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Campbell rewards 'grass roots' coastal custodians.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Ian Campbell Minister for the Environment and Heritage

C340/06 Thursday, 7 December 2006

CAMPBELL REWARDS ‘GRASS ROOTS’ COASTAL CUSTODIANS The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced the fifth annual Award for Coastal Custodians.

Senator Campbell said the award aims to foster community partnerships to encourage a culture of coastal and marine custodianship.

“I am pleased to announce the recipient of this year’s award as Dr Tim Ealey,” Senator Campbell said.

“Dr Ealey developed a method to mass-cultivate environmentally friendly seagrasses and mangroves in Westernport Bay in Victoria.

“Dr Ealey’s work is ‘grass roots’ in every sense of the term. He identified an environmental problem then persevered until he found a solution, enlisting an army of volunteers to help him along the way.

“Not only has he helped to restore these coastal ecosystems and reduce erosion, he raised awareness of the environmental issue among the community and school children in the area.

“The Australian Government is proud to support community environments to protect and enhance our precious coast.”

Senator Campbell said Dr Ealey enlisted the help of volunteers from five different community groups, who trialled a number of techniques in the Coronet Bay within Westernport.

The $5000 Australian Government award is made annually in Coastcare Week.

Senator Campbell also announced high commendations to: x Dhimmuru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation, of the Northern Territory, for its Dhimmuru Sea Country Plan; x South Australia’s Kangaroo Island School, for its comprehensive programme of marine

environmental education; x Western Australian marine scientist Brad Norman, for his method of identifying whale sharks and tracking their movements; x The Coastal Ambassadors Programme of Pittwater Council’s Coastal Environment Centre

(NSW), for bringing awareness of coastal environment issues to surf lifesavers; and x Michael Norman, of Sorrento, WA, for the clean-up and revegation of his local coastal area.

“The Australian Government also assisted Dr Ealey’s work with a Community Water Grant, which helped expand his planting programme at the Bass Valley Primary School and enabled him to build a glass house to germinate mangrove seeds,” Senator Campbell said.

Media Contact: Rob Broadfield 02 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902