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About Us » Our Staff

John L. Mason Dip.Hort.Sc., Sup'n Cert., FIOH, FPLA, MAIH, MACHPER, MASA

Mr Mason has had over 45 years experience in the fields of Education, Horticulture, Recreation  and Journalism. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner.  John has held positions ranging from Director of Parks and Recreation (City of Essendon) to magazine editor. He has served on many important committees over his career, and is currently President of the International Accreditation and Recognition Council, and a Board Member of the Australian Garden Council.
John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over 150 books and of over two thousand magazine articles. Even today, John continues to write books for various publishers including Simon and Shuster, and Landlinks Press (CSIRO Publishing).  In addition to being principal and CEO of ACS Distance Education and ACS Publishing; John is also currently Garden Editor of Home Grown (a quarterly green living magazine).

Marie Beermann  B.Sc. Hort., M.Sc. Hort., Cert. III Ldscp., Dipl. Management, PDC

Over 8 years in horticulture and education in both Australia and Germany. Marie has been a co author of several ebooks in recent years, including "Roses" and "Climbing Plants"

Dr Robert Browne  B.Sc., PhD

Robert’s science employment has included consultancy with biotechnology corporations and in response to the global biodiversity conservation crisis, and has focused on amphibian conservation and sustainability. Working with zoos in Australia, the USA, Europe, and as Research Officer for the IUCN has led Robert to work with collaborative conservation programs in the USA, Peoples Republic of China, Australia, Russian Federation, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Cameroon.
Robert has experience in a wide range of research fields supporting herpetological conservation and environmental sustainability. He has published in the scientific fields of nutrition, pathology, larval growth and development, husbandry, thermo-biology, reproduction technologies, and facility design. In addition to his work in research and other international projects for the conservation of amphibians, other vertebrates, and invertebrates, Robert is establishing a sustainability project with a research facility based in the region of a coastal village in Belize.

Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA

Gavin has over 20 years of industry experience in Psychology, Landscaping, Publishing and Education. He was operations manager for a highly reputable British Landscape firm (The Chelsea Gardener) before starting up his own firm. He spent the best part of three years working in our Gold Coast office, partly as a writer for Your Backyard (gardening magazine), and partly as a tutor in both psychology and horticulture.


Diana Cole B.A. (Hons), RHS Diploma in Horticulture, BTEC Higher Diploma in Garden Design, Diploma Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector), P.D.C.

In addition to the qualifications listed above, Diana holds City & Guild construction qualifications and an NPTC pesticide spraying licence (PA1/PA6). Diana runs her own landscape gardening business (Arbella Gardens). She also has skills gained through leading a group of volunteers renovating a local park on behalf of a local council and has been a volunteer leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. She continues to teach the Royal Horticultural Society qualifications (Levels 2 and 3) at her local college. She is a member of The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Ltd.  

Dr  Karen Cripps  PhD, MSc, BA Hons

Karen has qualifications up to Doctorate of Philosophy level in Tourism. Her PhD examined sustainable supply chain management in tour operations. Her previous post was held in lecturing in tourism management at The University of Nottingham Business School, and she is actively involved in research and publications. Her background also includes Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), in which she is qualified to Diploma Level and has extensive professional experience.

David Crothers  
FCA, GAICD,  B.Sc.Econ (Hons), Cert IV TAA

David is a graduate of Queens University Belfast, and a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years working experience in corporate and financial roles, both in Australia and other parts of the world. He is currently working as Chief Financial Officer at a diversified business in Sydney where his responsibilities include fiscal and managerial leadership, internal and external reporting, cash management, budgeting, debt funding and productivity improving. While David has worked at several multinational organisations, his current focus is family business management and he is an active participant in international family business conferences. He is also a passionate advocate of education, and currently tutors in a range of business and accounting subjects.

Rosemary Davies  B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing

Originally from Melbourne, Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Burnley, a campus of Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer.

She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe.

In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others.

Peter Douglas Dip. Animal Husbandry

Peter has over 50 years of experience in Agriculture and resources management. He is a former lecturer with the University of Queensland (Gatton), and manager of Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. He also established and managed the wildlife park for Dreamworld, one of Australia's largest theme parks. Peter has both wide ranging experience in farming and wildlife management, and continues to apply that knowledge both through his work with ACS, and helping his adult children who have pursued careers of their own in similar areas.

Sarah Edwards B.Bus (Marketing), Cert Bus.Admin

Sarah has 15 years industry experience covering marketing, PR, administration, event management and training, both in private enterprise and government; in Australia, the UK and Dubai.

Sarah was the Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator for P&O Maritime, has worked for DP World and also worked at many smaller industry associations and training organisations.

Adriana Fraser
Cert.Hort., Cert.Child Care., Adv.Cert.App.Mgt., Cert 1V Assessment and Training., Adv.Dip.Hort.

Adriana has over 25 years of experience in horticulture and organic growing, business, project management and writing. She has worked extensively in the nursery and garden design industry, as a TAFE teacher and in community education. She also operated a display herb garden at her home for students interested in herb identification and propagation. She also worked as a project manager for Community Jobs Programs - developing public parks and gardens. Adriana has written regularly for a range of publications (including Australia's national Grass Roots Magazine) since the early 1980's. She continues to be actively involved in writing, gardening and organic growing - in addition to her work for ACS as tutor, course counsellor and course writer.

Kate Gibson
B.Soc.Sc, Post-Grad. Dip. Org Behaviour (HR)

Kate has 12 years experience as a marketing advisor and manager, and experience as a project manager. She has also worked as a graphic designer, and has experience in web design, and has worked in Human Resource Management also. Kate has traveled and worked in a variety of locations including: London, New Zealand, and Australia.

Denise Hodges   Adv.Dip.Bus., Dip. Clothing Design, Adv.Dip.Naturopathy (completing)
Formerly Promotions Manager for ABC retail, Fitness Programmer/Instructor, Small Business Owner.   
After trying out a number of career directions, Denise studied Marketing, and honed her skills by working in promotions for the ABC for ten years. However, Naturopathy studies have allowed her to share and further indulge her real passion, which lies in health and wellness. Denise continues to enjoy learning and sharing her interests with others.   

Bob James
Dip.Animal Husb, B.App.Sc., Grad.Dip.Mgt, PDC

Bob has 50 years experience in industry, having held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise.

Bob's experience and knowledge is diverse, encompassing the fields of Horticulture, Agriculture, Environmental Management, Business and Professional Writing.

Tracey Jones - Academic Officer & Tutor (U.K.) B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

Tracey has over 20 years experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects.

She is a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work. Tracey has also written a text book on Psychology and has had several short stories published.

Josiane  Joubran
B.Eng., Grad.Dip.I.T., Master Info.Tech., MCP, MCSE

Josiane has eight years experience as an I.T professional in Lebanon and Australia. Extensive experience with computer hardware and engineering, CSC consultant with IBM, Software QA Engineer, Course Writer and Tutor.

Sarah Jury, PGCE(Post Compulsory Education), BSc(Hons) (Genetics), DipComp (Open), CertWebApps (Open)

Sarah has been working in education, I.T. and science for over 15 years, including time spent working in Further Education and Higher Education. As an interest she has designed and created several Web sites for different organisations.

Jan Kelly    Dip Hort (Burnley); Cert IV Assessment & Training

Jan has around 50 years experience in horticulture, including over 20 years as owner/manager of a wholesale / retail nursery. She has worked in both Australia and New Guinea, in many different capacities, including as a horticultural consultant and landscape designer for domestic and development projects, with considerable experience in Conservation & Land Management.  Jan has been a trainer of Amenity Horticulture and Landscape Design for 10 years.

Karen Lee  BSc. Hons. (Biological Sciences), Postgraduate Diploma Nutrition and Dietetics

Karen graduated with first class honours degree in Biological Sciences from Lancaster University and subsequently completed a Postgraduate diploma in Nutrition and Dietetics from Leeds Metropolitan University. Karen is a registered dietitian with over 15 years of experience of working in the NHS. Karen has undertaken a number of research projects and has lectured to undergraduate university students.

Melissa Leistra  Bachelor Education, Masters Human Nutrition

Melissa has a Masters Degree in Human Nutrition from Deakin University and Bachelor's degree specialising in personal development, health and physical education.  She has enjoyed teaching Hospitality in the areas of commercial cookery and food and beverage.  Her experience includes 16 years teaching health and nutrition and working in the hospitality industry.  Melissa enjoys living a self-sustainable lifestyle on a farm and raising all types of animals.  She is an experienced vegetarian/vegan cook and loves to create wholesome food using her slow combustion wood stove.

Alison Pearce
- PG Cert Ed (Primary), M.Ecotourism, PGCert Ed., BSc (Hon) Animal Science.

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS Agriculture, Wildlife and Ecotourism students.

She has worked as a University Lecturer, a Quality Assurance Manager, a Research Technician, and has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures.  She has worked in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

She has extensive experience of handling, husbandry, and management of a wide range of both small and large animals and has a particular love for nature and wildlife.

Dr. Lynette Morgan B. Hort. Tech., Ph.D. in Horticultural Science

Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Tanya Miller Bsc (hons) RVN, PGCE, CCRP

Tanya has worked with animals for the last 18 years initially starting work as a veterinary care assistant before studying for a Bsc honours in Veterinary Health Science and subsequently qualifying as a Registered Veterinary Nurse. Tanya worked within the academic sector at at an agricultural college gaining her PGCE whilst teaching animal care courses to a range of students, before returning to the clinical field. Tanya completed further studies in BTEC Level 4 Professional Award in Canine Hydrotherapy, Level 3 diploma in Canine massage and most recently a Post Graduate Certificate at the University of Tennessee Tanya completed the Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner course which is at the cutting edge of Veterinary Rehabilitation to date. Tanya currently runs a veterinary rehabilitation referral unit within a large veterinary hospital and treats a broad range of conditions. Tanya’s special interest is geriatric and osteoarthritis care.

Sarah Partridge  B.Sc.Zool (Hons)

Sarah has experienced a varied career path. After several years as an Environmental Officer in consultancy, conducting botanical surveys and reports, she moved into a number of years in R & D, in various fields including Animal Biology, Fertility and Childhood Allergies. She has a keen interest in all things to do with research and writing.

Dr. Gareth Pearce  B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.

Gareth has over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in a variety of colleges and universities in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the Universities of Melbourne and Bristol, having previously graduated in Agricultural Science and gained a PhD in Livestock Behaviour and Production. He also has post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.

Jade Sciascia  B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert Food Hygiene

Former Business Coordinator, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Administrator (Recruitment), Senior Supervisor (Youth Welfare).

Barbara Seguel  B.Sc., M. Aquaculture Eng.
Barbara has worked around the world from Hawaii to Mexico, Chile and New Zealand, and now in Australia. Her experience covers tourism and hospitality to aquaculture and poultry egg production.

Lyn Quirk M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy

Lyn has 35 years of experience in the Fitness, Health and Leisure Industries. She has a string of qualifications that are far too long to list here; being qualified and registered to teach, coach or instruct a wide range of different sports and other skills.

Lyn established and managed Health clubs at three major five star resorts on Australia's Gold Coast, including The Marriot. She was a department head for a large government vocational college (TAFE), and has conducted her own aquafitness business for many years. Lyn has amongst her other commitments worked as a tutor for ACS for almost 10 years, and over that time, participated in the development or upgrading of most courses in her fields of expertise.

Benedette Watson BSc, MSc

Bene has 15 years experience in Science Research and Education at Universities in Australia and the West Indies.  Research areas include: Molecular Biology, Wheat Breeding/Molecular Markers and Microbiology.  While working at St George's University in the West Indies, Bene conducted tutorials in Molecular Biology and Microbiology for pre-medical and veterinary students.

Cheryl Wilson  B.Sc.(Hons), HND Horse Mgt, C&G Teaching Cert

Cheryl has spent two decades working in agriculture and equine industries, across England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. Formerly: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager at Warwickshire College

Kara Wight - BSc (Applied Bioscience and Zoology), HND (Animal Care), HND (Photography & Imaging)

Kara gained an HND in Animal Care and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Applied Bioscience and Zoology.  She has a wide range of experience working with animals such dogs, small pets, birds, zoo animals, British wildlife and reptiles.  Kara gained this experience working within animal parks, canine rescue centres and a wildlife hospital.  She also managed an animal care training facility for a college.  At this training facility she instructed and lectured students within Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing from National Certificate level to Higher National Diploma levels.    

Kara also gained an HND in Photography and Imaging and has 5 years’ experience within this sector.  She ran a small portraiture and wedding photography business and also exhibited work in art exhibitions.  Kara gained more experience photographing sporting and festival events.  

Kara currently runs a pet care and training business in the UK and also has entry to undertake her MSc in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law this academic year.