Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Connecting Country staff


Frances Howe (

As an environmental scientist, Frances has helped assess and manage the environmental and social impacts of large development projects, across Australia and around the world. She also worked as an environmental advisor for a non-government organisation in Lesotho (Africa) and is member of the management committee for The Growing Abundance Project (Castlemaine). Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Master of Environment from the University of Melbourne.

Having travelled far and wide, including living in the Middle East, Africa and the United States, Frances recently returned to settle in Castlemaine. She lives with her husband and dog on a small bush block outside Castlemaine, surrounded by the Castlemaine National Heritage Park.

Frances is in the office from Monday to Thursday, overseeing Connecting Country’s projects, organisational management and administration.

Bonnie Humphreys (
Botanist, Landholder engagement and on-ground work program

Bonnie Humphreys  joined the Connecting Country team as Project Officer in 2011. She grew up in Bendigo and Castlemaine and has completed her Diploma in Conservation and Land Management at the Bendigo TAFE. Bonnie has a special interest in native flora and weed ecology. Her current work includes on ground site assessments of landscapes within the Mt Alexander Shire. These assessments will help determine the best ways to protect and manage remnant vegetation.

Tanya Loos  (
Woodland Birds Project Coordinator,
Community Engagement and Monitoring Program

Tanya is a keen field naturalist and ecologist with a particular interest in birds and bats. She has worked for state and local government in various biodiversity and native vegetation projects, and is thrilled to be working for Connecting Country as their Monitoring and Engagement coordinator. Tanya lives on a bush block in Porcupine Ridge with her husband, dog Leela and budgies, and she enjoys writing about wildlife watching and plant spotting.



Asha Bannon (
Landcare Facilitator

Asha is a local resident with a particular interest in wildlife conservation and community engagement. After completing a Bachelor of Environmental Science at Deakin she moved back to Mount Alexander Shire in order to study the local bird communities. Her Honours project focused on the relationships between birds and time-since-fire in Box-Ironbark ecosystems. Asha is a strong believer in the power of community groups when it comes to land management and conservation, and she is excited to be working with and supporting our local Landcare Groups.