Our Naturalists

Director and Co-Founder

Dr Fiona H. L. Benyon is a mycologist and plant pathologist who holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with First Class Honours from the University of Sydney. She completed her PhD in mycological plant pathology at the Plant Breeding Institute, University of Sydney. She was an AusAID Australian Youth Ambassador for Development in Vietnam, an ACIAR Research Fellow in Vietnam & an Honorary Lecturer at the University of Sydney. Fiona is an Assistant Leader with Scouts NSW.

“As a Scout Leader interacting with children, I realised I could have a profound impact on their worldview by connecting them with Nature.”

Director and Co-Founder

Dr Aniuzka Kazandjian is a botanist and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Education (Honours) from Andres Bello University and a Masters in Biological Sciences from Simon Bolivar University, Venezuela. She completed her PhD in Tropical Plant Sciences at James Cook University, Townsville and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. She was Research Botanist at Caracas Botanic Gardens & National Herbarium of Venezuela and Director of the Simon Bolivar University Sciences Museum and Herbarium.

“My heartfelt idea is that whoever touches, feels & comprehends the Natural World will act to protect and conserve Nature throughout their lives.

Team Member

Carolina Cuenca Cardozo is a Biologist with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Music (major in Viola) from the Universidad del Valle in Colombia. Carolina has experience in mycology, biology, plant pathology and microbiology and has been a Technical Officer in the Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney since 2010. Carolina is also a professional musician with 20 years of experience with children.

“I am excited to share my enthusiasm for Nature with children and to nurture their connection with Nature through science-based activities that inspire curiosity and creativity.”

Team Member

Rossana Silveira is an entomologist and Teacher’s Aide. She was a Research Assistant in Entomology at the Australian Museum in the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Research and subsequently at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of NSW (UNSW BEES). She has a Bachelor of Mathematics and Science with Major in Zoology and Honours in Biological Sciences. As a research assistant, Rossana participated in many field trips and contributed to the Australian true bug collections, with at least 4 species named after her in recognition of her contribution to the knowledge and taxonomy of this group, including her collection and curation of Australian Miridae and Heteroptera. Rossana obtained a Certificate III in Education Support and is a Teacher’s Aide, supporting students with disabilities.

“I have always been passionate about integrating my background in science with education. The opportunity to bring science to students in such a hands on, fun and exciting way bridges the two. Igniting a passion for the world around them, regardless of their personal challenges, is a great way of advocating for both the future custodians of our environment and our natural world.

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