Conservation legends and young achievers honoured at 2019 SA Environment Awards

21 November 2019

Conservation legends and young achievers honoured at 2019 SA Environment Awards

Legendary Great Australian Bight protector Bunna Lawrie and School Strike 4 Climate leader Doha Khan were among those honoured at the 2019 SA Environment Awards ceremony at Tandanya tonight.

Mr Lawrie, a highly respected Senior Mirning Elder from the Nullarbor in the coastal lands of south-west Australia. was recognised for a lifetime of work to protect and care for country.

As a founding partner and powerful campaigner for the Great Australian Bight Alliance, Bunna has led events across Australia and the world, notably travelling to Norway to engage with the Norwegian people, Parliament and the board of oil company Equinor on drilling in the Bight. 

“Bunna’s experience, impact and values deeply align with those acknowledged by the Jill Hudson Award, and he remains a guiding light for those who act on behalf of our precious nature places,” said Craig Wilkins, Conservation SA Chief Executive.

Young environment leaders also took centre stage, with SA School Strike 4 Climate organiser Doha Khan taking out the Young Achiever Award for her inspiring leadership of the youth climate movement both in our state and at the national level – and all while completing her Year 12 studies.

Climate action champion Margaret Hender was named Unsung Hero of the Year for her tireless campaigning for renewable energy, climate emergency declarations and work towards a fossil fuel-free SA.

"Many environmental activists and conservationists go for years without recognition. Tonight was our opportunity to honour the work that these great South Australians do on behalf of all of us,” said Mr Wilkins.

South Australia’s nature legends were also honoured in the third annual Lifetime Achiever Awards: world-renowned anti-nuclear advocate Dr Helen Caldicott; former Democrats leader and environment campaigner Dr John Coulter; prize-winning frog researcher Prof Mike Tyler; respected Aboriginal Elder and anti-nuclear campaigner Eileen Kampakuta Brown AM*, and lifelong Murray-Darling Basin advocate Henry Jones*. (*awarded posthumously)

“South Australia is blessed with so many wonderful people looking after our environment. It is such a thrill to acknowledge and celebrate their enormous contribution,” said Mr Wilkins.

The Honourable David Speirs, Minister for Environment and Water was among the special presenters for the evening. The event was hosted by Conservation SA and sponsored by the Department for Environment and Water, Adelaide Cemeteries Authority and Gemtree Wines.


Media comment: Craig Wilkins, Conservation SA Chief Executive, 0417 879 439

Full list of winners and finalists:

Jill Hudson Award for Environmental Protection

Winner: Bunna Lawrie
Finalists: Margaret Hender, Doha Khan, Sue Lawrie, Public Parks Not Private Playgrounds, Peter 'Pedro' Schultz

Young Achiever Award

Winner: Doha Khan
Finalist: James Tresize

Unsung Hero Award

Winner: Margaret Hender
Finalists: Eco-Action KI, Paul Fennell & Ted Johansen, Paul Howieson, Steve Jones, John Read & Katherine Moseby

Lifetime Achiever Awards

Dr Helen Caldicott
Dr John Coulter
Prof Mike Tyler
Eileen Kampakuta Brown AM (awarded posthumously)
Henry Jones (awarded posthumously)

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Contact Conservation SA on (08) 8223 5155, [email protected], or at our offices at the Joinery at 111 Franklin Street, Adelaide.

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