Esteemed Queensland conservationist and farmer, Stephen Burgess, won the coveted Bob Hawke Landcare Award at the 2016 National Landcare Awards in Melbourne on 22 September. Stephen Burgess was awarded $50,000 to further develop his knowledge and skills in Landcare and sustainable land management practices.
Stephen has run Wurraglen Nature Refuge in Dagun, Queensland for nearly 20 years, developing the property which combines sustainable market farming and light grazing. His love of bushwalking around the country instilled a strong commitment to caring for the land and encourages others to share these values. Stephen is a long-time member of Gympie and District Landcare and a former high school teacher, where he ran a weekly Landcare awareness project with his students. Currently a part-time project officer at the Mary River Catchment Resource Centre and coordinator of the community Waterwatch program, Stephen has previously worked in Western Australia with the Department of Agriculture, where he developed a program called “NPDecide” which was widely adopted throughout the WA Wheatbelt. The program improves the efficiency of fertiliser use, reduces leaching losses, and introduces explicit consideration of soil organic nitrogen pools into fertilizer decisions.
2016 Bob Hawke Award Finalist – Glenn Morris, New South Wales
Glenn Morris is General Manager of Figtrees Organic Farms, producers and marketers of award-winning organic beef from the properties ‘Wilton Park’ at Grafton and ‘Billabong’ at Inverell, in New South Wales. Glenn demonstrates every aspect of the Landcare ethic through his work on farm and in the community. Glenn has spent over two decades observing, studying, and thoughtfully managing the diverse ecosystems in his care, and has regenerated two degraded properties using sustainable land management practices. These properties are now prime examples of responsibly managed enterprises, generating high quality produce with improved natural resource bases. Glenn has shared his knowledge and encouraged others to adopt sustainable land management practices. He has hosted many local primary and high school groups and field days where hundreds of property owners and workers have seen firsthand the results of adopting farm practices that enhance the natural ecosystems. In Glenn’s work he feels he is representing the majority of farmers who are working diligently on their farms to improve them for future generations.
2016 Bob Hawke Award Finalist – Gwendolyn Adams, Tasmania
For over 40 years Gwendolyn has run her family farm ‘Leighlands’, a 160-hectare property in Perth, Tasmania. She took Leighlands over at a period when the farm was degraded and uneconomic. She sought advice from all available sources and successfully rebuilt the business on her property using strong environmental principles. The farm is a now a successful cattle and sheep farm. Her family uses rotational grazing to ensure their paddocks are not over-grazed; in addition, they aim to plant 1,000 trees every year. Gwendolyn is a champion in her community and thought of as a mentor and role model for women in agriculture. She is closely associated with schools and children, encouraging them to be involved practically, with hands-on participation in Landcaring, learning, and projects. She also hosts Field Days to demonstrate the environmental work that has been done on her property, which has contributed to the overall turnaround.