Young Conservationist Award offers once-in-a-lifetime field experience

Dr Les Hall OAM exploring a cave’s critters.

As the late Dr Les Hall OAM said in 2014, “Unless you put it into action, knowledge is not worth having.”

This attitude toward educated advocacy is what Dr Hall loved to see encouraged amongst youth in his community of Maleny, the greater Sunshine Coast and beyond.

As a tribute to Dr Hall, who sadly passed away in February 2019 after 40 years of major achievements in the zoology world, Sunshine Coast Council is proud to partner with the Hall family on the inaugural Les Hall Young Conservationist Award.

Wildlife biologist and daughter Clancy Hall said that the award will recognise youth who take an active role in conservation and increase awareness of environmental threats in the region.

“Nominations are open until midnight on January 31, 2020 for those 18 years or younger who worked on a project that improved the environment for local species,” Ms Hall said.

“The award will be given to an individual (or team) who has developed novel techniques, engaged and inspired the community, and/or achieved significant on-ground outcomes for wildlife conservation on the Sunshine Coast.

“As my father would offer to his brightest charges, the winner will receive an opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime conservation activity.

“We’re excited to share that World Wildlife Fund Australia are supporting this award, and this year they have generously offered the winner (or winners) access to a wildlife conservation field experience, valued at up to $2000, such as a marine turtle research project here in Queensland.

“As a respected researcher and conservationist, my father would be proud of the young citizen scientists in our community who are developing their own passion for the environment and taking that extra step to look after it.

“It will be wonderful to share the achievements of those who are following in his footsteps and to recognise youth who are making a difference in their local environments.”

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay echoed Ms Hall’s enthusiasm about the award, and shared her insight on Dr Hall.

“I had the pleasure of knowing Les and working with him on a number of projects over the years, particularly at Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve,” Cr McKay said.

“His commitment to conservation as well as his ability to motivate future generations was always inspiring, and we’re forever grateful to him, and his family, for this work.

“I believe this award is a fitting legacy and that our Sunshine Coast youth will do him proud in continuing to research and advocate for wildlife conservation.”

Nominations for the Les Hall Young Conservationist Award are open until January 31, 2020 and can be submitted using the online nomination form through council’s website.

The winner will be announced in April 2020 at the next Australasian Bat Night event to be held in Maleny.

For details and the online nomination form, visit council’s website, www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Environment/Native-Animals/Flying-Foxes/Community-News-and-Events.

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