Wet Tropics champions celebrated at 19th Cassowary Awards

The work of people and organisations who have contributed to conserving, protecting and raising awareness about the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (the Area) was recognised last night at the 19th Cassowary Awards.

More than 160 people enjoyed the prestigious event at Tjapukai NOW on Djabugay Country in Smithfield, where awards were presented across nice categories to leaders in conservation, rehabilitation, tourism, innovation, education and climate change response in the Wet Tropics.

Hosted by the Wet Tropics Management Authority (the Authority), the Cassowary Awards are the only awards program in Australia to recognise excellence in community contributions to World Heritage management.

The Authority’s Chair Chrissy Grant said the Cassowary Awards were a night to gather and pay tribute to champions of the Wet Tropics.

“Choosing the nine award recipients from more than 40 nominations was no easy task as each of the nominees are valued and important members of the Wet Tropics community. Many of these people have dedicated years and even decades to ensuring the Area thrives for generations to come.”

“Award recipients included a range of people, such as rainforest ecologist Professor Susan Laurance who received our Climate Change Leadership Award for her important research, to those who work at a grassroots level, such as the Peter Hitchcock Community Champion Award recipient, Tony Rossi.”

“Mr Rossi is a cane farmer, whose years of hard work with Mulgrave River Landcare has not only seen an improvement to landscapes but also a shift in the agriculture sector, where the values of agriculture and environmental protection are working together.”

Ms Grant also said contributions by Traditional Custodians of the Wet Tropics were strongly represented among the nominations.

“We had Indigenous ranger groups nominated across numerous categories, including climate change leadership and innovation and research. The recipient of our Tourism and Presentation Award went to Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours, which is 100% owned and operated by the Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation.”

A tenth, discretionary, Chair’s Award was given by Ms Grant to Cairns Regional Council.

“Cairns Regional Council has set the benchmark for local governments everywhere with their commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, to building a more sustainable society, and to engaging youth on environmental matters. The Council is demonstrating leadership and initiative in its collaborative vision to make Cairns and Far North Queensland the capital of the smart green economy,” Ms Grant said.

“All of the nominees and award recipients are people who work tirelessly towards not only protecting and promoting the Outstanding Universal Value of the Area, but also helping build resilience into this unique and special place to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate,” Ms Grant said.

The 19th Cassowary Award recipients for each category are:

  1. Thorsborne Award for Community Conservation and Rehabilitation—Kylie Freebody
  2. Tourism and Presentation Award—Mandingalbay Ancient Indigenous Tours
  3. Innovation and Research Award—Australian Wildlife Conservancy
  4. Education Award—Melissa Brolese
  5. People. Country. Culture. Award—Jumbun Limited
  6. Peter Hitchcock Community Champion Award—Tony Rossi
  7. Government and Industry Initiatives Award—Geoff Onus and NQ Land Management Services
  8. Climate Change Leadership Award—Professor Susan Laurance
  9. Young Cassowary Award—Chloe Christaldi, Nya Seuili and Chloe Tully, White Rock State School
  10. Chair’s Award—Cairns Regional Council

The event was proudly sponsored by Catalyst Markets, James Cook University, Cairns Aquarium, Cairns Regional Council, Daintree Discovery Centre, Powerlink, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Queensland Water and Land Carers, Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, Terrain NRM and YETI (Youth Empowered Towards Independence).

Wet Tropics champions celebrated at 19th Cassowary Awards

Published: 08th Oct 2022

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