2012 Cassowary Heroes

The Cassowary Awards are an opportunity for the Wet Tropics Management Authority and the Wet Tropics community to acknowledge and thank the quiet achievers who are dedicated to securing the living and vibrant legacy of our World Heritage Area for future generations. This year the Wet Tropics Management Authority  recognised and celebrated the efforts of 13 individuals and community members. From this list it  awarded five cassowary awards.

Anne Wilkinson and Lawrie Martin (Tully)

Anne and Lawrie are retired journalists who have spent a lifetime reporting on environmental issues. Today Anne and Lawrie own a beautiful bush block at Murray Upper which they have declared as Land for Wildlife. From their home Anne and Lawrie work tirelessly for the  endangered animals of the region, particularly the Mahogany Glider. They are very active members of the local branch of WPSQ and write a much


followed weekly article in the Tully Times – Wildwatch for the branch. Anne and Lawrie are definitely highly valued neighbours of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

Image: Anne Wilkinson, Margaret Thorsborne and Lawrie Martin.



Jack Leighton (Tablelands)

In 2002, Jack made his first video which portrayed the incredible numbers of platypus that congregated in Lake Tinaroo as a result of the drought. This was followed by DVDs on Barramundi fishing and Rainforest Birds of Australia’s Wet Tropics. ‘Rainforest Birds of Australia’s Wet Tropics’ is a culmination of 3 years of filming and is a valuable tool for identifying our diverse Wet Tropics birdlife. Jack has more recently completed a DVD called ‘Mammals of Australia’s Wet Tropics’ which shares some unique footage of our more elusive mammals in the Wet Tropics. Through his high quality recordings and imagery Jack Leighton’s videos promotes and showcases our Wet Tropics wildlife.




Reef and Rainforest Centre (Cardwell)

The Reef and Rainforest Centre is an accredited  Wet Tropics Visitor Information Centre and is in the process of gaining Advanced Eco- Tourism Accreditation. They were the winner of the 2008 Visitor Information and Services category at the North Queensland Tourism Awards, a finalist in the 2009 Queensland Tourism Awards, and winners of the 2008 GBRMPA Visitor Information Centre of the year. Apart from the wonderful wet tropics and reef display, the Centre has also created a very warm and interesting visitor hub. Staff at the Centre are great supporters of the Wet Tropics. The Centre plays an important role in bringing together the Cardwell community and helping and promoting local businesses. This was especially evident during the Cyclone Yasi recovery.


Alan Curtis (Daintree)

Alan is the centre of the Daintree community when it comes to rainforest conservation, revegetation, education, preservation, and has been for more than 10 years. A dedicated wildlife carer, he spends all his spare time organising the Cassowary Care Nursery and always has injured animals/birds at home and work. Alan is absolutely passionate about the rainforest and is the person everyone goes to for information – locals, bus drivers, tour operators, staff and officals of the Daintree Discovery Centre. His dedication and commitment to promoting the values of the World Heritage Area are exceptional.






Peter Rowles (Innisfail)

Peter has been involved in conservation issues in the Wet Tropics for over 30 years. Peter was active ensuring parts of the Wet Tropics were included in World Heritage listing. He was one of the founders of Johnstone Ecological Society and Loth Park which was established to promote the floral species of the Wet Tropics. Since retiring this year Peter has continued to participate in conservation organisations and activities. He has taken on executive roles in environmental organisations. He is also a Board member of Terrain NRM and a member of the Society for Growing Australian Plants, Johnstone Ecological Society, C4 and Landcare and the Wet Tropic Management Authority’s Conservation Sector Liaison Group, and CAFNEC. He owns 260 hectares of land which he has primarily protected as natural habitat.


Luke Jackson and Glenn Kvassay (Cairns)

Luke and Glenn of Quoll Seekers Network are conservationists, and tireless supporters of Australian wildlife, in particular northern quolls and spotted-tailed quolls. Luke and Glenn have earned a state award for their passion for supporting and preserving Australia’s largest marsupial carnivore. Their dedication and commitment demands long hours hiking through tropical forests spotting, up Bartle Frere to plant cameras for Quoll research and observing this beautiful and rare species. Luke and Glenn have developed the Spot Tales Newsletter to share their own and others enthusiasm for protection of quolls. Luke and Glenn are wonderful ambassadors for both the northern and spotted-tailed quolls, demonstrating
an unequivocal and ongoing commitment to nature.


Sue and Jack Hasenpusch (Innisfail)

For over 20 years Jack and Sue have been researching the insect fauna of the Wet Tropics Region. They have discovered many new species and have grown many of these out through their entire life cycles providing new information about these important animals. Their Australian Insect Farm just north of Innisfail has been a far sighted and community oriented exercise in voluntary conservation, made viable by the combination of a biologically rich and spectacular tropical rainforest environment, and a sound land management ethic. Demonstrating a remarkable level of interest and motivation the Hasenpusch family have contributed enormously to educating the public and significantly changing the perception that all bugs are bad.





Dr Miriam Goosem (Cairns)

For over 20 years Miriam has made a major contribution to the understanding of the impacts of linear barriers (including roads and powerlines) on the movements of rainforest animals within the World Heritage Area. Miriam’s research began with her PhD and opened up a new area of research in the Wet Tropics – no one knew before how many or what animals were being killed on roads and what animals would not cross cleared areas. Her data and recommendations now influence the way roads and powerline corridors are maintained and constructed in the Wet Tropics. For instance, the East Evelyn Road underpass tunnels are a testament to Miriam’s work and continue to provide her with further  research. Miriam’s work was used to inform the design for the proposed upgrade of the Kuranda Range Road, in gullies under powerline corridors and bridges. Miriam’s dedication, knowledge and practical innovative ideas have made a significant contribution to protection of the World Heritage Areas most valued icons.


Below back from left: Luke Jackson, Assoc.Professor Peter Valentine, Keith Smith, The Hon. Jan McLucas (Sen for Qld),  Michael Trout  (Member for Barron River), Glenn Kvassay, Ron Birkett (Daintree Discovery Centre), Jack Hasenpusch. Front from left: Peter Rowles, Sue Hasenpusch, Rhonda Brim, Helen Underwood and Dr Miriam Goosem.

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