Celebrating our people

Every year we recognise individuals who have given an outstanding or meritorious contribution, service or assistance to advancing our mission and vision through our Staff, Landholder and Volunteer Awards.

Our 2017 award winners were:

Cumberland Dodds Award: Dr Elisa Raulings, Victoria

Elisa joined the Victorian team in Greening Australia five years ago and has been steadily building the Victorian science capacity since then. She has developed restoration models for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and rigorously builds in climate change allowances to increase the resilience of our landscapes in uncertain futures. Always able to switch between the fine detail of a challenge and strategic long-term ecosystem imperatives Elisa is undoubtedly a leading scientist in her field. She is also very much a ‘people person’ being well-connected, and well-liked across Victoria and other states. While balancing the needs of her young family, Elisa will always find the time to assist her peers and colleagues.

New Leader Award: Damon Telfer, Qld
With an applied science background and over fourteen years working within private NRM and the State Government sector, Damon’s broad experience and achievements include working across aquatic ecosystem management, riverine, estuarine and coastal assessment projects as well as water quality and native vegetation assessment and management projects across northern NSW and Queensland.

Bringing a proven reputation as a highly capable and respected practitioner with a broad base of practical and analytical, project management and communication skills, Damon Telfer is designing and leading the GA Rivers and Gully Restoration programs under our Reef Aid campaign.

People and Culture Award: Lauren Shaw, NT
Lauren always has a positive and can-do attitude. She leads her team exceptionally and finds ways to create an encouraging workplace where the staff feel part of a team and know they can reach out to Lauren at any time and she will listen and assist in any way she can. Lauren has an admirable work ethic and believes passionately in the work that Greening Australia does. She is always prepared to go above and beyond to see that the work is done to the best of her and her team’s ability.

Life Member: Cameron Schuster, WA

Cameron has served in a number of capacities at Greening Australia during our 35-year history. This includes as Greening Australia WA board member, chair of Nindethana Seed Company, member of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committe and executive chair, Enterprise Division.

In each of these roles he has displayed commitment, competence and a genuine willingness to move the organisation forward into one of our strongest ever positions.

Cameron played an integral role in strengthening relationships with stakeholders, all the while championing for further organisation-wide reform for a united Greening Australia following the transition from autonomous state based entities to a truly national and independent organisation in 2015.

Volunteer Awards

Biruta Vilkins, ACT

Biruta is a quiet achiever who likes to blend into the background but has been a part of the volunteer family for many years. Biruta attends regularly and will always contribute when we have special events such as morning teas or show and tell. She likes to help the new volunteers understand what the task is and is happy to be called upon to come in on “non volunteer” days to help out. She is a great asset to the volunteer family here at Greening Australia.

Steve Elson, Qld

Steve Elson has made a significant contribution to Greening Australia projects in recent years, working tirelessly to support our conservation work in the region. In particular, Steve has provided extensive technical expertise and practical support to both our Mt Etna 20 Million Trees projects and our Turtle nest protection projects. Steve has volunteered dozens of hours and his efforts have truly made a real difference to our projects, ensuring that numerous acres of semi-evergreen vine thicket are established at Mt Etna and threatened turtle species are monitored and protected in the Fitzroy Basin. He is a jewel in the crown of our achievements.

Chris Jones Land Stewardship Award: Neale Griggs, Qld
Neale owns the Crooked Waterhole property near Giru in North Queensland. When he bought the property in 2015 it had been neglected for decades and degraded through overgrazing and weed infestations. Neale set about tirelessly clearing woody weeds, including Chinee Apple, Prickly Acacia, Parkinsonia and Rubber Vine and with his son Rodney, restore the homestead.

Greening Australia partnered with Neale to restore the aquatic habitat of Crooked Waterhole.

Through Neale’s warm and engaging personality and his larrikin sense of humour, this collaboration has developed into a genuine friendship.

The family is now enjoying a restored property and celebrating the return of barramundi and bird species that were absent prior to these interventions.