Mary Cairncross BioBlitz wins Annual Banksia Awards

Mary Cairncross BioBlitz wins Annual Banksia Awards

Mary Cairncross BioBlitz wins at longest-running sustainability awards

Standing out in a crowd of waste warriors, eco-champions, and sustainability superheros was never going to be an easy feat.

Simply standing alongside these community groups, companies and agencies as a Banksia Sustainability Award finalist was reward enough for the Mary Cairncross BioBlitz team.

Then last night (December 3) in Sydney at the 31st annual Banksia Awards, Sunshine Coast Council was called out as the winner of the Banksia Government Award for the Mary Cairncross BioBlitz project.

The Banksia Sustainability Awards are the longest-running sustainability awards globally and are recognised as the most prestigious of their kind in Australia.

Mayor Mark Jamieson and Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay applauded the efforts and innovation of those behind this interdisciplinary biodiversity conservation research and community engagement project.

“I am overjoyed with the news of this prestigious award win, not only because it celebrates biodiversity in such a unique way, but almost more importantly, because it recognises the dedication and collaboration of our BioBlitz Survey Team,” Cr McKay said.

“This diverse team, made up of scientists specialising in seven different taxonomic groups, creative artists, Jinibara Traditional Owners, council staff and a wonderful array of community and student volunteers, literally scaled new heights when it comes to biodiversity research and conservation.

“It’s remarkable to have witnessed an Australian bioblitz first, in which members of this Survey Team were hoisted 45 metres up into the rainforest’s canopy to collect data.

“And it was simply wonderful for the community at large to have been given the opportunity to participate in a myriad of ways in this initiative.

“The Mary Cairncross BioBlitz was truly a fantastic example of bringing science, arts and culture together to expand our community’s understanding of the rainforest ecosystems.”

The 2019 Banksia Sustainability Awards judges also commented on how the BioBlitz made ecological science accessible and biodiversity visible to the broader community, with a long-lasting impact.

“It was great to see that our decision to base the Banksia Awards on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is really making an impact,” Graz van Egmond, CEO of the Banksia Foundation said.

“It was inspiring to see how our finalists and winners are working with the SDGs and how this is a great example for others to emulate.

“This is encouraging and we know that acknowledging leadership and innovation is such an impetus for our finalists and winners to keep going on their amazing journey.

“They should be very proud of the impact they are having.”

The Banksia judges also shared they were impressed by the way the BioBlitz project captures the imagination and inspires others to undertake similar efforts.

For those curious about this inspiration and the scientific discoveries, be sure to come along to “BioBlitz – The Exhibition” at the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

This collection of never-before-seen perspectives will be on display from December 19, 2019 to January 12, 2020. Learn more on council’s website,

For more information about council’s Mary Cairncross BioBlitz and the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, please visit

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve (MCSR) biodiversity facts:

The reserve is a 55ha remnant rainforest on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. A subtropical lowland rainforest ecosystem, it is predominantly Complex Notophyll Vine Forest.
MCSR contains communities listed as ‘endangered’ or ‘of concern’ under the Vegetation Management Act (VMA 1999).
It is significant habitat for 141 bird species and 68 species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians, eight of which are listed as ‘near threatened’ and ‘threatened’ in the Nature Conservation Act (NCA 1992) and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC 1999).
MCSR is home to 391 flora species, including seven listed as ‘rare,’ ‘vulnerable’ and ‘near threatened’ under the NCA, EPBC and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
The reserve is critical habitat for the multitude of lifeforms that survive within its boundaries, but is also a significant bank for genetic diversity in the broader regional ecosystem.
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and its Rainforest Discovery Centre have won the following awards:

Excellence in Innovation Award, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, 2017 (Sunshine Coast Council)
Economic Development Initiatives over 15,000 Residents Award, Economic Development Australia, 2017 (Sunshine Coast Council)
Regional Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Management, State Award for Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Management, Regional Award for Tourism and Leisure Facilities up to $10 million, State Award for Tourism and Leisure Facilities up to $10 million, Master Builders Queensland, 2017 (Hutchinson Builders)
Queensland Tourism Award, Australian institute of Landscape Architects, 2017 (Guymer Bailey Architects)
Design and or Construction of a local Government/Public Works Project: Projects $2 Million to $5 Million, IPWEAQ Awards, 2018 (Sunshine Coast Council)
Harry Marks Award for Sustainable Architecture (Queensland State), Australian institute of Architects, 2018 (Guymer Bailey Architects and Norman Richards Building Design + Interiors)
Commercial Interiors, Building Designers Association of Queensland, 2019 (Norman Richards Building Design + Interiors)
Excellence in Project Innovation, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, 2019 (Sunshine Coast Council)
Banksia Government Award for the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve BioBlitz, Banksia Sustainability Awards, 2019 (Sunshine Coast Council)

Image: Sunshine Coast Council staff (left to right) Lisa Ryan, Michael Gilles and Liz Capelin celebrate the Banksia Government Award with Graz van Egmond, CEO of the Banksia Foundation.

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