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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

6 September 2002

Queensland School a Winner in the Hands on for Habitat Awards 2002


“I am very pleased to announce that the South Johnstone Primary School in Far North Queensland, has won $2,500 for a conservation project as a runner-up in this year’s Hands on for Habitat Awards 2002 competition,” Dr Sharman Stone, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, said today in Melbourne.

The 2002 Awards were presented today by Dr Stone in a special ceremony at Melbourne Zoo. The winner of the Hands on for Habitat Awards 2002 was Tasmania’s Strahan Primary School.

The entry from South Johnstone State Primary’s Grades 2 and 3 was placed as a runner up along with the entry from Newcastle’s Holy Family Primary School ’s Year 6.

“The excellent entry from South Johnstone State Primary School showed a sophisticated understanding for such young children of the endangered Southern Cassowary and the threats to its habitat, some of which is near the School.

The annual Hands on for Habitat Awards 2002 are a partnership between the Commonwealth Government’s $2.7 billion Natural Heritage Trust and Cadbury Schweppes/Yowie to offer primary school children an opportunity to help Australia’s threatened species.

The Awards competition invites school children aged 6-12 years old to research their favourite threatened species, answer questions and draw their chosen species in its native habitat, combining fun and creativity with education and environmental awareness. The prize money may be used for a range of conservation activities, such as planting native vegetation around the school to ensure native mammals and birds have a home now and into the future.

“The $2,500 South Johnston State Primary School has won as a runner-up will be used for a project that helps to protect habitat within the school or local community. Some of the Cassowary’s habitat is located near the school and the class has said they would like to contribute to its protection by planting more native vegetation to provide food for the Cassowary.

“The School will also receive a digital camera, which staff and students can use to help record their environment education activities, along with gift packs from Cadbury Yowie.

“More than 300 species of Australia’s native animals and over 1180 species of native plants are at risk of disappearing forever if we don’t continue to work hard to save them. One of the biggest threats to our native species is loss of habitat - in many regions less than 20 per cent of the native bush remains.

“I congratulate South Johnstone State Primary School students for their outstanding effort and I encourage all Queensland Primary Schools to start thinking about ways they help save our native species” Dr Stone said.

For more information on the Hands on for Habitat Awards or for a free National Threatened Species Day information kit, call Environment Australia’s Community Information Unit on 1800 803 772 or visit the website at: www.ea.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/information/ts-day

Contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468

Commonwealth of Australia