time job as a Civil Engineer, but I love working with the wonderful people at Gecko and giving back to the local community and the environment in my spare time. As Gecko’s Treasurer, I ensure Gecko manages its finances in a responsible manner and meet the regulatory requirements of a not for profit organisation. Being Treasurer at Gecko means that you are involved in most aspects of the organisation and you get to meet many wonderful like-minded people who are passionate about the environment.

Long Term Volunteers

Allan Rudd

Allan Rudd – Gecko Friends & Fundraising Coordinator I joined Gecko as a volunteer in 2014, being thrown into helping the then President with the fast approaching Green Week, which I was involved in for the next couple of years. Early on I realised the need for a method of Regular Donations, we created Gecko Friends, a regular giving program being launched January 2015. The funds raised go to the General Fund for the varied programmes of Gecko from Campaigns, Events, Tree planting regeneration and the Kids Education programmes.
I maintain the donation processing each month, following up with donors, tax receipts, attendance at Events (Markets and Speaker Nights) spruiking The Friends Programme and signing up new Members. As well as the benefit this brought to Gecko, personally I have made some interesting friendship with my co-workers and enjoy the commitment to maintaining the environment we all live in.

Anna Bridle

Anna Bridle, Administrator   I have been a Gecko Volunteer since 1989. Had stints as Secretary, Gecko Newsletter editor; Admin & HR coordinator on the Management Committee;  Campaigner for a Nuclear-free world  & extending protected estate on Gold Coast- SEQFA; inaugural International Womens’ Day lunch coordinator; participant in general campaigns and receptionist/ admin assistant.

Volunteering at Gecko is rewarding and fun. The variety of people who work there recognise the valuable work Gecko does on the Gold Coast and make volunteering a very worthwhile experience.

Anne Wasley-Housecare & Social Events Coordinator
I was looking for a volunteer opportunity and found out that Gecko wanted a Housecare/Buildingcare Coordinator. I was so inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of the Volunteers at Gecko helping to save the environment, and as a runner & swimmer, living on Currumbin Beach, I value the environment and Gecko’s values.
In December 2014. I started as the Manager’s Assistant, Housecare Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Social Coordinator & was on the Management Committee in 2015. Currently I fill the role of the Housecare & Social Coordinator.

Anne Wasley

Carol Skeffington
I moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast a few years ago and became involved with Gecko shortly after.

I am concerned with the future of our planet for my grandchildren and feel the need to contribute to better our environment.

Gecko does amazing work raising awareness on the many issues that affect us all living in this beautiful area, and I am proud to do my bit.

Carol Skeffington
Cate Ware

Cate Ware-Newsletter Editor and GCAN Climate Hub Actioneer
I could not resist Gecko in 2003 when I started as a volunteer. I was working full time and wanted to walk my talk. Inspired by the World Environment Day ‘The Do’ in Winders Park, laden with information and environmental logos, I volunteered for Saturday morning Bush Care at Tarrabora. This was the start of building my ‘Gecko Family’. There are many things to do outside of the working week, and I followed up with lots including assisting at Trivia Night and Gecko Talks during the week. As they say….if you say YES, the skills and opportunities grow AND my ‘Gecko Family’ continued to grow.
What’s in it for me? Friendship, community, skills development, personal satisfaction of supporting something that makes a difference and a lot of LAUGHS! What I do changes me and the world!

Cheryl Vandulmen

Cheryl Vandulmen-EcoDiscoverers Coordinator
I first became involved with Gecko when I did my Vocational Placement for my Certificate 1V in Youth Work, back in 2012. I was placed with the GeckoEd team who work with children in Primary and High Schools delivering Environmental Education. Seeing the young kids, especially enjoying being outdoors and loving what they were learning from us, I decided to stay with Gecko and help with the education of the children.

My role here is in an administrative capacity, helping to organise and deliver our EcoDiscoverers programs over the school holidays and also GeckoEd programs with school children and adults.

Dereka Ogden-Gecko Education.
It all began with being asked to be treasurer of Gecko. I filled this role for 4 years then many years later in 2007 I was elected President. I wanted to start an education section in Gecko so during this time with a small group of dedicated people we launched GeckoEd which has been operating successfully ever since.
As GeckoEd’s Co-ordinator, I have worked with a team of wonderful people and we successfully deliver a variety of environmental programs for all ages from preschoolers, through primary to secondary levels. We also run a holiday program for 5-9 year olds, a weekly Kids Club and several environmental walks for the general public.

Dereka Ogden

Dorothy Tollett – Volunteer Coordinator
I’m a newbie in my role as Volunteer Coordinator.

I work closely with the Management Committee members in assisting them with advertising the positions that Gecko needs and I then induct future volunteers into Gecko and guide them accordingly to the relevant committee members who are seeking volunteers to assist them in their specific areas of specialisation such as Administration, Campaigns, Events, and Education.

Dorothy Tollett
Gabby Newport

Gabby Newport – Campaigns Team Member
I am a retired Primary School teacher with a keen interest in Environmental Education. I was born on the Gold Coast and have always been fascinated about its history and natural environment.

I have been involved in Gecko as a media researcher for many years now. I enjoy being a part of the Gecko team. Being a volunteer here means doing something interesting and worthwhile while enjoying like-minded company and stimulating discussions.


Johanne Green

Johanne Green – Hall Hire Coordinator
It all began with a walk soon after I moved to the Coast. I came across the Gecko building and saw a flyer for a free public talk. I had an interest in the environment so I decided to go.

Allow me to explain: I left my email address on a list at the talk and they sent an email out the next week asking for volunteers.

And in that moment I decided that it would be a great opportunity to work for the environment and meet like minded people.

I’ve been at Gecko ever since, first working on the front desk and then coordinating hall hire. I love my days at Gecko and have made some great friends while helping the environment.

Pauline Kershaw – Grants Co-ordinator. 
Having lived on small acreage in both Victoria and the Gold Coast for many years, the protection of the Australian landscape with its diversity of flora and fauna is important to me.

After retiring some 18 months ago Gecko was my first choice to apply as a volunteer. Since starting a year ago as an assistant to Johanne Green in Hall Hire, I was then offered a chance to get involved with Gecko Talks. Now as a new member of the Management Committee I have taken on the role of Grants Co-ordinator.

I am still learning the ropes and finding out just how much the Gecko team is involved in the environment, dealing with all the complex issues to save green space, the diversity of our local environment  and over development issues.

The volunteer team is committed, friendly and dedicated, and I have enjoyed my journey so far.

Pauline Kershaw

Liz Martin – Librarian -Returning home after a long holiday I decided that I needed to put something back into the community and so I searched the web for a volunteering position. I found the most appealing to me was a voluntary librarian’s position at Gecko. Most of my working life had been spent in libraries in Melbourne, London and Brisbane where my career spanned over 30 years. I applied and started work a few months later in the Gecko Library. I have worked one day a week since 2009 with a group of friendly dedicated people and thoroughly enjoyed the work and company.
The library is currently being re-catalogued using a new programme called ‘Library Thing’ which will be available for viewing on the internet later in 2018. New, donated and subject relevant books are regularly catalogued and added to our small environmental library. 

Liz Martin
Lois Levy

Lois Levy-Advocate & Campaigner
I have been a campaign activist since 1979, first with Friends of Currumbin Association and then with the founding of Gecko in1989. I am the Campaign Coordinator at Gecko working with Gecko volunteers and colleagues from Gold Coast and South East Queensland community organisations. Campaigns are challenging, interesting and provide opportunities for learning about our community and meeting people
Gecko’s campaigners focus on protection of conservation lands and public open space, addressing climate change and sustainability of our city. We act through submissions, letters, community awareness raising, lobbying and, when necessary, through rallies and protests. I have also sat continuously on the Gecko Management Committee as President, Secretary and committee member and on the Grants team on a regular basis.
It all began with a 5 cm story in the local paper in 1979 about a major development on the whole of the north bank of the Currumbin Estuary. This was the first of several successful major campaigns including Stop the Cableway, and several Save Our Spit campaigns.

Petra Hatu

Petra Hatu – Receptionist and Hall Hire Team Member

I joined the Gecko Administration Team in 2014 and I am working in Reception and Hall Hire.

Gecko has been my choice of volunteering after my involvement in a Community Development Project during my Studies in Community Services. As I am passionate about the environment I decided to come back and join the friendly team .

Ros Bannerman – Receptionist
While at Gecko House for a meeting, as I left I saw the signboard asking for volunteers; I went back in to enquire and within 10 minutes was being taken round the office and introduced as a new receptionist. I have been covering reception once a week for two years since that day. It’s a great place to be, everyone is friendly, and there is always something interesting going on.

Rose Bannerman

Sheila Tierney – Administration Coordinator
My family moved to the Gold Coast in 2006 to enjoy the lifestyle and ambience of the suburb in which we bought a small acreage home.   I am a ‘greenie’ and was a wildlife carer in my previous home.

To my horror I discovered there were development plans which would completely change our suburb and threaten the lifestyle we had chosen.

On investigation this was happening all over the Gold Coast.

I read about Gecko being concerned about the proposed changes without concern for the environment and its wildlife and their collaboration with other like-minded local groups; so I joined them to help with the fight.

I am now involved in various tasks, but find it enjoyable being at the forefront.

I have made a lot of friends through my work with Gecko and feel we have made a considerable impact.

Sheila Tierney
Tom, Shane and Maca (Wayne)

Maintenance & Grounds Keeping Team
Wayne, (Maca), wow 3 years on! I love the enthusiasm, the knowledge & friendship of the people at Gecko.
I have had an environmental interest in Gecko for 10 years, and when the opportunity arose for a Building\Housecare Groundskeeper, I joined the organisation.
Later on, Tom & Shane joined the team.

Shane, Tom & myself help create & maintain Gecko House, including landscaping, being the major activity at Gecko of our team. Our aim is to show the community that Gecko is caring and campaigning for the environment.

David Paynter

David Paynter – Website & GCAN Climate Hub Actioneer
Having attended Gecko events since the mid 90’s I thought it was time to get more involved. February 2016 I joined the organising team for the Climate Change for Good Conference and have been involved ever since in promoting awareness in climate change. In 2017 with Gecko’s support I participated in SWELL Sculpture Festival with an installation, Rising Blue Line, along the Currumbin Creek depicting how sea level rise will inundate large sections of our low lying community.
I have also taken an active role in website content management, communications, and learning new digital skills all while mingling with some amazing and highly experienced people.