The Cassowary Awards feature nine categories.
CATEGORY 1: 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.
CATEGORY 2: Tourism and Presentation
In recognition of those who have contributed positively to tourism and the presentation of the 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.
CATEGORY 3: Innovation and Research
This category recognises the original, inventive and creative contributions and achievements that have improved or advanced understanding and management of the 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.
CATEGORY 4: Education
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 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.
CATEGORY 5: People. Country. Culture.
Recognising Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples’ initiatives throughout the 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 People or groups working on Country, tourism related enterprises, enterprises that promote livelihoods for Rainforest Aboriginal People, and individuals who contribute to the active participation of Rainforest Aboriginal People in the management of the Area.
CATEGORY 6: Peter Hitchcock Community Champion Award
This category recognises those who provide an inspiration to others through their commitment and hard work advocating for the Area, through championing solutions and raising the profile of issues affecting the well-being of the Area.
CATEGORY 7: Government and Industry Initiatives
To recognise the contributions of local government, infrastructure service providers 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 Area.
CATEGORY 8: Climate Change Leadership
In recognition of exceptional leadership in climate change response, recipients of this award 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 Area.
CATEGORY 9: 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 Area’s plants or animals.