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NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards

Each year, local councils award Citizen of the Year Awards.

2021 winners

On World Environment Day we celebrate the winners of the 2021 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards for their commitment to improving and protecting our environment.

Join us in congratulating the winners:

Hampers of Hope, Griffith

Open category winner

For their initiative to reduce the amount of food waste going into landfill.

Congratulate Hampers of Hope on Facebook

Coonabarabran High School D7 Support Unit Class

Young category winner

The students, living with differing disabilities, who run the high school’s recycling program.

Congratulate Coonabarabran High School D7 Support Unit Class Facebook

NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards

The Australia Day Council of NSW (ADCNSW) is proud to once again partner with Return and Earn to present the Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards. Now in the third year, the Awards recognise individuals, organisations and community groups for initiatives that care, protect and preserve the environment within local communities.

For the first time in 2021, the Awards include the Young Environmental Citizen of the Year Award in addition to the Environmental Citizen of the Year Award.

Every Australia Day, local councils within NSW are offered the opportunity to award an Environmental Citizen of the Year and a Young Environmental Citizen of the Year. Councils are then invited to nominate their local winners for the State Awards. The State winners are selected by an assessment panel and announced on World Environment Day (Saturday, 5 June 2021), receiving a certificate and a one-off donation to support their environmental initiative ($3,000 for the Environmental Citizen of the Year and $1,000 for the Young Environmental Citizen of the Year).

Community Partner - Return & Earn

The 2021 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Award is sponsored by Return and Earn, a NSW Government initiative that has seen over 5.5 billion bottles and cans returned for recycling by the NSW community through its network of over 620 return points across the state.  Established as a litter reduction scheme in December 2017, the scheme continues to achieve big wins for the environment and the community with more than $550 million in refunds back in the hands of the community, over $22 million returned to community groups and charities via donations and fees from hosting return points, and an overall 43% reduction in drink container litter. Return and Earn is pleased to support the NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Award to recognise and celebrate individuals and organisations who share our vision for a more sustainable future

Environmental Citizen of the Year - Award nominees

The Environmental Citizen of the Year (open age) nominees are recognised for work such as:

  • efforts to preserve the environment within their local community
  • the ability to foster partnerships that achieve litter reduction and recycling outcomes
  • the use of the Return and Earn scheme to help fundraise for a meaningful cause

The nominees for the 2021 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Award will be announced on May 17:

Sofia Carvajal

Sofia Carvajal has been the President of the Hurstville Community Garden Association (HCGA) for more than two years. Her passion for green spaces, sustainability and climate action have led her to play an impressive role in the garden community, as well as in the local Georges River area.

Gulargambone Lions Club

The Gulargambone Lions Club work tirelessly to reduce waste and preserve the environment for future generations to enjoy.

Hampers of Hope Project Griffith Meals on Wheels

Hampers of Hope is a local organisation based in Griffith. They rescue food from local supermarkets, farmers and businesses that would otherwise end up in landfill, preventing it from generating harmful methane gas. Hampers of Hope diligently strive to minimize food wastage and give to those who are desperately in need.

Chris Jackson

Chris Jackson has been President of Wollombi Valley Landcare Group for over six years. During that time, he has worked tirelessly to improve the environment of the Wollombi Valley.

Lachlan Valley Branch of National Parks Association

The Lachlan Valley branch of the National Parks Association has been operating for over 20 years. To promote the natural environment, this group of knowledgeable volunteers provide several walks each quarter, showcasing parks and reserves in the Central West of NSW.

Lions Club of Coleambally

Every six months, the Lions Club of Coleambally pick up rubbish from a 34km stretch of road along the Kidman Way. This roadside clean-up encourages young people to care about the environment and play an active role in their community.

Sarah-Jo Lobwein

Sarah-Jo Lobwein is marine scientist and conservation educator who is driven to reduce plastic pollution. She has experienced the pressure marine and coastal environments face firsthand, and believes education is essential for change.

Judith Love

Judy Love has been a champion for the Bonny Hills environment since 1974, when she and her husband Fred first began holidaying in the area.

Kevin Mathers

At 88-years old, you might think Kevin Mathers would be taking it easy. Instead, this tireless environmental crusader has spent decades caring for bushland and still works in his local Willoughby area to preserve the environment for residents to learn about and enjoy.   

Lia and Ryan Pereira

When it comes to rays, turtles, sharks and fish, Lia and Ryan Pereira are ready to dive right in.

Petra Richter

The Snowy Mountains region is a pristine natural wilderness and Petra Richter is doing her best to ensure it stays that way.

Tracy Sorensen

Concerned by the way global climate change could impact her Bathurst community, Tracy Sorensen was driven to seek action and put her skills as an author and journalist to good use.

George Truman

George Truman has done a lot to help Gunnedah’s local environment. He’s a Landcare volunteer, is involved with tree planting, walking track maintenance and is a member of the local community garden.

Wentworth Rotary Community Op Shop

The Wentworth Rotary Club Community Op Shop has been helping the community since 2014.

Cameron Wild

Retired wool broker, classer and self-confessed nature lover, Cameron Wild, lives on a small farm west of Molong.

Juleen Young

As a long-time Purlewaugh resident, Juleen Young is a passionate advocate of farming communities and believes that farms and agriculture should be protected at all costs. She has travelled throughout the state to study native vegetation, researched pest animal issues and fought to protect ground water on the Murray Darling Scheme.

Young Environmental Citizen of the Year - Award nominees

The Young Environmental Citizen of the Year (school-aged) nominees are recognised for work such as:

  • efforts that contribute to a sustainable future
  • innovative ways to support the environment

The nominees for the 2021 NSW Young Environmental Citizen of the Year Award will be announced on May 17:

Coonabarabran High School D7 Support Unit Class

For more than 10 years, the Coonabarabran High School D7 Support Unit Class has run the school’s recycling program. Just one of three small classes, the D7 Support Unit has students who live with disabilities and require different learning environments.

Oberon Public School

For eight years, the Oberon Public School Community Garden has been growing fruit and vegetables for the whole school to enjoy.

Zaidyn Mcalister

When eight-year-old Zaidyn Mcalister noticed his grandfather struggling to maintain the Balranald Cemetery, he decided to lend a hand.

Year 2, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School

When it comes to growing lifelong skills, the students at St Joseph’s Catholic School have it covered. The ‘Yerrusha’ garden which means legacy, is being cared for by Year 2 students and it’s absolutely thriving.

Past winners

Robert (Bob) Jolley – Wentworth Shire Council

Preserving the Environment

Small steps lead to big results. This is especially true for eco-warrior Robert Jolley. Even though he’s in his eighties, Bob has been collecting bottles and cans for recycling over many years, generously donating all the profits to local projects.

He’s helped raise over more than $25,000 for the Wentworth skate park and is currently splitting his earnings between a new day care centre and a youth centre for the drought-affected Wentworth Shire.

From the amount Bob has donated, it’s estimated he’s collected more than 294,000 bottles and cans that will no longer end up in landfill.

Gulargambone Lions Club (Coonamble Shire Council)

Sometimes heroes club together. Lions Clubs around Australia work to solve local problems and build stronger, kinder communities. The members of the Lions Club of Gulargambone realised their community was generating far too much waste and something needed to be done.

They decided to use the Return and Earn scheme to help the environment and benefit their community. Their members diligently collected thousands of recyclable cans, bottles and vehicle batteries over the course of year and took them to Return and Earn points in the area. The money collected has gone back into their community through various local projects to make Gulargambone a better place to live

The club continues to work hard on container collection so they can fund good work in their community for years to come.


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