Congratulations to the 2022 Cassowary Awards recipients

The 2022 Cassowary Awards were held at Tjapukai NOW on Djabugay Country on Saturday 8 October. Award recipients and their achievements are featured below:

Wet Tropics Management AuthorityThorsborne Award for Community Conservation and Rehabilitation

Sponsored by Department of Environment and Science: Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service

Kylie Freebody

Kylie Freebody has spent her life dedicated to the cause of forest restoration and repair. She is the driving force behind the success of many restoration and revegetation initiatives such as Tablelands Regional Council Community Revegetation Nursery, Trees for the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands (TREAT), Kickstart, and the Tree-Kangaroo and Mammal Group and Tree-Kangaroo Recovery Project.



Wet Tropics Management AuthorityTourism and Presentation Award

Sponsored by Skyrail Rainforest Cableway

Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours

Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours is 100% owned and operated by Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation. It has launched an authentic and accessible Indigenous tourism experience welcoming over 1,500 people on Country in just five months. Their half-day Hands on Country EcoTour presents Wet Tropics World Heritage values to visitors, provides a direct community benefit through employment and training, and offers access to Rainforest Aboriginal Country while celebrating the region’s scenic beauty—both on land and water.



Wet Tropics Management AuthorityInnovation and Research Award

Sponsored by Cairns Regional Council

Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has acted over the last five years to conserve the critically endangered northern bettong. AWC is a long-standing member of the Northern Bettong Recovery Team, working with Traditional Custodians and rangers from Wadjanbarra Tableland Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation, Gugu Badhun Aboriginal Corporation, Western Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, Djabugay Aboriginal Corporation and Girringun Aboriginal Corporation, as well as Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Wet Tropics Management Authority, and local landholders.



Wet Tropics Management AuthorityEducation Award 

Sponsored by Cairns Aquarium

Melissa Brolese

Melissa Brolese, a teacher from Parramatta State School, initiated a partnership with the Wet Tropics Management Authority and James Cook University to create a yellow crazy ant learning initiative for students, including how this invasive species can impact local flora and fauna in the Wet Tropics. Students learn how to identify, bait and trap yellow crazy ants.





Wet Tropics Management AuthorityPeople. Country. Culture. Award

Sponsored by Terrain NRM

Jumbun Limited

Jumbun Limited has co-created a ground-breaking and transformative program called Gumbudda in our Mala (Cyclone in our Hands), a truth-telling and ecovillage design program with cultural authority. This united approach to economic and community growth has been created from within the Jumbun community. This unique combination of innovative mediation and coaching will identify and develop essential elements as Jumbun community transition into a modern approach to caring for Country and the community.



Wet Tropics Management AuthorityPeter Hitchcock Community Champions Award

Sponsored by Queensland Water and Land Carers

Tony Rossi

Tony Rossi is a third-generation cane farmer born and raised on the Mulgrave River catchment who is passionate about the environment. Tony is the president of Mulgrave Landcare Group and through his leadership and role as an advocate for Wet Tropics restoration, Mulgrave Landcare is a well-known and respected landcare group. In 2019, Tony’s family won the Reef Alliance Nutrient Champions Award and Queensland Landcare Farming Award, and he won the Queensland Individual Award.



Wet Tropics Management AuthorityGovernment and Industry Initiatives Award

Sponsored by Powerlink

Geoff Onus and NQ Land Management Services

Geoff Onus, CEO of NQ Land Management Services, has demonstrated excellence in rainforest restoration works in and around the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Starting out on the Atherton Tableland as a cadet for CSIRO in 1984,he has since volunteered and worked with not-for-profit organisations, Aboriginal corporations, Terrain NRM and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Geoff was also a lobbyist for the declaration of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988 and for the Donaghy’s Corridor Nature Refuge since its inception in 1995, which continues today.



Wet Tropics Management AuthorityClimate Change Leadership Award

Sponsored by Daintree Discovery Centre

Professor Susan Laurance

Professor Susan Laurance has demonstrated excellence in her field of climate science and tropical ecology through a sustained research career of international distinction and productivity. This is evidenced by 147 peer-reviewed articles that have more than 25,000 citations, and more than$6 million in research funding. Prof. Laurance’s research has been published in world-leading journals, focussing on the effects of climate change




Wet Tropics Management AuthorityYoung Cassowary Award

Sponsored by YETI (Youth Empowered Towards Independence)

Chloe Cristaldi, Nya Seuili and Chloe Tully (White Rock State School)

Chloe Cristaldi, Nya Seuili and Chloe Tully are students from White Rock State School who learnt about yellow crazy ants from a presentation the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Yellow Crazy Ant Eradication Program gave at their school. The impacts of yellow crazy ants on the local environment struck a chord with the students and they came up with the idea of writing a song about their learnings. They partnered with musical talents from the Authority’s team to create a rap song which then featured on ABC Radio..


Wet Tropics Management AuthorityChairs Award

Sponsored by the Wet Tropics Management Authority

Cairns Regional Council

The 2022 Chair’s Award was given to Cairns Regional Council

who have made great leaps in the areas of nature stewardship, climate change action, including through community engagement and empowering youth voices on environmental matters. Their Cairns Climate Strategy, Cairns ECOfiesta, Community Sustainability Grants, youth climate summits and plan for a Smart Green Economy for Far North Queensland are key examples of their visionary leadership.



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