The 19th Cassowary Awards featured nine categories:
Thorsborne Award for Community Conservation and Rehabilitation
For contribution to the improvement of natural values of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This category may include neighbours, landholders community groups or individuals who rehabilitate and protect the fauna, flora and other natural landscape elements of the Area.
Margaret Thorsborne was a previous recipient of the Cassowary Award for Community Conservation, which was renamed the Thorsborne Award in 2016 to acknowledge Margaret and her late husband Arthur's contributions to the Wet Tropics. Arthur and Margaret shared a lifelong passion and commitment to nature conservation and environmental activism.
Tourism and Presentation
In recognition of those who have contributed positively to tourism and the presentation of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This category may include the promotion of the Area’s values within and outside of the industry and the provision of information or interpretive products that benefit the industry. This includes the contributions of visitor centres.
Innovation and Research
This category recognises the original, inventive and creative contributions and achievements that have improved or advanced understanding and management of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This category includes those who have carried out innovative research, developed applications or applied other programs or technologies in new ways to present or manage World Heritage values.
For recognition of individuals or groups, such as community-based educators or university and school staff, who go above and beyond their role to facilitate active learning by imparting exceptional understanding and appreciation of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This may include developing school programs, facilitating and supporting research projects, or teaching the skills required to contribute to, advocate for and promote awareness of the Area.
People. Country. Culture.
Recognising initiatives of Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples throughout the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. This includes enterprise development and innovation, commitment to looking after Country, and interpretation and presentation of the cultural and natural values of the Area. Nominations can include Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples or groups working on Country, tourism related enterprises, enterprises that promote livelihoods for Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples, and individuals who contribute to the active participation of Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples in the management of the Area.
Peter Hitchcock Community Champion Award
This category recognises those who provide an inspiration to others through their commitment and hard work advocating for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, through championing solutions and raising the profile of issues affecting the well-being of the Area.
Peter Hitchcock was the inaugural executive director of the Wet Tropics Management Authority and a conservation leader. Peter set the foundations for the Authority at a time when World Heritage listing of the Wet Tropics remained a controversial issue. He worked tirelessly to involve the community in the Authority's work, ensuring the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area was appreciated by all.
Government and Industry Initiatives
To recognise the contributions of local government and industry in the Wet Tropics region in the areas of sustainable land use planning and practices, natural resource management, infrastructure provision or public campaigns for the protection of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Climate Change Leadership
Recognising exceptional leadership in climate change response. Recipients facilitate positive action in communicating climate issues and brokering local solutions. This category includes those who advocate for action, lead research, educate and inform the community on risks, and develop or implement adaptation or mitigation strategies in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.
Young Cassowary Award
This category recognises the outstanding environmental work of young people of school age (individuals, groups or classes), whether within their school, clubs and communities. Projects may include rainforest tree planting, a science experiment/research project, weed control, rubbish collection, multimedia/arts, endangered species awareness, or profiles on the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area’s plants or animals. Celebrating young Wet Tropics champions is especially important to the Wet Tropics Management Authority.