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8 December 2006 - Extra edition

Minister Rewards Grassroots Coastal Custodian

Dr Tim Ealey and Greg Hunt on the Lang Lang foreshore in Westernport Bay.

Winner Dr Tim Ealey (left) with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, on the Lang Lang foreshore in Westernport Bay. Photo: Greg Noakes.

The Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, today announced the fifth annual Award for Coastal Custodians. Senator Campbell said the award aims to foster community partnerships to encourage a culture of coastal and marine custodianship.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, congratulated Westernport volunteer Dr Tim Ealey who has won a national award in recognition of his coastal revegetation work in Victoria's Coronet Bay.

Dr Ealey, 80, was announced as the winner of the $5000 Minister's Award for Coastal Custodians, marking the start of national Coastcare Week.

"This is a great achievement for Dr Ealey, whose pioneering work was ranked at the top of 26 nominations from around Australia," Mr Hunt said.

"Dr Ealey's work typifies the characteristics recognised in the Minister's Award, identifying a problem, using initiative, garnering volunteer support and raising awareness of coastal environment issues.

"At the age of 80, Dr Ealey is achieving incredible results for his local coastal environment, fighting against erosion and planting thousands of mangrove seedlings to rejuvenate coastal and marine ecosystems.

"As someone who has been literally up to my knees in mud to support Dr Ealey, I am delighted that this quiet achiever has been named the Minister's Coastal Custodian of 2006."

Dr Ealey experimented with a range of planting techniques and despite losing much of the work in floods, has established thousands of mangrove seedlings in Coronet Bay.

"Dr Ealey developed a method to mass-cultivate environmentally friendly seagrasses and mangroves in Westernport Bay in Victoria," Sen Campbell said.

"Dr Ealey's work is 'grass roots' in every sense of the term. He identified an environmental problem then persevered until he found a solution, enlisting an army of volunteers to help him along the way.

"Not only has he helped to restore these coastal ecosystems and reduce erosion, he raised awareness of the environmental issue among the community and school children in the area.

"The Australian Government is proud to support community environments to protect and enhance our precious coast."

Senator Campbell said Dr Ealey enlisted the help of volunteers from five different community groups, who trialled a number of techniques in the Coronet Bay within Westernport.

The $5000 Australian Government award is made annually in Coastcare

Senator Campbell also announced high commendations to:

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