Our annual awards recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution, effort and achievement made by volunteers. We announced most of our award recipients in the Summer 2022 edition of Nature NSW. Two members were presented with their awards at Branch celebrations during December. We are pleased to tell you about them in this edition.
Sue Olsson – Hunter Branch
Several years ago, the Port Stephens Walking Group had dwindling numbers and needed to be restructured. Sue Olsson rose to the task of organising the club to be part of NPA. Since then, the club membership has grown rapidly and continues to grow. Sue is an inspiring and capable leader and plans the 6-monthly walking and activity programs, sending out regular emails notifying members of activities as well as enthusiastically participating in the planned activities and leading many of them.
Not only has Sue involved herself in the NPA Port Stephens Walking Group (NPA PSWG) but she has initiated the Friends of Tomaree National Park (FTNP). The group commenced land care work around Zenith Beach at the base of Tomaree Headland but, due to Sue’s enthusiasm and organisational skills, further land care groups are now operating in the National Park at Kingsley Beach and Fishermans Bay. Another program that Sue is organising is called CragCare, where volunteers weed inaccessible areas around the coastal sections of the National Park. Sue has applied for funding to purchase tools and equipment as well as uniforms for the volunteers, and she efficiently organises the tasks and equipment at each land care meeting.
Sue encourages NPA members to make submissions to the local council when issues arise that will affect the National Park or native environment. She also invites members to take part in reporting native orchid sightings in Tomaree NP as well as counting threatened endemic specimens and encouraging the various groups with vested interests in the park (Water Board and Bushfire Brigade) to avoid mowing the track verges until the orchids have seeded.
Sue is involved in many environmental groups and committees in the area and is excellent at connecting with and promoting the activities of other organisations like EcoNetwork. Sue lives and breathes enthusiasm for the environment.
Maarten van der Wende – Central Coast Branch
Maarten has been a member of NPA for 10 years, and a member of the Central Coast Branch Committee for 5 years. He presented the branch at State Council for 5 years, and is a member of the Field Activities Committee.
Maarten is a prolific walks leader with at least one walk per month for many years. He is a strong walks leader who loves to challenge members to go outside their comfort zone with well-coordinated and enjoyable walks. Maarten has a wealth of knowledge and experience on tracks (on and off) to interesting places in various parts of the coast. Some walks may have been forgotten if not for his commitment to keep them fresh. Maarten is a reliable leader who has been willing to assist other leaders.
Central Coast Branch greatly appreciates his commitment as a leader to regular contributions to the monthly walks program. Maarten is very loyal to the Central Coast Branch and contributes to discussions and with ideas for activities. Maarten willingly stepped up with the administration of the Branch by joining the committee and nominating as State Council Representative for 5 years at a time when committee support was struggling.
Maarten is willing to share knowledge of walks to develop both walkers and leaders. Further his willingness to take new members on his walks are appreciated. Maarten interacts well with everyone both on a walk and the committee and has a wonderful sense of humour. Thankyou Maarten – you have shown dedication and contributed to the success of our branch.