Our annual awards recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution, effort and achievement made by volunteers. NPA award recipients have:
- provided voluntary service to NPA over an extended period, or supported NPA through voluntary service elsewhere within the nature conservation sector
- achieved results through extraordinary effort, commitment, initiative, innovation or creativity
- provided a fitting role model for others.
Congratulations to all award recipients, and thank you to all who nominated someone for an award. NPA could not achieve all that it does without all our wonderful, passionate and dedicated volunteers.
For outstanding leadership in the outdoor activity program.
Bandula has led over 100 walks for NPA. His walks provide a balance of time to enjoy the bush environment with challenging tracks to keep up everyone’s fitness. He is welcoming of new walkers and encouraging of new leaders. And when a walk is proving too much of a task for some, he is encouraging and thoughtful, an early exit is never frowned on.
Gerald has been a regular leader of the Wednesday walking group since Bob Shayler retired from leading. He is caring and considerate with all who join the walks. He pauses to regroup and make sure walkers are hydrated and he generously shares his knowledge with newer leaders.
For outstanding contribution to local or regional nature conservation projects, or activities conducted by a branch or other local group.
Conny Harris – Sydney Region Branch
Conny Harris has been an outstanding advocate of nature conservation in the Northern Beaches for many years. However, it is Conny’s work leading the NPA Environmental Book Club that is the main reason for this award. Conny’s passion for establishing the book club stemmed from her environmental interests and capacity to bring people together to discuss topical issues across all facets of nature and conservation.
The book club was established four years ago. With the arrival of the pandemic, Conny facilitated the transition from face to face to online meetings smoothly: navigating the associated issues of good community interaction and time for everyone to be involved in an online forum. This has enabled greater participation from members from around NSW. Several books are read and discussed each year with reviews published in Nature NSW.
The book club was established more than four years ago, led by Conny, holding meetings at the Sydney offices of the National Parks Association (NSW). Naturally, these early sessions limited involvement to only people who could travel to the city for the face-to-face meetings. The book club became an activity of the Sydney Region Branch on establishment in 2019 and continued on site at the Pyrmont office. The pandemic presented challenges for all member services, as it did for the book club. Conny continued to lead the book club as it seamlessly moved from a physical conversation to an online service, navigating the associated issues of good community interaction and time for everyone to be involved in an online forum.
Moving online however also provided opportunities. The Sydney Region covers significant distances and the online forum enabled people to access the book club that may have been restricted by the need to travel to Pyrmont. Bolstered by the success of moving online, the book club continues today with opportunity and engagement of NPA members from anywhere in NSW. In the last two years, this success has also contributed to the wider NPA membership through the book reviews, developed by the book club, and published in NPA’s Nature or Nature News.
Conny’s commitment to providing this valuable NPA member service has been inspirational. The book club has operated continuously for over four years, uninterrupted by Covid, as a rewarding, engaging, and informative activity for all NPA members.
Three local achievement awards were made this year. Two will be announced at events to be held in December.
For outstanding contribution to State-wide nature conservation projects.
Ashley has provided long term support to the identification and development of the Great Koala National Park, through the detailed assessment of koala hubs. Ashley’s work goes back more than 20 years during the early period of the Coffs Harbour Branch (now Coffs Coast). His early work during the period of the first round of the Regional Forests Agreements led to a number of new protected areas.
This achievement has led to a long term and concerted campaign to end native forest logging in this important area. The Great Koala National Park(s) proposal has strong support within NPA, conservationists State-wide and for the community of NSW. Ashley’s leadership in this area has been determined and focused.
Ashley also co-authored ‘A Blueprint for a Comprehensive Reserve System for Koalas’ (2015) and contributed to ‘Eucalypt Forests of NE NSW’ (2012).
Excellence in Conservation
For outstanding service to NPA and the nature conservation sector.
Lynne has contributed to conservation of nature and cultural heritage in NSW for over three decades, working effectively with others on a wide range of issues. This has ranged from working in advisory committees for national parks, through a wide range of roles in NPA to working in or with other community groups. She brings her considerable people skills to each group as well as knowledge built up over time and through diligent reading and discussion, and her love of nature.
Lynne has been an active member of Armidale Branch Committee for longer than other current committee members can remember, including Branch President for the last 5 years as well as President or Co-president in many earlier years. This also involved working on numerous issues and several campaigns.
She has contributed greatly over the decades to NPA State Council, Park Management Committee, various other NPA groups and assisted NPA staff, and is known for her willingness to contribute in relation to a wide range of issues as well as locations across the Northern Tablelands.
Lynne always encourages and enables others to contribute to NPA or our work in whatever way they can, is supportive, showing appreciation of each person’s circumstances, and gives recognition to their efforts. In doing so, Lynne helps others to gain and achieve more from working co-operatively. She applies the same approach to interacting with people outside NPA, such as in government bodies and with local Aboriginal people, thereby building good working relationships. Success in the long haul of conservation is unlikely without people who apply these people skills, as Lynne does better than most.
Thank you to our prize donors
Our thanks go to Trek & Travel and Woodslane for generously donating the prizes for our Volunteer Awards. Both organisations support NPA members with discounts. Members are entitled to 10% discount with Trek&Travel, and 20% with Woodslane.