The Victorian Coastal Council hosted the 2011 Victorian Coastal Awards for Excellence presentation ceremony on 14 April at the Melbourne Museum.
Following a welcome to country by Wurundjeri Elder, Margaret Gardiner, The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Ryan Smith and Victorian Coastal Council Chair, Libby Mears presented this year’s winners with their awards. An impressive number of quality nominations were received this year, demonstrating a strong commitment to Victoria’s coastal environment. As always, the selection of a single winner in each category is a very difficult task and we thank all nominees for their dedication to the health and wellbeing of our coast.
Inverloch Surf Life Saving Clubhouse
The design and construction of the Inverloch Surf Life Saving clubhouse was undertaken with the needs of the environment and a wide range of community groups in mind.
Set behind the primary dune, it protects coastal viewlines and the delicate sand dune environment.
The building incorporates passive heating and cooling elements in addition to power and water saving design features.
Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Group
Over the past 16 years the Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Group have promoted the improvement of coastal and marine environments and community wellbeing.
The Group has taken the lead with a number of innovative and award winning conservation projects.
Among its many achievements, it has undertaken significant revegetation of the Warrnambool foreshore and the Merri River estuary, increased community awareness and involvement in coastal conservation work and saved a penguin population.
Reel Scientists Volunteer Angler Diary Program
The Volunteer Angler Diary program involves the collection of information about recreational fishing and fish stocks in Victoria by 296 passionate volunteer anglers.
The 'Reel Scientists' program provides an innovative, remarkably cost-effective and valuable service to the Department of Primary Industry scientists and fisheries managers.
Now in its 15th year of operation, the volunteer Angler diary program has improved our scientific understanding of fish stocks across Victoria.
Barwon Coast is committed to coastal and marine biodiversity and encourages environmental awareness through a range of practical projects and educational opportunities offered to locals and visitors.
Key messages conveyed through the education program include responsible pet ownership, the value of indigenous flora and fauna, controlled access to protect dunes systems; and threatened species issues.
In addition to greater awareness, the education program has led to improved communication, a decline in dog control breaches and an increase in students seeking work placements with Barwon Coast.
Beach-nesting Birds Conservation Project
The beach-nesting birds project actively protects Hooded Plover breeding sites on the Victorian coast, empowering community groups to take the lead and conserve this flagship species.
Last season's production of 60 fledged chicks is higher than any other season and shows the project is working.
"Hoodies" are an excellent indicator of healthy beaches where recreation is balanced with coastal needs. Birds Australia engage and advise managers to accomplish this balance.
Working Together for the Port Phillip Ramsar Site
The Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar Site is one of only 11 wetlands in Victoria listed on the Convention of Wetlands (Ramsar, 1971) because of its significance for migratory birds.
The sites proximity to the densely populated areas of Melbourne and Geelong provide many environmental challenges for the wetlands.
Since late 2008 the Steering Committee has sought and obtained significant site investment, delivered improved pest management, informed and provided opportunities for engagement of local communities; and established a framework for improved cooperation across the site.
As the long-time leader of the Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Group, Don McTaggart had a monumental influence within the Warrnambool community. A chef by trade, with a keen interest in sustainable gardening and self-sufficiency, Don proved that with a little bit of enthusiasm, anyone can make a difference to the world around them, regardless of qualifications, barriers or background.
Upon moving to Warrnambool in 2000, Don quickly set about finding opportunities to contribute to environment protection, as he had done in his previous hometown in Northern Queensland. Don focused his efforts on working to revive the Warrnambool City Landcare Group and quickly turned the ailing group into a vibrant and dynamic force.
Through group projects such as Harris on Merri Revegetation, Middle Island Penguin Monitoring and the Weed Warriors Program, Don guided the Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Group to make real and significant improvements to local biodiversity. One of his greatest achievements was contributing to the Middle Island Maremma Project, a community-Government partnership which has brought about a remarkable recovery after years of fox predation very nearly wiped the Little Penguin colony out.
Don was passionately dedicated to the cause and many people were in awe of his ability to attend so many meetings, answer every email and phone call and always turn up to community events. He always remembered names and faces and was genuinely interested in what he could do to encourage the latent environmental awareness he believed was within every person he met.
Don was adept at building and maintaining networks and sought to actively strengthen ties with the community. He worked to promote the sharing of ideas through his membership of other organisations. Don developed an impressive understanding of natural systems and environmental management and was delighted to share that knowledge with others.
Perhaps the word that most people use to describe Don McTaggart is "inspirational". Don inspired hundreds of people within the Warrnambool community, and beyond, to act for the changes they want to see in the world. His warmth, down-to-earth nature and commitment to the environment compelled all who knew him to want to contribute to a better world.
Don lost his battle with cancer in December 2010, a loss that has dealt an enormous blow to the Warrnambool community. Don leaves behind him the legacy of a community of people more
determined than ever to continue his good work. The coastal environments of Warrnambool will forever be healthier, happier and more sustainable because of his overwhelming dedication and the environmental guardians he nurtured.
Page last updated: 12/06/19