Council held a special Australia Day awards ceremony in Woombye on 24 January 2018 to help celebrate and acknowledge the outstanding achievements of individuals and groups in the region.
The 84 nominees were joined by the Mayor, Mark Jamieson, and 300 family and friends to share the special occasion where eight recipients were presented with their awards.
And the winner is Rhondda Alexander. Rhondda was awarded the environment award from a collection of deserving nominees for her contributions to our Sunshine Coast environment.
Rhondda is a respected member of the community whose volunteering efforts have contributed significantly to the environmental and social wellbeing of the Sunshine Coast region. Her outstanding contribution to conservation has also enhanced community capacity, engagement and participation in environmental issues. Her formal roles have included:
President - Friends of Currimundi Lake
Friends of Currimundi Lake (FOCL) is a voluntary not-for-profit organisation who undertake a range of environmental activities in the Currimundi area. Rhondda has been President of FOCL for many years and continues to provide solid solution-driven leadership for the group.
The FOCL bushcare group under council’s community nature conservation program hold working bees twice a month, all of which are coordinated by Rhondda. Her organisational skills and her willingness to share her knowledge of bush regeneration and plant identification has benefited all members of the group. Her willingness to also engage young people is exemplified in her organisation of working bees with Caloundra State School students. Rhondda is passionate about engaging and empowering young people to develop environmental stewardship and her activities in this space provides valuable community engagement opportunities for local youth.
Group Leader - TurtleCare, Currimundi Beach
Rhondda is one of the founding members of council’s TurtleCare program (2005) and has been a long-term group leader for Currimundi beach. She shares her time and knowledge selflessly to support other members of the program. In this role she has again proactively engaged young people by encouraging and facilitating experiential involvement in the program. For over a decade Rhondda has sought opportunities to train and update her skills in turtle biology and management, which has resulted in her being one of the coast’s most experienced volunteers in the turtle program.
Rhondda has organised a number of educational displays at community events in the region, including lights on the lake, Maleny wood expo and others. Rhondda has also effectively engaged with councillors to urge for mitigation of lighting impacts on Currimundi’s turtle nesting beaches.
Committee member - Currimundi Lake Advisory Group
Rhondda serves on the committee for the Currimundi Lake Advisory Group which comprises representatives from four community groups to address recommendations of the Currimundi lake dynamics study.
The following examples further supported her worthiness as a potential recipient of the Australia Day environmental award:
- volunteer - Currimundi (Kathleen McArthur) conservation park (QPWS)
- past secretary for Queensland Water and Landcare and the chair from 2013 to 2015
- formed the Channel Landcare Group in 1992. She continued to serve as President of the group even after and moving to the Sunshine Coast
- has coordinated and submitted numerous applications for tidy towns and won the tidiest town award in 2012 for the Caloundra and Currimundi area
- coordinator of Clean Up Australia Day for the Currimundi lake area for several years
- played major role in the hosting of two State Landcare Conferences in 2009 and 2015.
As a dedicated volunteer who has served the community and environment for more than four decades, Rhondda was undeniably a worthy recipient of this important award.