Friday October 26 2018 saw our annual ACT Environment Awards at the Conservation Council Spring Mingle, which acknowledged the significant contributions of exceptional members of the community towards sustainability and the environment in the ACT. The diversity of our groups and activists working to protect the environment is quite amazing.
Moira and John Rowland Young Environmentalist of the Year was awarded to Hannah Ford of Australian Youth Climate Coalition – ACT (AYCC). Hannah is a dedicated and passionate young environmentalist who has made significant achievements in the ACT as the Campaigns Coordinator of AYCC. Hannah has initiated a variety of AYCC events and campaigns including fundraising for campaigns. Her achievements included developing the concept and plan for the 2018 AYCC Sustainable Careers Panel to give young people in Canberra the opportunity to learn about possible career pathways and make connections with people in the field. Hannah has developed AYCC links with other environment organisations and was also selected to take part in the national AYCC’s Climate Leadership Group in recognition of her potential as a climate leader.
The judges commend the other nominees Crystal Holt and Zoe Anderson.
Environmentalist of the Year was awarded to Sarah Sharp of Friends of Grasslands. Working both in her own ecological consultancy and providing countless volunteer hours to Friends of Grasslands as their president, Sarah has dedicated her life to conservation of delicate grassland ecosystems in the region. Under Sarah’s leadership, Friends of Grasslands has been significant in raising the profile of grasslands as key environmental components and as habitats for various threatened species. She initiated the Biodiversity Working Group’s project to have the removal of mature native trees recognised as a threatening process under the Nature Conservation Act. It is the first threatening process declared under the Act and represents a turning point in the protection of mature trees in the ACT. Now mature trees are afforded greater protection and developers will face more hurdles in trying to remove these trees.
This Award was a very contested field with eight finalists any one of whom would be a worthy recipient. Highly commended were Lawrence McIntosh, Waltraud Pix and Nicki Taws.
Member Group of the Year was awarded to National Parks Association ACT, which is a community-based conservation organisation that has worked since 1960 to protect the natural environment. In 2018, NPA ACT continues to be a leading environmental group in Canberra. Its most recent conference on Bushfire Management canvassed a range of key questions in the debate on the most appropriate methods for bushfire fuel reduction and has been acknowledged as influencing the current development of the ACT’s next round of bushfire management plans. The organisation’s other achievements include contributions to the successful campaign to create Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, publication of high quality ACT specific nature guides and support of environmental research by young scientists at ACT universities.
Highly commended was the Australian Youth Climate Coalition – ACT Branch.
On the evidence in the nominations we have very good reason to be optimistic about our environmental activities in the ACT. We have great organisers, inspirers, workers, researchers and writers. The nominees look at small patches and big pictures. They are working on climate change and its solutions; biodiversity protection and enhancement; and with and within the broader community to bring about better environmental outcomes for the ACT. We’re very proud of all our nominees and would like to extend our congratulations and warm thanks for all the hard work they’ve done in 2018.