Meet our Board of Directors

Madeleine Faught (MSocSc)

Chair, Director

Madeleine is a skilled social scientist and educator with a long history of securing enhanced outcomes in community, cultural, and environmental spheres. She has a professional arts background, has been an environmental campaigner, a community leader and promoter of community cohesion. She works in environmental consulting with a focus on linking social and ecological systems to improve conservation outcomes.

Madeleine has a management history in both institutional and project management within the Education, Environment and Arts sectors. With her partner Dr Robert Kooyman, she has been actively involved in rainforest conservation and native vegetation advocacy for over thirty-five years.

Branden Barber

Secretary, Director, CEO

Branden Barber is a lifelong environmentalist. With a degree in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Cruz, he cut his teeth with Greenpeace International on the Rainbow Warrior and MV Greenpeace, and then ran the Victorian State Office for Greenpeace Australia in the 1990s.

Over the last 25 years he has worked in both the social profit and for-profit sectors, from start-ups to S&P 500 companies to NGO’s, large and small. In the last decade, Branden has been involved with various environmental organisations as staff or as a consultant, served on the Leadership Teams at both Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch, and has sat on several boards – always with a focus on the environment. He’s passionate about rainforests, is ardently committed to the natural world, and brings a wealth and breadth of experience to Rainforest Rescue as our CEO.

Leonie Gale


After a successful career in residential interior design and management of top-end interior textile companies, Leonie turned her creative talents to making our world a more beautiful place to live by protecting and conserving the Australian environment.

Recently retired as the CEO of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife after 13 years buying and protecting our bush and wildlife, Leonie is giving her expertise in conservation and environmental philanthropy to aid Rainforest Rescue in protecting our rainforests forever.

“Most of our species live in rainforests and I want to ensure they are protected forever, for us and for future generations.”

Tony Gilding


Tony Gilding is the owner of the Macadamia Castle, a wildlife park and Northern Rivers NSW tourist icon. He is ex-CEO of an ASX-listed gift company, a serial social campaigner and a Palm Oil activist.

Tony is President of Borneo Orangutan Survival, and was founding member of the UN-sponsored Great Ape Survival Project. He brings IT, marketing and finance experience to the board.

Sue Higginson

Public Officer, Director

Sue is an environmental law expert and runs her own law practice. She is the former CEO and Principal Solicitor of EDO NSW, the community legal centre that specialises in public interest environmental law, where she was responsible for running some of the highest-profile environmental litigation in the Country.

Sue is an expert in assisting communities to use the law to protect the environment and has a particular interest in the laws around biodiversity conservation and climate change. She has lectured and taught environmental law at a number of universities in NSW. Sue also advises and assists many environmental organisations in relation to governance and structure.

Sue also works at the interface of the criminal law and environmental protest and has represented hundreds of environmental protestors who have found themselves facing the criminal justice system as a result of their environmental protest activities.

Sue is also a farmer. With her partner she grows dryland rice and other crops on their farm in Northern NSW, where she loves to work, garden, plant trees for koalas and play with her grandchildren.

Frank Volckmar (BESC & MBA)


Frank started his working career as a consulting engineer and has since spent 25 years in various software sales, development, and marketing roles in Canada, US, UK and Australia.

He is currently active in executive, advisory and investor roles with innovative Australian start-ups through to listed leaders.  His experience includes Chief Operating Officer, Managing Director and Marketing Management roles for organisations including the Objective Corporation, Lexmark, ReadSoft and Citect.   He is driven by creating and working with high-performance teams, focused on delivering exceptional customer value and initially engaged Rainforest Rescue to bring greater meaning and purpose to employee engagement.  The team was inspired by the difference a focused team could make to the Daintree and many remain enthusiastic supporters of Rainforest Rescue today.

Outside of his corporate and entrepreneurial responsibilities, he is enthused by the opportunity to serve on the Rainforest Rescue Board, as he has a long-held commitment to preserving the environment, and is particularly interested in protecting the rainforest around the Daintree.

Dr. Adrian Volders (PhD)


Adrian comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience, with a PhD in Environmental Economics and as the currently serving Chair of Queensland Trust for Nature. Adrian has been a highly successful consultant over the past decade working on a number of environmental restoration, science and large infrastructure projects. Prior to this he has been the CEO of several organisations and worked extensively across the water and natural resource management sectors. Adrian is the latest addition to Rainforest Rescue’s Board of Directors, having joined the team in 2020.

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