Dr. Celine Steinfeld

Dr. Celine Steinfeld

Centre for Ecosystem Science alumni career story

Director, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

BSc (Media and Communications) (Hons), PhD


Postgraduate years at the Centre for Ecosystem Science
2008 to 2012
Thesis title
Integrating environmental flows into regulated river systems
Current employer
Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists
Current employer type
Current employment
Started with the Wentworth Group in 2015; promoted to Director in 2019
Sydney, NSW


Responsibilities in your current role 

As the Director of the Wentworth Group, I lead our organisation to provide independent, evidence-based, scientific advice to decision-makers across the political spectrum to advance the management of land and water in a changing climate. Since our inception in 2002, we have built a national reputation for influencing public policy. I work with Australia’s most eminent experts to develop policy solutions to environmental challenges such as water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin, environmental law reform, nature markets and integrated landscape management in a changing climate. I engage regularly with politicians, journalists, business leaders, community groups and researchers to help turn these solutions into reality.


How have your experiences and skills gained at Centre for Ecosystem Science helped shape your professional journey so far?

I wouldn’t be where I am without Richard Kingsford and the Centre for Ecosystem Science– it was here I was introduced to the incredible boom and bust world of freshwater ecosystems, I’ve never looked back! Working with the Centre for Ecosystem Science taught me how powerful science can be as a tool for influencing public policy: my honours research paved the way for major reform in the management of water on floodplains in NSW. Fast forward a decade, my research and expertise continues to remain highly relevant for the current policy debates on floodplain harvesting in NSW. The Centre for Ecosystem Science also introduced me to a passionate network of regional communities groups and landholders who have been involved in aspects of our scientific research – I’m still working closely with farmers and communities groups I met through the Centre for Ecosystem Science more than a decade ago, they have strengthened the quality of my work and amplified the impact of its findings.


What is your favourite memory from your time at Centre for Ecosystem Science?

Volunteering on field trips led by fellow PhD students from the Centre for Ecosystem Science were unforgettable – from netting microbats in the Gwydir, catching platypus on the Thredbo river, tracking Marsh frogs using radio antennae, carrying out survey work in helicopters across floodplains, electrofishing spangled perch in meandering creeks, banding juvenile pelicans within a colony of over 10,000 adults, native vegetation surveys into river red gum forests filled with water as far as the eye can see, trapping Brown Hyaena’s in Botswana… the list is endless. And made some lifelong friends in the process!





Celine on a site visit in the Macquarie Marshes, NSW, in 2022, during the largest flood in living memory.