2016 Cassowary Awards



The 2016 Cassowary Awards event was held at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures on Saturday 3 December. The impressive lineup of contenders for the eight award categories are listed below, inlcuding the award winners. 


Conservation and RehabilitationThorsborne Award for community conservation

        WINNER:  Kuranda Envirocare

Kuranda Envirocare is a highly active community organisation that protects biodiversity, enhances and monitors habitat and raises community awareness on critical environmental issues and values.  They mobilise resources and volunteers to revegetate and enhance wildlife corridors along rivers and creeks. They also monitor birds in these areas and the critically endangered Litoria myola and other endangered frogs in the Kuranda region. With support from community volunteers, they have played an outstanding role in monitoring yellow crazy ant infestations, and supporting its eradication at Russett Park,  near Kuranda.

        FINALISTSMargaret and Rob Saunders; South Endeavour Land Trust 

Tourism and presentation

        WINNER:  Malanda Falls Visitor Centre

With the original visitor centre that was built by volunteers in 1996 destroyed by a catastrophic fire in 2010, an extensive consultation process saw a new collaboratively designed centre rise from its ashes in 2013. The centre uses a variety of mediums to creatively interpret and celebrate the unique natural and cultural history of the Atherton Tableland and the Wet Tropics World Heritage rainforests. Run by only two part-time staff members, and 28 passionate and enthusiastic volunteers, the centre is now a beehive of activity which attracts thousands of visitors a year.

        FINALISTS: Glen Jacobs; Kuranda Visitor Information Centre


        WINNER:  Australian Quoll Conservancy

The Australian Quoll Conservancy is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of all four of Australia’s quoll species, particularly North Queensland’s spotted-tailed quoll.  Through research and film, the Conservancy’s aim is to save quolls from extinction by creating awareness about dwindling quoll populations. Their documentary Quolls: Fast and Furious and extensive knowledge and understanding of quolls, reflects the many hours the Conservancy’s founders, Luke Jackson and Alberto Vale, spend in the field researching, locating and filming these elusive wildlife. 

        FINALISTS: Hidetoshi Kudo; Dr Karen Coombes: Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre


        WINNER:  Dr Miriam Goosem 

Dr Miriam Goosem has shown leadership, innovation and creativity throughout her career. Balancing her research and teaching commitments, Miriam pioneered research into the impact of Wet Tropics roads on wildlife for over 20 years; developing solutions to create connectivity and reduce wildlife mortality. Miriam has published over 40 papers on various aspects of habitat fragmentation; secondary rainforest regeneration and its benefits for carbon storage and connectivity; and the impacts of cyclones, fragmentation, isolation and weed species. She mentors students at James Cook University in rainforest ecology, human impacts, environmental assessment and land management.

        FINALISTS: Ingrid Marker; Kerry Trapnell

Rainforest Aboriginal peopleour country

        WINNER:  Jabalbina Ranger Program 

Founded in 2013, the Jabalbina rangers operate out of three bases at Mossman, Ayton and Shiptons Flat near Rossville. Rangers are providing leadership around land and cultural heritage management and becoming role models to others who increasingly aspire to work on country. Rangers care for country through weed and pest control, revegetation, traditional burning and managing cultural heritage places. For example, rangers are returning traditional burning methods to Yalanji country—hosting a Cape York NRM Fire Workshop at Wujal Wujal. Amidst other weed control activities, they also work together with other agencies to eradicate salvinia from the head waters of the East Normanby River; fence endangered ecosystems to exclude cattle; clean up marine debris; work with scientists on projects; and manage and protect Yalanji cultural heritage. 

        FINALISTS: Drew Morta; Ken Reys

Community champions

        WINNER:  Peter Rowles 

An active volunteer and leader in local conservation, Peter Rowles shares his enthusiasm, knowledge and experience to guide and inspire others. He has a long history promoting conservation and ecologically sustainable land management—volunteering for community organisations around Innisfail and Mission Beach areas, sitting on various committees and serving as a director of Terrain NRM. Peter has given many hours in developing programs and implementing projects, working with landholders and volunteers, and negotiating with government agencies. Through his passion to preserve Wet Tropics World Heritage values he provides training to conservation volunteers and the unemployed, passing on valuable knowledge of tropical forest ecology, landscape repair and appreciation of our unique environment.

        FINALISTS: Liz Gallie; Angela and Mark McCaffrey

Local Government

      WINNER:  Douglas Shire Council—planning framework 

Douglas Shire Council showed their commitment to supporting long-held aspirations of Traditional Owners by consulting with Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama to create a new planning framework that supports their return to live and work on country. The new Return to Country Local Plan Precincts within the Planning Scheme see the Douglas Shire commit to working with Traditional Owners on precinct plans and development codes.  Enabling Traditional Owners to connect to country also supports appropriate management of the World Heritage Area.

        FINALISTS: Douglas Shire Council—Bloomfiled Track eBook; Douglas Shire Council—Daintree Gateway interpretive signage

Young Cassowary Award

        WINNER:  James Cook University Sustainability Club 

The James Cook University Sustainability Club is a student-run initiative with a mission “to promote a sustainable lifestyle, connect students to community groups and empower people to enact positive change throughout James Cook University and the wider community”. The Club demonstrates leadership of the younger generation and works hard to promote World Heritage Area values across the community. It has an effective and committed volunteer base and is an important awareness raising platform for various groups. The Club is trail blazing in setting the social norm for youth to be involved in and volunteer for Club activities, and to take care of their environment through responsible lifestyle habits.

        FINALISTS: Mikhaila Jacoby; Daniel Kim

Chairs Award

        WINNER:  Ron and Pam Birkett 

A special ‘Chair’s Award’ was presented to Ron and Pam Birkett in appreciation of their contribution to the World Heritage Area spanning almost 30 years. As founders of the Daintree Discovery Centre (which they sold earlier this year) Ron and Pam have been leaders in the field of sustainable tourism, advancing the conservation and presentation of the World Heritage Area. They supported the Cassowary Awards for many years as sponsors of the Young Cassowary Award, and have played a valuable role by their participation in numerous consultative groups.


Take a look at the list of previous Cassowary Award recipients.


News and Events

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News and Events

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