SA celebrates nature champions at 2021 Environment Awards

The who's-who of the environment sector gathered at the Joinery in June to celebrate our state's nature champions at the 2021 SA Environment Awards.

Following a warm Welcome to Country by Uncle Mickey Kumatpi Marrutya O'Brien, MC Allys Todd welcomed Conservation SA President Mark Anderson to the stage to introduce the Awards, this year coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Conservation Council of South Australia.

South Australia’s nature legends were then honoured in the fourth annual Lifetime Achiever Award.

Honourees included respected Aboriginal Elder and environment champion Uncle Kevin Buzzacott; beloved environment campaigner Jasemin Rose; conservation leader and volunteer advocate David Mitchell AM; world-renowned author and marine scientist Dr Scoresby Shepherd AO; and legendary ornithologist and educator Joan Paton AM*.

L-R: Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, David Mitchell AM, Jasemin Rose, Prof Scoresby Shepherd AO, Joan Paton AM

Following the Lifetime Achiever tributes, a new award in memory of young environment campaigner Leif Justham was launched by Conservation SA.

Leif Justham, 21, tragically died in April while riding his bike around Australia to help raise awareness of environmental issues.

Leif was an inspiring young South Australian who worked tirelessly to raise awareness of our country’s dependence on fossil fuels and encourage the use of renewable energy for the future of our planet. With the support of Leif’s family, Conservation SA was honoured to name this award on his behalf.

After a moving and inspiring speech by Leif's mum Helen Taylor, the inaugural Leif Justham Young Achiever Award was jointly awarded to SA School Strike 4 Climate’s Amber Brock Fabel and First Nations environment and sustainability advocate Tianhi Adamson.

L-R: Memorial Young Achiever Award eponym Leif Justham, Welcome to Country by Uncle Mickey Kumatpi Marrutya O'Brien

Presented by Green Adelaide's Chris Daniel, the Unsung Hero Award was presented to two winners: Kangaroo Island community conservation group Eco-Action KI and nature facilitator Jill Woodlands.

The major accolade of the night – the Jill Hudson Award for Environmental Protection – was won by ecologist Peri Coleman for her instrumental role in bringing attention to the plight of the St Kilda mangroves and saltmarsh.

Starting as a lone voice talking to agencies of government, Peri then gathered an Alliance of like-minded people and organisations around her, developing pragmatic solutions to a growing issue of international concern.

While Peri is known for her proliferation of scientific reports and commentary on the ongoing St Kilda Mangrove disaster, her bravery and rational presence have been a catalyst for unity within the South Australian conservation sector.

Full list of winners:

Jill Hudson Award for Environmental Protection
Winner: Peri Coleman
Honourable mentions: Robyn Waite and Colin Wilson & Bev Maxwell

Leif Justham Young Achiever Award
Winners: Tiahni Adamson and Amber Brock-Fabel

Unsung Hero Award
Eco-Action KI and Jill Woodlands
Special Award: Lesley Easson

Lifetime Achiever Awards|
Uncle Kevin Buzzacott
David Mitchell AM
Jasemin Rose
Prof Scoresby Shepherd AO
Joan Paton AM (awarded posthumously)

(*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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