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July 6, 2022

2022 Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards

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A big koala and Environmental Citizen of the Year candidate Linda Sparrow.

Two local groups have been nominated for the he Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards, an initiative of The Australia Day Council of NSW in partnership with Return and Earn.

The public was invited by their local council to nominate fellow citizens for the annual Local Citizen of the Year Awards. The awards aim to recognise outstanding achievement during the past year and/or contribution to the local community over a number of years.

As part of the Awards, Local Councils are encouraged to include an Environmental Citizen of the Year category which was formally introduced in 2019. This is the fourth year Return & Earn has sponsored the Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards.

The Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards recognise individuals and organisations for championing environmental initiatives in their local communities.

Local winners of the 2022 Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards are eligible to be part of the state-wide competition. Individuals or organisations must be nominated by their local council to be considered in the state-wide competition.

Two local groups have been nominated in this year’s awards – Robert Boota and the Githabul Rangers, and the Bangalow Koalas Community Wildlife Corridor.

Boota’s Rangers

Robert Boota created the Githabul Rangers to focus on environmental problems in its local native forests. Based in Northern NSW, the organisation has successfully protected and improved natural and cultural sites across 110,000 hectares of Githabul Country.

The Githabul Rangers treat invasive weeds to protect native plants and animals. The Rangers also identify issues related to poor land management and improve the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Robert’s passion for the environment extends to educating others through community programs. These programs focus on the importance of preserving traditional and cultural values, protecting the environment, and providing support within the community.

Robert is highly respected for his positive influence and the excellent stewardship of the native forests through the Githabul Rangers.

Bangalow Koalas

Bangalow Koalas Community Wildlife corridor aims to protect habitat for threatened species and ecological communities in the state’s Northern Rivers. Their long-term mission is to create a Koala Wildlife Corridor to encourage koalas out of urban areas and away from threats by planting 500,000 trees by 2025. With this goal in sight, the organisation has already planted 168,000 trees in just over 3 years.

Bangalow Koalas efforts have led to the expansion of a native corridor from Bangalow to Byron Bay, and it’s now heading further westward to Tenterfield, north to the Queensland border, and south towards Grafton.

Bangalow Koalas started in 2016 with a handful of concerned neighbours determined to prevent a 400-metre stretch of koala food trees from deteriorating. Now the group has grown into a registered environmental organisation of 140 members who are educating, involving, and inspiring the community to help save and protect the Northern Rivers koalas.

ENVIRONMENTAL CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Nominees may be recognised for work such as:
Efforts to preserve the environment within their local community.
The ability to foster partnerships that achieve litter reduction and recycling outcomes.
The use of the Return and Earn scheme to help fundraise for a meaningful cause.

Runner Up

In lieu of the young category (which was impacted due to COVID and not awarded in 2022), for this year there will be a prize a one-off runner-up in the Environmental Citizen of the Year category.

The state-wide winners of the NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year and Runner-up will receive one-off donations of $3,000 and $1,000 respectively, to put towards their community initiative.

The State winners are selected by an assessment panel and will be announced on World Environment Day (Sunday, 5 June 2022).


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