Seagrass restoration pioneer Geoff Bastyan was named the twelfth winner of the prestigious GSDC Medal at a gala dinner in Albany on Friday 27 May 2016.
The GSDC Medal is a prestigious biennial award that celebrates innovation and leadership in the management of natural resources.
Mr Bastyan started self-funded monitoring of seagrasses in Albany’s harbours in the 1980s, and initiated seagrass restoration efforts in spite of the prevailing opinion that degraded seagrass areas could not be restored. His work demonstrated that seagrass restoration was possible and it led to substantial improvements in the environmental health of Oyster Harbour and Princess Royal Harbour. His knowledge, passion and ability to involve the local community has underpinned this success.
Mr Bastyan's work has received international recognition, with marine expert Professor Carlos Duarte, former head of UWA's Oceans Institute, saying that, to his knowledge, Mr Bastyan was the first person in the world to successfully transplant seagrass.
With the award of the GSDC Medal, Mr Bastyan received a sterling silver medal and a $12,000 grant to further his work. The community will have the opportunity to learn more about Mr Bastyan’s work at the GSDC Medal Field Day to be held in October 2017.
The other three finalists, environmental planner Chris Gunby, Woodanilling farmer John Pickford, and Katanning land carers Adrian and Jill Richardson, each received a $2,000 grant to further their activities in managing the region’s natural resources.
The award is open to people working in the sector who go above and beyond, and to those who volunteer their time and resources. People working in the Great Southern region or across regional boundaries are eligible.
The story of the GSDC Medal goes back to 2002, and winners have included scientists, community leaders, environmentalists, educators and farmers.
More community and environment projects: Community Resource Centres