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.



appreciation and conservation of the marine environment.


the establishment, effective monitoring and management of marine sanctuaries.


people to become citizen scientists and actively participate in marine conservation.


and engage through experience in the marine environment


 the value of marine sanctuaries


President: Professor Bronwyn Gillanders

Vice President: Alex Lee

Treasurer: Mark Pierson

Secretary: Alicia Lockyer

Public Officer, Co-founder, Executive Officer & Program Manager: Carl Charter

Committee Member – Inclusive Subcommittee Member: Michael Ray

Committee Member: Gill Peacey

Committee Member: Michael Mills

Professor Bronwyn Gillanders | President

Bronwyn is a Professor at the University of Adelaide. She has a background in marine biology and ecology and is passionate about training the next generation of marine biologists. Her research interests are broad but include gaining a better understanding of the giant Australian cuttlefish. She enjoys snorkelling and SCUBA diving around South Australia as well as in warmer environments.

Alex Lee | Vice President

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.

Mark Pierson | Treasurer

Mark is a PADI qualified science teacher and father of four, with a long history of involvement in coastal and marine community groups. He is a 2020 Coastal Ambassador who loves getting wet. He has dived with Whale Sharks, Great White Sharks, Seals, Sea Lions, Dolphins, Turtles, Tuna and Cuttlefish and wants to open up our wonderful underwater world for others to see and enjoy and hopefully fall in love with.

Alicia Lockyer | Secretary

Carl Charter | Public Officer, Executive Officer & Program Manager

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.

Michael Ray | Committee Member – Inclusive Subcommittee Member

Michael is Behaviour Analyst by trade who specializes in providing therapeutic services to individuals on the Autism spectrum. He arrived in Adelaide in 2017 and quickly took to the ocean, gaining a PADI Rescue Diver qualification so that he could safely explore all of the wonders that our big backyard has to offer. Prior to arriving in Australia Michael enjoyed traveling to just about every continent the earth has to offer (Antarctica is next on the list) and volunteering in a range of organizations. Similar to his volunteer work with EMS Michael spent two years volunteering as an adaptive ski and snowboard instructor for the National Sports Centre for the Disabled in the lovely Winter Park, Colorado. When he is not diving Michael can be found rock climbing, hiking, camping, or dreaming of his next grand adventure.

Gill Peacey | Committee member

Gill grew up in NZ spending as much time as possible in the beautiful outdoors including sailing and diving the coastal waters and inland lakes around the top of the South Island. A passion for the environment and a love for the outdoors led to a career in environmental management, and after working in several NZ national parks she moved to NSW, then across to South Australia’s national parks as a Park Ranger focussing on community engagement programs and park accessibility. She later moved into senior management roles including Commonwealth and State funded NRM grant programs, grant governance and national parks volunteer programs.

Michael Mills | Committee member

Michael is a writer, producer and director, with a particular expertise in communicating science to young people through stories, theatre and songs. Through HeapsGood Productions, Michael has written and produced dozens of shows and interactive experiences around Australia, including as one of his alter egos, singing palaeontologist Professor Flint. He has a particular passion for exploring Earth’s natural history, including all that has dwelt, and still dwells in the world’s oceans. In 2014, for slices to science communication, Michael was awarded the SA Unsung Hero of Science Communication.