Meet the Minibeast Wildlife team!
Here are our experienced staff
Deanna has been working with wildlife for over 14 years. She studied zoology at Melbourne University and developed a fascination for small wildlife, namely invertebrates.
She was a founding member of the Live Exhibits Unit at Melbourne Museum. During 11 years at the Museum, she was an integral part of the development of the hugely successful exhibition, Bugs Alive!
She has presented papers at conferences both nationally and internationally, and also co-authored the award winning book ‘Bugs Alive – a Guide to Keeping Australian Invertebrates’, and more recently ‘There’s a Zoo in my Backyard’.
Together with her husband Alan, she founded Minibeast Wildlife in 2005.
Alan has held a fascination for invertebrates his whole life. His other passion is photography and his images have been published in books throughout the world.
Alan completed a BAppSc, Scientific Photography at RMIT University before beginning his zoo keeping career in Ballarat. He created the Australian Nature Education Centre in 1995 and received the Young Australian of the Year Regional Development Award for the Centre.
He was lured to Melbourne Museum and began the Live Exhibits Unit, which ultimately led to the development of the extremely popular ‘Bugs Alive!’ exhibition. He coordinated the Unit for 11 years before leaving to operate Minibeast Wildlife full-time. His expertise in working with live invertebrates have taken him around the world, including the jungles of Costa Rica.
Caitlin has grown up surrounded by minibeasts. As far as Cailtin is concerned normal household animals are spiders, insects, reptiles and frogs…well aren’t they?
She has a great deal of experience managing captive invertebrates and finding them in the field. She is an accomplished writer, and has already authored over 30 nature articles for newspapers in Victoria and Queensland. She a 2012 recipient of a Hot Desk Fellowship from the Wheeler Centre.
Caitlin also works at Melbourne Museum in the highly respected Live Exhibits Unit, responsible for managing ‘Bugs Alive!’ and the other world class living exhibits. Her role involves the husbandry of a huge range of invertebrate species, as well as fish, reptiles, amphibians and birds.
Jaimi joined the Minibeast Wildlife team in 2015 and is a passionate member of our Victorian Educational Presenter team. She has a very keen interest in the invertebrate field, and keeps and breeds many species of invertebrates at home. Jaimi has worked in various areas of animal husbandry and at Werribee Open Range Zoo as a CSO.
Jaimi is also a mum, and has excellent communication skills when it comes to connecting with young children. Conveying passion and connecting children with nature is exactly what underpins our mission at Minibeast Wildlife.
Elia joined Minibeast’s Victorian Educational Presenter team in 2016. She loves the often underappreciated creepy crawly members of the animal world and hopes that, after meeting our minibeasts, you will too! Elia has nearly completed her PhD degree in Zoology, studying how ectothermic animals, such as reptiles and invertebrates, manage to stay cool and hydrated under extreme environmental conditions. She has worked with and cared for a variety of reptile and invertebrate species, and her research has led her to remote locations, from the cloud forests of Ecuador to Australia’s arid interior. Elia cares deeply about making science accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, and loves to explore the ways that science can be communicated through art and storytelling.
Lynette is a science communicator with a Ph.D. in ecology and a penchant for all things wild. She was brought up in the UK where she spent a lot of time outdoors looking for animals. Lynette has since studied wildlife all over the planet, working with a variety of flora and fauna and particularly with frogs and birds. With a background in scientific research, Lynette specialises in interpreting biology for the general public and spends her days teaching people about the world’s animals. Lynette is driven by her passion for conservation and enjoys working with children to instil in them with the same inspiration and curiosity she had as a child. In her spare time she enjoys birdwatching, rock-pooling and dancing.
Judy resides in the invertebrate paradise of far north Queensland and has been part of our QLD team since 2013. Judy assists with our weekly dispatch of live invertebrates, which are sent all over Australia. If you have received invertebrates from us in the last few years, chances are that Judy has packed them. Judy also assists in the animal husbandry duties from time, keeping the wide range of invertebrates fed.
Hollie started with Minibeast Wildlife in 2016 at our north Queensland base. She assists us with office duties, animal husbandry and on the busy dispatch days when hundreds of live invertebrates depart for new homes around Australia. Hollie is passionate about nature and has spent her whole life in the tropics surrounded by the myriad of minbeasts that this region has. Hollie is also a yoga instructor and runs the ‘Little Yogis’ classes in Kuranda for a completely different kind of minibeasts!
Gerhard joined the Minibeast Wildlife team in 2016 to assist us with invertebrate husbandry. He is passionate about wildlife and has in depth knowledge about far north Queensland’s wet tropics. He is also a professional nature photographer and artist and operates the business Naturesface Art along with his partner Natasha. Some of his work is in Minibeast Wildlife’s Bugshop.
Gerhard often accompanies Alan Henderson on both photographic and invertebrate collection trips while looking for new breeding stock. His keen eyes spotted the 2nd wild female Phyllium monteithi ever to be found. This female was the founder of one of Minibeast Wildlife’s Australian Leaf Insect breeding groups.