Posted on 24/05/2013 by
Phillip Island Nature Parks has an even bigger reason to celebrate World Environment Day this year after being awarded ‘Finalist’ in two categories of the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Awards.
The awards mark World Environment Day on 5 June and celebrate innovative and outstanding environmental programs and initiatives across Australia, as well as the critical work of environmental leaders.
The Nature Parks was announced as a finalist in the ‘Biodiversity Award’ category for its outstanding environmental achievements across Phillip Island. Dr Peter Dann is also a finalist for the inaugural Prime Minister’s ‘Environmentalist of the Year Award’ for his lifetime of dedication to saving Phillip Island’s little penguins.
The Nature Parks’ submission to the Prime Minister’s Environmentalist of the Year Award paid tribute to the lifetime commitment of penguin researcher Dr Peter Dann. In the 1980s, Dr Dann prepared and presented a paper to the state government which determined that the little penguins at the Penguin Parade would disappear by the late 1990s if nothing was done to ensure their long-term protection. The work of Dr Dann and his team has been instrumental to the growth and extensive conservation of the population.
The Biodiversity Award submission detailed the extensive works of Phillip Island Nature Parks, including protection of significant vegetation communities, along with populations of little penguins, hooded plovers, short–tailed shearwaters, international migratory birds and key mammal species including koalas and Australian fur seals.
In the 15 years since its formation, the Nature Parks has reduced many negative impacts and demonstrated innovation and excellence in the protection and enhancement of Phillip Island’s environment and biodiversity. A significant example of this is the buyback of the Summerland Estate for the little penguins - the only example in the world where a housing estate has been bought back for wildlife.
“We are delighted to reach the finals of these prestigious awards,” said Phillip Island Nature Parks Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Jackson.
“We are also proud of our environmental achievements in the past year as we continue to deliver highlights and positive outcomes for the environment, the community and Phillip Island.”
Such achievements included contributing over $3.9 million to environmental and scientific initiatives across the Nature Parks, and finalising the Environment Plan 2012-17 with extensive stakeholder and community consultation.
In addition, no little penguins were killed by foxes on the Summerland Peninsula for the third year in a row, and the Nature Parks’ fox eradication program achieved ultimate recognition through winning the National Banksia Environmental Foundation Award for Environmental Excellence and the Victorian Coastal Award for Excellence.
A total of 70,000 new plants were put in the ground by staff and volunteers and over 4,000 hours of weed control was undertaken across the Nature Parks. Rangers and volunteers maintained a 24-hour, seven day a week wildlife rescue service on Phillip Island and over 567 native animals were cared for in the Nature Parks’ new Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.
The Nature Parks held its third annual community open day in March and a community working group, led by the Nature Parks, prepared a submission to declare Phillip Islanda National Surfing Reserve.
This year’s World Environment Award winners will be announced on Friday 7 June. The gala event will be hosted by Rob Gell, environmental entrepreneur and Chairman of UNESCO Western Port Biosphere.
If you would like to become involved with Phillip Island Nature Parks’ environmental programs go to www.penguins.org.au or call 5951 2800. Please report injured native wildlife on Phillip Island on 1300 WILDLIFE (1300 094 535).
Phillip Island Nature Parks declared finalists in United Nations World Environment Day Awards