Grassroots volunteers have been recognised for their tireless efforts to enhance the region’s environment at the inaugural Community Green Achiever Awards.
The awards program was established by the City to recognise community-led action that supports our Environment Strategy, promotes environmental sustainability and helps protect our natural environment.
Mayor Stephanie Asher said the initiative celebrated innovations addressing climate change, waste reduction, biodiversity and water conservation.
“There are so many passionate volunteers who are improving our region’s environmental sustainability via their tireless work,” spokesperson said.
“While the award winners have been primarily recognised for their local efforts, they are making substantial impacts nationally and internationally.”
The maiden award winners are:
Climate Action Award (joint):
Mik Aidt – Climate Emergency Campaign
Recognising the need for a bold call to arms, Mik Aidt established the website www.climateemergencydeclaration.org in 2016.
He aimed to create public pressure on governments to declare a climate emergency and to take serious action to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
The initiative has since been adopted across the world and more than 1840 jurisdictions in 32 countries have declared a climate emergency.
“Mik has made a massive contribution to climate change education and action, both at a regional level and across the globe,” Councillor Jim Mason, Chair of the Environment portfolio said.
Climate Action Award (joint):
Geelong Sustainability – Sustainable House Day
By showcasing local examples, Sustainable House Day educates the community on how to create homes that are cheaper to power, provide more thermal comfort and have lower carbon emissions.
In response to COVID-19 restrictions, the annual event was delivered virtually in 2020.
Through high-quality narrated house tour videos and online forums with homeowners and experts, the event was again a huge success.
“Geelong Sustainability is educating people about sustainable design and energy efficient technologies, and empowering them to reduce their carbon footprint,” Cr Mason said.
Waste Reduction Award:
Lids 4 Kids – Plastic lids from landfill
Lids 4 Kids is a small volunteer group that collects plastic bottle tops for recycling into new products.
They have already sourced, cleaned and sorted more than one million lids in 2021, which have been sent to production centres where they help make new products.
“Lids 4 Kids is keeping a significant amount of plastic from landfill, as these bottle tops are unable to be processed via the City's kerbside recycling bins,” Cr Mason said.
Andrea Dennett – Conservation of the Hooded Plover
A founding leader of the Friends of the Hooded Plover Bellarine, Andrea Dennett has coordinated and cared for the group’s volunteers for almost 14 years.
Her leadership has made a significant contribution to Birdlife Australia’s Threatened Beach-nesting Birds program, that aims to protect the threatened Hooded Plover.
Birdlife Australia data states that Hooded Plover breeding success rates have improved from two per cent to 55 per cent due to programs such as this one.
“Andrea’s positive attitude and commitment to caring for the diverse coastal environment sets a powerful and inspirational example,” Cr Mason said.
Water Conservation Award:
Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek
The Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek volunteer group undertake regular working bees to improve the health and environmental value of the creek corridor.
The group regularly removes rubbish, dumped furniture and other items from the creek at fortnightly working bees.
It also plants indigenous species, propagated from seeds sourced from the local area, to improve the health and habitat values of the area.
“The revegetation, rubbish removal and maintenance work this group undertakes helps promote action and pride in the broader community,” Cr Mason said.
“It also helps protect the much-needed habitat of the threatened Yarra Pygmy Perch.”
The City has entered the award winners in the Keep Victoria Beautiful Sustainable Cities Awards and we hope to host them at the awards presentation later in the year.
Further information on the Community Green Achiever Awards can be found at www.geelongaustralia.com.au/greenachiever/