Chels has extensive experience in environmental science and management and is completing her PhD on traditional knowledge systems and climate change in the Pacific, through the school of International Governance at the Australian National University. She holds a Masters in Marine Science and Management from the University of New England on Spatial Analysis of Indigenous Marine Associations in Gumbaynggirr Nation. She has Degrees in Wildlife Management and Cultural Resource Management.
Chels worked as a Ranger for NSW National Parks for 25 years in coastal management, karst, wildlife management, policy and protection development, operations and co-operative and integrated cultural landscape management. Over the last 20 years, Chels has also been actively involved locally and nationally to increase the capacity of Aboriginal people to participate in Sea Country management, planning and monitoring.
Chels now works in Indigenous Protected Areas Australia, implementing cultural ecological knowledge and science frameworks to daily protected area management. She also facilitates creating virtual and physical environments for sharing knowledge through art, science and Indigenous
Chels also sits on a number of ministerial councils that provide advice, analysis and direction to Australian Government and Senior Fisheries Management regarding policy, legislation and initiatives that affect Aboriginal cultural values, providing advice and analysis on the Ecological and Cultural values of marine estate as it relates to technical, ecological, and cultural engagement of Aboriginal people and associated cultural values and issues.