Australia Day Award for Environmental Excellence

Congratulations to Dianne Daniels who received the 2014 Australia Day Award for Environmental Excellence from the Mareeba Shire Council.

Diane is currently treasurer of KCons, a position she has held for several years. She received the award for her outstanding contribution and dedication to the restoration and  preservation our local environment over many years as you can see in the Record of Achievement below.

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Dianne Daniels receiving her Australia Day Award photo Lorraine Harris

Record of Achievement

The work Dianne has done and continues to do is a significant contribution to the community environmentally.  Her achievements include:

* 2004 (State Award): Dianne won the Environmental Award – Keep Australia Beautiful.  This included conducting educational workshops for school children

* 2004: Won Recycling Award

* Introduced worm farm, composting, frog pond and recycling programs into her school curriculum within the past 10 years

* 2007: Initiated an environmental club at her school

* 2009:  Won Special Cassowary Award for her awareness-raising of the plight of the cassowary targeting children at schools across the region.  She achieved this by producing a narrated play in which school children took on the roles of cassowaries and other animals.  She composed songs and choreographed dance which illustrated important issues regarding the environment.

* 2009 Organised performance of children’s cassowary dance at the Tanks, Cairns, as part of the “This is Cassowary Country” conference.

* 2009: “This is Cassowary Country” art exhibition.  Dianne ran workshops at the Cairns Regional Arts Gallery at which children made collages with natural objects and materials.

* On-going:  In the Kuranda region, Dianne has collected cassowary scats over many years for research into the food being eaten by cassowaries and identifying how many of the birds are in Kuranda. The data collected have enabled the compilation of an extensive database which forms a benchmark for future studies.

*  On-going:  She has led the Kuranda Conservation team in collaboration with CSIRO to identify cassowary movements in the Kuranda region.

*  2012:  Dianne has been instrumental in having the DNA of cassowary scats analysed by Dr Mike Bunce of MurdochUniversity in WA for DNA.  The results of this analysis has provided significant insight into the genetic make-up of Kuranda’s cassowaries and has provided the basis for further research.

* On-going:  Community tree planting – along BarronRiver and also assisting and educating residents to plant out their properties with native species.

* 2008 – 2013: Demonstrating to international and interstate senior high school students (100+ students per session) about the role of native Australian vegetation for wildlife habitat, particularly in the Wet Tropics.

* 2008 – on-going:  Wildlife rescue.  In this role, Dianne is on call to rescue, care for and relocate birds (e.g. channel bill cuckoo, curlews, Torres Strait pigeons, snakes and bats), mammals and rodents (e.g. water rats, striped possums, macropods and reptiles).  This labour of love has her on call at all hours.  She receives no monetary recompense for the travel involved, vet bills or special foods.  Her family assists her with hourly feeding, cleaning and nursing.

* 2011-2013:  Dianne has taken part in international scientific conservation programs in Madagascar and the Galapagos Islands.  Her objective was to increase her knowledge of international practical conservation methods.  These have been applied, where appropriate, in the Kuranda region.

* 2013:  Created a PowerPoint presentation on cassowary identification for community information and conducted a subsequent community presentation

* Ongoing:  Dianne has become an accomplished photographer, specialising in wildlife, including insects and spiders.

* Forever:  Since its inception, Dianne has held an executive position (Treasurer) for Kuranda Conservation Community Nursery Inc and attends the nursery every week to plant seeds, pot up seedlings and deal with the many and varied duties within a 10,000 plant nursery.

* It needs to be appreciated that Dianne undertakes all the activities mentioned above in addition to her full-time role as a parent and a college teacher, which sees her influencing a significant number of Kuranda children.

Dianne Daniels is a remarkable woman with extraordinary energy and empathy for the whole of the environment that surrounds her.  She is committed to all that she does and does it well.

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