AN enthusiastic environmentalist who has devoted countless hours to weeding, planting and caring for indigenous species on the Somers foreshore has received a well-deserved pat on the back.
South Sea Foreshore Reserve Committee president Rosemary Birney, OAM, received the Individual Achievement Award at the Australian Coastal Awards.
Ms Birney, who was nominated by Mornington Peninsula Shire, has made it her life’s work to re-establish the natural foreshore coastal banksia woodland, as well as educating and inspiring others to join in conservation programs along the foreshore.
Mornington Peninsula Shire is celebrating double success at the awards, which were held late last month as part of the Australian Coastal Conference in Geelong.
They aim to acknowledge the achievements of people and organisations which have made significant contributions to the coastal environment, settlements and sustainability.
The shire received the Community Engagement – Natural Systems Team award and the Planning and Management – Rye Township Plan award.
The mayor Cr Bryan Payne said the awards were a “reflection of our dedicated Strategy and Natural Systems departments and their many hours of hard work”.
“I’m very proud of the teams … and know they will be thrilled with this recognition of their contribution to our community.
“Protection and enhancement of the unique character of our peninsula and coastal environment is a key focus of the shire.”
The mayor said the Rye Township Plan was developed in close consultation with residents, community groups and government authorities to provide a comprehensive strategy to improve the township, streetscape and coastal environment.
He said the Natural Systems Team had worked in partnership with the Mornington Peninsula Friends Group Network for more than 20 years.
Friends groups work to protect and enhance bushland reserves through weed control, revegetation, applying for grants and undertaking citizen science projects.
“Each year we provide five biodiversity grants worth $3000 to environmental volunteer groups across the peninsula to support their projects and improve biodiversity,” Cr Payne said.
There are 61 friends groups registered in the network, of which 21 work on the peninsula’s coastal reserves.