Christina Son nee Lashchuk, Committee Member

Samantha is an experienced environmental educator having spent the last 25 years working in a variety of roles such as Environmental Scientist, Park Ranger, Koala Attendant and Wildlife Sanctuary Manager.  Sam currently holds a position as TAFE Lecturer (Conservation & Land Management) whilst embracing the responsibility of being an Earth Hour Ambassador (World Wildlife Fund), Coastal Ambassador (NRM Board) and volunteering regularly in the Trees for Life (Bush for Life) program.  Holding current qualifications in Senior First Aid and Working with Children clearances, Sam is passionate about inspiring others to take action to protect the patches of biodiversity that remain.

Megan Bekesi, Founding Member

Dr. Christina

Systems Ecologist/Environment/Human Rights Lawyer/Teacher
Founding Director of

Conservation advocate. Worked for the United Nations where established the first Ecosystem Management Plan for South East Asia. Strong advocate for the justice rights of Indigenous Peoples and their stewardship of land and water. In Australia examples of work include Project Manager Nature Conservation Society of SA, Legal Practitioner Native Title Unit, Senior Policy Advisor, DEWNR, where created first ‘in language’ Water Conservation Program on APY lands (model extrapolated to Arnhem Land and Queensland) and also developed an online Biodiversity Education tool for schools (a collaboration between DEWNR and DECS) featuring land and marine biomes. Currently undertaking Masters with focus on developing ecological literacy for children. 

Ember Catherine CORPUZ, Vice President and Founding Member

Alex has a background in marine conservation and ecology. She has worked as a project officer for five years with award winning Reef Check Australia and worked on an award winning citizen science project in Queensland, documenting marine life in Moreton Bay. She has also worked with many marine and environmental NGOs around the world.  She is an active PADI divemaster in the Adelaide area and loves introducing people to the wonders of the oceans.

Meet the Team

Carl is passionate about the ocean, he has been diving for over 30 years and recently became a PADI Dive Instructor with specialties in teaching underwater photography, O2 provision and First Aid (EFR). Carl has worked as a trainer, consultant, executive officer and program manager in the not-for-profit arena for past 20 years.  He has a Degree in Fisheries and a Diploma in Resource Technology and has worked in marine archaeology, on-ground conservation, environmental management, sustainability auditing, community engagement and school and community education. Carl developed and managed an award-winning program for schools and community on River Murray and water conservation and more recently has worked on the multi award-winning Reef Watch SA Intertidal Monitoring and Feral or in Peril programs.

Ember is an environmental scientist and has been involved primarily in freshwater and marine ecology monitoring, environmental impact assessments and flow studies. She has also been trained in community engagement and has contributed significantly in community-based work for the State’s coastal and marine management. Ember is also a science communicator utilising social media platforms and facilitating discovery learning for school children.  She also has a degree in psychology and applies her scientific knowledge on motivation and behaviour change into the design and delivery of environmental programs and projects. Ember believes that sharing sea experiences is the first step to caring for our ocean planet.

Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries aims to:

  • foster appreciation and conservation of the marine environment.
  • promote the establishment, effective monitoring and management of marine sanctuaries.
  • inspire people to become citizen scientists and actively participate in marine conservation.
  • educate and engage through experience in the marine environment. 
  • demonstrate the value of marine sanctuaries.

Rob Lewis, President

Alex Lee, Vice President

Nikki Zanardo, Secretary
Ember Catherine Corpuz, Treasurer
Carl Charter, Public Officer, Executive Officer & Program Manager
Sasha Whitmarsh, Founding Member
Megan Bekesi, Founding Member

Samantha Bywaters, Committee Member

Christina Son nee Lashchuk, Committee Member

Adrian Brown, Committee Member

Haixia Wen, Committee Member

Megan Bekesi is the business owner and manager of an environmental consultancy business, Start Green, and delivers environmental consulting, education and events.  Megan also works part-time as the Coordinator for East End Adelaide.  Megan has a Bachelor Degree in Natural Resource Management at the University of Adelaide and has worked and volunteered for various environmental organisations including KESAB, Fishcare and The Wilderness Society.

Megan’s favourite ethos is to “be the change you want to see in the world” (Mohandas Gandhi).  She believes the best way to influence people in living more sustainable and environmentally conscious lives is to lead by example and to inspire and educate through nature connection experiences.Megan has a love of nature, animals and the ocean and is committed to inspiring others to value and protect our natural environment.  She lives in Seaton and frequently visits the beach to swim, snorkel, paddle board and take her dog Skye for a run.

Alex Lee, Vice President

I am currently studying at Flinders University for my PhD specialising in using underwater cameras (called BRUVS) to assess fish assemblages. My PhD involves investigating potential anthropogenic stressors and is based within South Australia, mainly focussing on Gulf St Vincent. This follows on closely from my Honours project which compared rapid and intensive methods for monitoring shallow seagrass areas. Both my PhD and Honours projects have had a strong focus looking at protected areas. In general, I have a keen interest in conservation matters and I like to look at the community as a whole rather than studying any one species in particular.

Sasha Whitmarsh, Founding Member

2017 EMS Community Snorkel With Giant Cuttlefish

Haixia has 12 years of experience in teaching at university(China, research interest was in plant genetics), 1 year academic visitor at University of Adelaide(research interest was in plant ecology and environment). She is currently passionate about the marine creature and remaining ocean environment. Holding certificates of Senior First Aid, Advanced Open Water Diver, and National Vocational Qualification of Psychological Consultant.

Nikki Zanardo,  Secretary

I have always been quite fond of nature and at a young age I developed a strong passion for marine mammals and the marine environment. It is this passion that lead me to study marine biology at Flinders University, where I began to focus my attention on the conservational aspect of research. Fortunately, I was able to undertake an Honours project with the Cetacean Ecology, Behavour and Evolution Lab (CEBEL). Currently, my passion for marine mammals is being heartened through research on the southern Australian bottlenose dolphins inhabiting the Adelaide metropolitan coast. This PhD will aim to provide information regarding their conservational management, which is particularly important for this species that inhabits such an urbanised environment.

Samantha Bywaters, Committee Member

Experiencing Marine Sanctuaries’ (EMS) is an incorporated, not-for-profit, non-government organisation. The program is based on (with permission) the highly successful New Zealand program ‘Experiencing Marine Reserves’.  An important component of EMS’s approach to education is to give children and their parents (and grand parents) a safe and professionally supervised ‘hands on’ experience of our unique and beautiful marine life.

Our EMS coordinators are qualified first aid, snorkeling and/or diving instructors and offer guidance, direction and coordination of in water experiences. EMS provides mask (goggles), snorkel, fins (flippers) and wetsuits. For many participants it is their first time snorkeling, therefore having a ratio of one parent to two students assists with supervision and safety.


About EMS

HAIXIA WEN, Committee Member

Carl Charter, Public Officer, Executive Officer & Program Manager