Twelve of South East Queensland’s most passionate environment champions were recognised for their efforts to improve and protect the environment at the 2018 Healthy Land and Water Awards Gala Dinner on Friday.
The annual Awards, now in their 19th year, acknowledge the work of individuals, community groups, local government and industry to make South East Queensland a greener and healthier place to live.
Hundreds of guests converged on Brisbane City Hall to witness the announcement of the 2018 winners, who represented all corners of South East Queensland from Moreton Bay to Springfield to Burleigh and Brisbane.
During the highlight of the night, Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch presented Hilder Road State School P&C with the coveted $10,000 Minister’s Grand Prize Award for the school community’s work to restore and protect Fish Creek, a waterway adjoining the school.
Earlier in the night, Hilder Road State School P&C was also crowned with the Water Warrior Award, sponsored by Brisbane City Council.
Since 2013, the school community has rehabilitated 2,072 metres of creekbank through a collaborative effort to remove litter, eliminate invasive weeds and replant local native species.
Eleven other South East Queensland individuals and groups also claimed Awards:
- Brisbane student Alexander Davies won the Youth Environment Champion Award (sponsored by Seqwater) in recognition of his efforts to regenerate rainforest habitat nearby Ambrose Treacy College.
- The University of Queensland’s Underwater Club (UniDive) won the Environmental Guardians Award (sponsored by Queensland Urban Utilities) for a pioneering project to survey and analyse Flinders Reef Marine Park and produce a detailed report on their findings.
- Ipswich resident Luise Manning shared the Volunteer of the Year Award (sponsored by River 94.9FM) for establishing Springfield Lakes Nature Care and for being the driving force behind the group’s projects to clean-up Spring Lake and eradicate pest species from the local environment.
- Brisbane resident Mathew Townsend shared the Volunteer of the Year Award (sponsored by River 94.9FM) for establishing Nature Freedom, a social enterprise that helps young people with disabilities and mental health issues improve their leadership skills and find employment in the environment sector.
- Seqwater, based in Ipswich, won the Sustainable Water Management Award (sponsored by Unitywater) for establishing a partnership with six landcare and catchment groups to improve water quality on private agriculture property.
- Brisbane resident and Bulimba Creek Catchments Coordinating Committee project manager Wayne Cameron was inducted into the Healthy Land and Water Hall of Fame for his 25 years service to South East Queensland’s environment.
- Gold Coast resident Jordyn de Boer won the Lifetime Achievement Award for developing Boomerang Bags, a community-based initiative to produce hand-sewed reusable bags from recycled material.
- Moreton Bay resident Bob Luttrell won the Science Innovation Award for his work to nurture and protect stingless bees and for educating the community on the bees’ importance to biodiversity.
- Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre won the Sustainable Education Award for developing a science education program that allows students to engage in scientific research and build an appreciation for South East Queensland’s waterways.
- Bee expert and Brisbane resident Dr Tim Heard won the Sustainable Agriculture Award for helping farmers maximise the pollination of agricultural crops through the introduction of stingless bees, and his ongoing work to improve hive design and beekeeping techniques.
- Austinville Landcare won the Healthy Habitat Award for its skilful planning and execution of work to restore a 7-kilometre section of Austinville Valley, a critically-endangered sub-tropical lowland rainforest on the Gold Coast.
Minister Enoch congratulated the finalists and winners of the 2018 Awards for their innovation, determination and passion for South East Queensland’s environment.
“These awards acknowledge the valuable work that individuals, community groups and organisations are undertaking to improve the health of South East Queensland’s land and waterways,” Ms Enoch said.
“The Queensland Government is proud to recognise and support these hard-working groups and individuals for their valuable work in protecting, repairing and restoring our natural environment through actions and education.”
Healthy Land and Water CEO Julie McLellan also congratulated the 2018 finalists and said they are inspirational environmental leaders at a time when our region needs them most.
“It is heart-warming to witness the passion in the community for our environment and the selfless dedication so many people have for protecting our remarkable part of the world,” she said.
“Given there is so much focus on the issues facing our environment, it is important we celebrate the people helping to make South East Queensland a greener, cleaner and healthier place to live so they can inspire more people to take action.”