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Student wins conservation awards

By Louise Errington

Conservation and Land Management student Sue McKinnon won two awards at the 2013 NT NRM gala dinner Conservation and Land Management student Sue McKinnon won two awards at the 2013 NT NRM gala dinner

A Charles Darwin University student who has spent the past five years advocating for Palmerston’s natural environment has been recognised at a recent awards ceremony.

The awards acknowledged volunteer work in preserving the natural environment of the Mitchell Creek Catchment area, which is a freshwater creek system situated along the eastern fringe of Palmerston.

Diploma of Conservation and Land Management student and Friends of Mitchell Creek Chair Sue McKinnon took out the NT Landcare Individual Landcarer and Inaugural Northern Territory Natural Resource Management (NRM) Individual NRM Champion awards at the 2013 NT NRM dinner.

Ms McKinnon said it was wonderful to have her efforts recognised for making the Friends of Mitchell Creek Catchment Landcare Group a successful environmental advocacy group.

“Around 4000 homes and supporting infrastructure are being built in the catchment area over a six-year period,” Ms McKinnon said.

“It was critical to start a conversation about how the development could be done in an environmentally responsible way, and how to strike a balance between the built and natural environments.

“The judges were impressed by the community engagement model I developed, which has brought about stakeholder commitment to the responsible urbanisation of Mitchell Creek.

“The model has given us strength when dealing with members of the community, government, major corporations, schools, developers and local businesses.”

Ms McKinnon said the model could be applied by other community environmental groups to challenge new urban developments in their local area.

“Aside from the catchment system’s wonderful ecological value, residents and visitors also use the area for recreational activities such as bird-watching, jogging, bike riding, swimming and picnicking,” Ms McKinnon said.

Aside from her volunteer work and studies, Ms McKinnon is also a Palmerston City Council Alderman.

The annual Landcare and NT NRM awards celebrate the efforts of local people who look after the land, soil, water, plants and animals across the NT.

For more information about Friends of Mitchell Creek, visit W: