Atlas of Life and the NatureMapr Network have been announced winners of the national Banksia 2018 Community Award.
“The Banksia Foundation Awards are the most prestigious Sustainability Awards in Australia so we were very pleased to reach the finals and absolutely delighted when we were announced the winners of the Community Award on Thursday night,” said Libby Hepburn as she and Fiona Stewart accepted the award on behalf of the NatureMapr Network. "The NatureMapr platform is a superb tool that people find easy to use, and a delight to explore. It encourages us all to look closer at nature and to understand more of the way it works. Using NatureMapr community members can contribute the data our natural resource managers need to conserve the amazing biodiversity where we live.” "Our NatureMapr Network is the fastest developing biodiversity mapping initiative in Australia. It is a unique example of how community-led citizen-science initiatives and partnerships across government agencies can be great fun; promote learning and add real value to regional decision-making for environmental sustainability. " The network currently has three partners, The Canberra Nature Map, the Atlas of Life Coastal Wilderness and the Atlas of Life Budawang Coast and covers the South East corner of New South Wales and the ACT and is creating a valuable online database of regional species. The network has attracted over 2,000 local volunteers, including administrators, local contributors and 126 expert Moderators, who ensure the validity of each record before it is accepted. It is evident in receiving the award that the energy and creativity of the platform creator, Aaron Clausen, will continue to ensure the continual enhancement of this user-friendly recording platform. Over 1.18 million sightings of over 7,000 species have been recorded. These records contribute to the national biodiversity database the Atlas of Living Australia. “This Banksia Award is dedicated to everyone who is helping to build this rich database,” said Fiona Stewart of the Atlas of Life Budawang Coast, “ to Aaron Clausen the tireless developer, all the dedicated administrators and Moderators who ensure the system works and the identifications are valid and to all the community members, experts and amateurs alike who are building together this significant record of the natural world as it is today where we live.”
The Banksia Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Awards were a celebration and illustration of how the efforts and passion of so many individuals that have been a part of Banksia Foundation make a difference in moving our society towards a more sustainable future. In this milestone year, the Banksia Foundation has restructured the awards to align with the United Nation’s Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the NatureMapr Network is also working towards this UN agenda for a sustainable world. Other groups including the Banksia Gold Award Winner – the Lord Howe Island Board, have expressed interest in using NatureMapr, so the network looks set to continue its contribution across Australia