14th November 2019: Winning Landcare projects were announced last week at the Queensland Landcare Awards held at the Cairns Aquarium, where Landcare champions from across Queensland came together to celebrate impressive achievements in the Landcare community.
Hosted by Phil Staley from ABC Radio, the awards celebrate incredible efforts to protect Queensland’s land, water and biodiversity.
The ceremony saw award winners from diverse categories, including farming, Coastcare and Indigenous land management, announced by representatives of award sponsors and Queensland Landcare community champions/stalwarts.
Geoff Elliot Chair of Queensland Water and Land Carers paid tribute to award nominees and winners.
‘Friday nights Queensland Water and Land Carers Awards Event was a great celebration of Landcare in Queensland. The awards recognised individuals, groups and partnerships across the state as well as, and most importantly, First nations custodians caring for country,’ Geoff said.
‘On behalf of the Queensland Landcare community I congratulate all the finalists and winners in the award categories. We are seeing real environmental outcomes from the dedication and commitment of community land and water carers and it is important that we continue to support and recognise their tremendous efforts.’
Winners of the National Award categories will go on to represent Queensland at the 2020 National Landcare Awards in Sydney.
Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish, commended recipients of the Queensland Landcare Awards on their outstanding accomplishments.
‘It’s an honour to be able to recognise the great work being carried out by our Landcare champions across Queensland,’ Dr Norrish said.
‘The Landcare Awards program provides land carers the ideal opportunity to get together and celebrate the individual and collective achievements of landcare in the community.’
He added: ‘Land and water carers across Australia deserve to be acknowledged and we’re looking forward to seeing Queensland winners represent their community at the National Landcare Awards next year.’
*2019 Queensland Landcare Award winners –
Australian Government Individual Landcarer Award
Mulgrave Landcare and Catchment Group Inc – Tony Rossi. Gordonvale cane farmer, scientist and long-time Landcarer, Tony and his family have been trialling and developing composting systems for use in sugarcane growing operations. Using waste products such as biosolids (treated sewerage sludge) and green waste from the council is not only making a high quality organic fertiliser but dealing with these waste products in an environmentally sensitive manner.
Australian Government Landcare Farming Award
V.Rossi and Sons – Aloomba family cane producers recognised for their efforts to improve water quality effecting the Great Barrier Reef through green sustainable techniques. Executive and hands on roles in local Landcare issues over 25 years have helped rehabilitate natural systems throughout the Mulgrave Valley and beyond.
Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award
City of Gold Coast- Beaches to Bushland Program – Celebrating 20 years and now comprising of ten local groups, Beaches to Bushland has seen over 120 hectares of land restored through assisted restoration alone and is now under active maintenance while an additional 450,000 native trees have been planted in areas that required revegetation.
Virgin Coastcare Award
Straw No More – Founded by then 9 year old Molly Steer in Cairns in 2017, the core model of the organisation was to eliminate plastic straws in schools across Australia. Since then the Strawbassador program has been launched to empower young people around the nation to help spread Molly’s message about single-use plastic reduction.
Woolworths Junior Landcare Team Award
McDonnell Creek State School – Based in Deeral and backing on to the rainforests of Gadgarra National Park, students and teachers have provided habitat and protection to unique Far North Queensland bird and butterfly species such as the Ulysses and Cairns Birdwing butterflies, the yellow bellied sunbird and many other species that needed care through native planting regeneration programs.
Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award
Gold Coast Catchment Association – Rosalinde Brinkman. 25 year-old environmentalist whose work with GCCA’s long running PlatypusWatch program and fledgling WaterWatch and WaterBug programs, as well as inheriting the SeaGrass program, led to a 100% increase in funding. This allowed GCCA to employ Rose full-time, employ two part-time assistants, and initiate new Cane Toad Program.
Indigenous Land Management Award
Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Incorporated – Being an Indigenous Not for Profit group, Cape CYWAFA_INC have been leaders in the field of Weeds and Feral Animals control work. They work with the Tropical Weeds Research Center in developing cutting edge control programs. And by combating weeds and feral animals, they have helped restore the health of internationally known wetlands out at Keatings Lagoon Conservation Area in Cooktown.
Australian Community Media Landcare Community Group Award
Hinterland Bush Links – A community organisation working to guarantee the long-term survival of our native plants and animals in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. As a part of The Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, they contribute to restoring and connecting landscape along the Great Dividing Range of eastern Australia.
Australian Government Innovation in Agriculture Land Management Award
Central Queensland Soil Health Systems – Developing a number of strategies, CQSHS, which is based out of Walkerston, has researched targeted multispecies cover crops to mitigate chemical run off and erosion whilst promoting beneficial soil microbial activity. For example, sunflowers are grown with cane and harvested for seed before the cane is mature thereby improving soil microbiome, providing a cash crop and conditioning the soil.