Environmental Excellence Awards

We acknowledge and reward high school students for excellence in "sustainability" and "environmental action and awareness". Watch the video.

Starting our first awards at Maclean High School over 25 years ago, we now offer these annual awards across the North Coast of New South Wales, from Coffs Harbour to Murwillumbah.

Each participating high school is eligible to win at least one award, and a Regional Leadership Award is presented to the most outstanding student overall. We have also rewarded an outstanding university student from Southern Cross University each year for over a decade. Please contact us for more details, or if you would like to donate towards the prizes.

Regional Leadership Award 2018

Ziggy McCartin Cole, Year 10, Evans River Community School

Ziggy is our Regional Leadership Award winner this year. This award is provided to the student who excelled amongst all the other school award winners. Way to go, Ziggy! 

Ziggy is an advocate for sustainable environmental practices in her home, school and community life.  She has initiated projects with the Student Representative Council (SRC) and environment group. Projects that she has been a part of implementing include; organising special bins for bottle recycling and raise money for the SRC. Ziggy is involved in a Science initiative to clearly label all bins in the school especially the recycle bins. She is also very passionate about food scraps being used more effectively within the school. On the Peer support excursion to Morton Island, Ziggy organised the camp food and rubbish collection and at the same time raised awareness, for the younger students, about the importance of sustainability and caring for the environment. Ziggy lives and breathes this philosophy with enthusiasm and commitment and is an inspiration to both staff and students.

Runners Up 2018

LS2 Class, Murwillumbah High School

Class Members: Owen Findlay, Nimai Havey, Meghan Butler, Keshav Biswas, Kerry Clark-Arthur, Jessie Ross, Jayde Johnson, James Severs, Jack Latham, Christopher Hourn.

The LS2 class has completed a considerable amount of recycling in the school. They have established paper recycling in every classroom; used paper is shredded, the one sided paper is used to make note pads, all the cans and bottles are collected from around the school and recycled for the 10c refund program. This support unit class makes a significant reduction in the amount of rubbish that the school sends to landfill every week!

Award Winners from each High School 2018

(listed in alphabetical order of school)

Zoe Fairfull & Rose Christmas, Alstonville HS, Yr7. Zoe & Rose have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of environmental issues and raise money towards environmental programs for the school. They commenced a bottle recycling program this year! They are always there to help raise awareness of environmental issues, for example; clean up Australia Day and Earth hour. They were also both willing to get into the dirt whilst they were planting over 1000 trees this year along the school creek line.

Hayley Hill, Ballina Coast HS, Yr 10. Hayley is passionate about the environment. She participated in both Eco Studies and Marine Technology this year and demonstrated a willingness to learn in all activities. She completed work experience at Seabird Rescue where she continues to regularly volunteer.  She has shown a commitment to learning sustainable strategies and teaching others about these strategies to care for the Earth! Hayley is actively involved in environmental care.

Summer Storm, Bellingen HS, Yr 10. Summer is an enthusiastic member of the Bellingen High School Environment Council.  She has been involved in a range of programs, including river management classes during sports time where water quality is measured and monitored for Riverwatch and for the care of Bellingen River Snapping Turtles. She has been involved in clean up days, Landcare projects along local riparian zones, and Facilitator training for a Youth Leading the World Congress! She has also organised work experience with the Total Environment Centre in Sydney for 2 weeks in November.

Lucia Miles, Byron Bay HS, Yr10. Lucia is a dedicated student who is always keen to assist and contribute with enthusiasm. She is an integral part of the Positive Change for Byron High group and is a role model for other students as a custodian of the environment! Lucia has established a paper recycling team, coordinated with local businesses, collaborated with other students and educated the student body about waste issues.

Felix Egan, Coff Harbour HS, Yr 7. Felix has taken outstanding environmental action in 2018. In term 1 the school began a recycling campaign with the introduction of yellow recycling bins at the school, along with the Return and Earn Initiative coming to the region (Coffs Harbour). Felix has been a stand out recycler, each and every day he walks the school during recess and lunch with a milk crate and emu pickers picking up bottles and tetra packs and prompting his peers to recycle and add their waste to his collection. He has impressed the canteen manager with his dedication to the Return and Earn initiative which supplements our overhead canteen costs (keeping prices low and equitable for all students). Felix has also impressed out Environmental Representative Committee, principal and wider school community alike. He is a constant advocate for environmental sustainability, recycling and environment aesthetics. Along with this Felix also cares for and maintains the garden areas around the school.

Katie McGuire, Grafton HS, Yr 12. Katie has been a member of the Environmental Committee at Grafton HS for 6 years. She was the head of the Environmental committee of the Student Representative Council and assisted in the beautification of our old school by planting hedges and organising fundraising.

Ryan Adams, Maclean HS, Yr12. Ryan has a moderate cognitive challenge and is predominantly non-verbal. He is fundamental in his involvement in the Maclean High School Recycling program. Twice a week Ryan collects recycling from every staffroom and office in the school. He does this with the aid of a Learning Support Officer or his classroom teacher. He also cleans the playground with a "Pick-up and Reaching Tool". Ryan does this without fuss.  

Zoe Arias-Walker, Mullumbimby HS, Yr11. Zoe has been a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Mullumbimby High School for several years, always encouraging environmental awareness.  Zoe is an active member of a local organisation which does ongoing beach clean-ups.

Kai Prikulis, Nimbin HS, Yr10. Kai made a movie and ran a whole school assembly to promote recycling.  Kai is a big influencer and a highly motivated student.

Cameron Mustard, Richmond River HS, Yr10. Cameron completed outstanding work in Agriculture and excellent research on bees and their contribution to a sustainable future.

Jasper Williams, Toormina HS, Yr7. Jasper collects food scraps from all of the staff rooms and common areas around the school in a large bucket and takes it to the Ag plot chicken coop. He also collects the eggs laid around the Ag plot because the chickens like to lay their eggs in some cosy places as well as in the coop. Jasper cleans the eggs and records the amount collected. At times he feeds the chickens and the sheep their dry food along with any food collected around the school. Since starting this program the chickens egg laying has increased and the quality of eggs has improved.

Criteria for these awards are that students have shown demonstrable interest, leadership, passion and commitment towards environmental excellence and sustainability through actions, programs or effort either in school time and/or out-of-school hours. Prizes for the winners from each school include cash (!), publicity, and a printed award. The Regional Leadership Award includes mentoring by the Sustainable Futures team and a scholarship for The Joyality Program.

This environmental award is now acknowledged by most participating high schools as a key student award, presented alongside more traditional academic, sporting and citizenship awards. Recipients have used it effectively in resumes for employment and submissions for university and other tertiary placements.

Past Winners

2017 (details here)

Regional Leadership Winner:
Samual Gribben, Bellingen HS

Runners Up:
Ruby Reeve, Byron Bay HS

Yee Ming Goh, Maclean HS

School Winners:

Lily Christmas & Charlotte Lopes, Alstonville HS

Keshav Biswas, Murwillumbah HS

Neem Solomon, Nimbin Central School

Alyssa MacDonald, The Rivers SC, Richmond River High Campus

Elkan Novak, The Rivers SC, Richmond River High Campus

Decklyn Brown, The Rivers Secondary College, Richmond River High Campus

Rachel Holm, Toormina HS


Regional Leadership Winner
Edward Hubbard, Murwillumbah HS

School Winners:
Bella Rubbo-Fairbairn, Byron Bay HS

Benjamin Soden Maclean HS

Edward Hubbard, Murwillumbah HS

Kai Prikulis, Nimbin Central School

Damon Cook, The Rivers SC, Richmond River High Campus

Elkan Novak, The Rivers SC, Richmond River High Campus



Jake Fitzpatrick, Byron Bay HS

Morgan Koekemoer, Grafton High School

Braydon Connor, Maclean High School

Freya Hughes, Mullumbimby High School

Kaliah Fletcher, Mullumbimby High School

Jason Williams, Murwillumbah High School

Megan Lee, Nimbin Central School

Joel Mudge, Wollumbin High School



William Sykes, Ballina High School

Nickolla Clark, Byron Bay High School

Taylah Holwerda, Coffs Harbour High School

Annabel Green, Grafton High School

Tayla Letts, Lismore High School

Besse Groves, Maclean High School

Lily Bullock, Mullumbimby High School

Romany Claringbull, Mullumbimby High School

Rhiannon Hayes, Murwillumbah High School

Jessie Kenneally-Clarke, Nimbin Central School

Jesulin Duray, South Grafton High School

Jake Kennedy, Wollumbin High School



Daniel Martenet, Ballina High School

Ruby Tavener-Graham, Coffs Harbour High School

Matilda Lynch, Dorrigo High School

Bethany Bayliss, Evans River K-12 School

Melissa Picone, Grafton High School

Jakira Toniello, Lismore High School

Benjamin Pilcher, Maclean High School

Charlotte Higgins, Murwillumbah High School

Kudra Falla-Ricketts Trinity Catholic College Lismore

Luacy Vieria-Silva, Trinity Catholic College Lismore

Samuel Cook, Wollumbin High School



Jack Norris, Ballina HS

Jack Christian, Byron Bay HS

Joel Ashworth, Byron Bay HS

Tiarne Hely, Coff Harbour HS

Grace Jones, Dorrigo HS

Briony Moore, Grafton HS

Maddy Braddon, Lismore HS

Robert Baker, Maclean HS

Courtney Bailey, Mullumbimby HS

Vanamali Hermans, Murwillumbah HS

Haven English, Murwillumbah HS

James Smykowsky, Richmond River HS

Rachael Payne, South Grafton

Genevieve Payne, Trinity Catholic College

Bridget Lea, Trinity Catholic College

Zak Thomas, Wollumbin HS



Ellyssa McGinley, Ballina High School

Zeb Branton, Byron Bay High School

Juliette Kidston, Coffs Harbour High School

Teegan Ellis, Dorrigo High School

Reba Blake, Grafton High School

Maddy Braddon, Lismore High School

Kyah Hurrell, Maclean High School

Courtney Bailey, Mullumbimby High School

Monique Orell, Murwillubah High School

Hayden Cridland, Murwillumbah High School

Brianna Morris-Grant, Murwillumbah High School

Peter Macklin, South Grafton High School

Amelia Telford, Trinity Catholic College Lismore

James Lea, Trinity Catholic College Lismore

Kurtis Foulkes, Wollumbin High School



Penny Skehan, Alstonville HS

Guy Luckenby, Coffs Harbour HS

Ryan McCallum, Grafton HS

Alice Batcheldor, Maclean HS

Jessica Bohan-Jensen, Murwillumbah HS

Soraya Quaine, Murwillumbah HS

Luke Asi, Nimbin HS

Sapote Hudd, Nimbin HS

Mahalia Jackson, Nimbin HS

Liam Dudgeon, South Grafton HS

Mikayla Robinson, Toormina HS

Madilyn Brady, Toormina HS

Haynard Maynard, Wollumbin HS

Megan Vynne, Southern Cross Uni



Kel Gale, Alstonville HS

Henry Garrad, Bellingen HS

Sarah Trende, Byron Bay HS

Matt Flanders, Coffs Harbour HS

Katherine Sangster, Dorrigo HS

Tegan Morgan, Grafton HS

Gwen Palmer, Kyogle HS

Maree Dibella, Maclean HS

Chi Chi Mester, Mullumbimby HS

Jessica Bohan-Jensen, Murwillumbah HS

Jasmine Russ, Murwillumbah HS

Eileen Hodgkins, Murwillumbah HS

Soraya Quaine, Murwillumbah HS

Andrew Attwater, South Grafton HS

Alethea Cotmore, Wollumbin HS

Gwenaella Anne Seznec, Southern Cross Uni



Zoe McClure, Lismore HS

Sasha Hunt, Lismore HS

Jake Farrell, Wollumbin HS

Matthew Skelton, Toormina HS

Kaitlin Cowan, South Grafton HS

Oli Landreth, Nimbin HS

Rowan Campbell, Murwillumbah HS

Kirsty Sheridan, Mullumbimby HS

Nikki Gibson, Maclean HS

Lucy Barker, Kadina HS

Alice Lane, Grafton HS

Kymbalee Tarran, Dorrigo HS

Shiloh Mignot, Byron Bay HS

Jacob Rodney Daley, Southern Cross Uni



Keeghan Silcock, Alstonville HS

Cooper Dames, Byron Bay HS

Kymbalee Tarran, Dorrigo HS

Lucia Botta-Stanwell, Lismore HS

Karlee Gosewisch, Lismore HS

Erin McKenzie, Lismore HS

Alana Hutchison, Lismore HS

Jessica McLachlan, Maclean HS

Natasha Allen, Mullumbimby HS

Leanora Collett, Murwillumbah HS

Rennie Mitchell, Richmond River HS

Craig Evers, South Grafton HS

Ian Francis Hayes, Southern Cross Uni



Sorelle Warzecha, Ballina HS

Chester Pierson, Byron Bay HS

Adele Finch, Coffs Harbour HS

Leah Varley, Coffs Harbour HS

Brianna Parbery, Dorrigo HS

Emma Quinlivan, Grafton HS

Lara Casson, Grafton HS

Tegan Morgan, Grafton HS

Alyson Hewett, Kadina HS

Victoria Jenkins, Kingscliff HS

Brendan Bedding, Kyogle HS

Reid Shipway, Murwillumbah HS

Angus McDowall, Maclean HS

Tenielle Joyce, Mullumbimby HS

Jeremy Hill, Richmond River HS

Crystal Jongen, South Grafton HS

Andrew Carroll, Wauchope HS

Adrian Peter Woodman, Southern Cross Uni



Tim Murphy, Southern Cross Uni



Kieran Searle, Maclean HS

Tiffany Keenan, Byron Bay HS



Marika Tyas-Tunggal, Maclean HS



Sue Jeong, Maclean HS

Sasha Kerr, Maclean HS

Frankie Sergeant, Maclean HS

Michael Schilling, Maclean HS

Scott Urquart, Maclean HS



Marika Tyas-Tunggal, Maclean HS



Marika Tyas-Tunggal, Maclean HS

Isabelle Nicoll, Maclean HS

Josh Dinham, Maclean HS

Jessica O’Connell, Maclean HS

Previous winners ... lost in the mists of time!