Big Scrub Landcare President Dr. Tony Parkes has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)  for distinguished service to conservation and the environment through the restoration of subtropical rainforest in northern New South Wales.

Tony commented “I am delighted that this award recognises services to conservation. I accept this award on behalf of the many extraordinary people who are dedicated to saving from extinction, Australia’s  many endangered species and ecosystems, particularly critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest and its rich biodiversity”.

Dr. Tony Parkes co-founded Big Scrub Landcare in 1993 and has been its President since its founding. He was a Banksia Award recipient for Community Environmental Leadership in 2016 and the NSW Individual Landcarer of the Year in 2001 and 2015. He is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Big Scrub Foundation, was the co-founder and Chair (1999-2006) of Rainforest Rescue, the Chairman (1993-2011) and Vice-Chair (2012-2014) of Envite Environment. Other appointments include the Chair of the Richmond Regional Vegetation Committee and the Vice-Chair of the Richmond Catchment Management Committee.

Outstanding achievements of Big Scrub Landcare under Dr. Parkes’ leadership include:

  • Delivering 55 large scale projects at a value of $6 million for rainforest restoration on both private and public land including 10 of the 11 Big Scrub remnants on National Parks land. These projects have contributed to the ecological restoration of more than 90 lowland rainforest remnants from Grafton to the Qld border with a total area of more than 300ha and providing 7000 on-the-ground work days for bush regenerators.
  • Facilitating the planting of 2 million trees across the Big Scrub region, leading to the re-establishment of more than 500 ha of rainforest and increasing the area of rainforest by 60%.
  • Presenting 20 annual Big Scrub Rainforest Days with over 25,000 attendees and publishing books and comprehensive manuals on rainforest restoration and weed identification and control in subtropical rainforests of Eastern Australia.
  • The listing in 2011 of Lowland Rainforest of Subtropical Australia as a critically endangered ecological community under the EPBC Act. Tony led the team of volunteer scientific advisors who prepared the nomination and contributed to its assessment.
  • Working in partnership with over 60 private landholders, businesses, NSW NPWS, Councils and other government agencies.

The Order of Australia is the principal means of recognising outstanding members of the community at a national level. The honour of Officer of the Order of Australia recognises the commitment and service of people like Dr. Parkes to building a better and more positive Australia.

Listen to the ABC radio interview here.