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New Indigenous Advisory Board for peak body to help improve outcomes for conservation of Country

The Conservation Council of WA is proud to announce the creation of the organisation’s Indigenous Advisory Board – a new initiative for the state’s peak environment and conservation group.

The CCWA Indigenous Advisory Board will provide insight to the organisation on increasing Indigenous participation and representation in addressing environmental and conservation issues facing Western Australia. It will also provide guidance to CCWA in order to influence its decision making, working practices and cultural competency.

The four-member board is made up of Indigenous leaders from across Western Australia.

Those members are:

Professor Stephen van Leeuwen

Boojarah Wardandi man of the Noongar nation, Prof. Stephen van Leeuwen is Australia’s first Indigenous Chair of Biodiversity and Environmental Science, based at Curtin University in Perth.

A highly respected and renowned botanical ecologist and research scientist, he has a diverse research pedigree extending from threatened flora survey, fire ecology and threatened flora and fauna management through to biological survey, arid zone ecology, plant taxonomy and pollination biology. 

Prof. van Leeuwen has a profound respect for Country and works to engage and build collaborative relationships with Traditional Owners and other land managers to co-deliver novel and enduring outcomes for biodiversity conservation, bio-cultural land management and the stewardship of Country. 


Donny Imberlong

Jaru man from the East Kimberley, Donny Imberlong leads the environmental restoration and native seed collection work for Gelganyem Corporation.

Originally from Ililil, Drysdale River, he graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Australian Indigenous Studies, minoring in Environmental Studies.

He has considerable experience in mentoring Indigenous students and is recognised as a natural leader, providing cultural education to a wide range of audiences. He is also a dedicated volunteer, both locally and internationally with a strong record of service to his community.


Douglas D’Antoine

Bardi and Jawi man and CEO of Bunuba Dawangarri Aboriginal Corporation, Douglas D’Antoine is currently seconded to the Fitzroy River Flood Recovery Group, as Executive Officer, coordinating the state’s long term flood response.

He is a lawyer, having practiced in native title law with the Kimberley Land Council and in corporate roles in the resources sector.

He has a keen interest in the protection of the natural environment and has brought up his four boys with a love for Country.


Heidi Mippy

Noongar and Thiin-Mah-Warriyangka woman Heidi Mippy is the mother of three girls and passionate about creating opportunities for young people to ‘find their space and shine’. She is grounded in her culture and finds her strength, balance and guidance in her connection to Country.

Heidi holds a BA in Adult Education and Community Management from the University of Technology, Sydney; a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (Leadership, Strategy and Innovation) and an Executive Masters in Leadership, Strategy and Innovation from Murdoch University.

She is currently working with Noongar Land Enterprise group helping members to develop economic opportunities through their properties.



Conservation Council of WA Executive Director, Joe Heffernan, welcomed the new Indigenous Advisory Board and said he looked forward to working alongside them.

“I am so pleased to see this board begin to operate and warmly welcome Stephen, Heidi, Douglas and Donny to the CCWA community.

“CCWA will benefit greatly from their involvement and hope that they will come to enjoy and feel well connected to our work, community, and team.

“It is essential that conservation outcomes complement the knowledge and aspirations of the Traditional Owners of this state. CCWA is up for the challenge of restoring and developing critical relationships between Country and people.”





MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing nearly 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia. 

For more information, visit:

CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies

08 6558 5156 / 0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]

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