Liz Downes: Queensland Volunteer of the Year!

Liz Downes at TYTO Wetlands

You might remember that our May Paperbark carried the news that long-time NQCC member Liz Downes had been awarded the “Heart of Volunteering Award” by Volunteering North Queensland at their annual awards in Townsville. On Friday 27 November, Liz's wonderful contributions were propelled even further into the spotlight when she was announced as the winner of Volunteering Queensland's "Volunteer of the Year"!

This is the premier award for volunteers in Queensland, and Liz (also the Vice President of Wildlife Queensland Townsville Branch) was chosen from among 147 other nominations. 

Liz’s volunteering effort on behalf of nature and wildlife conservation extends for approximately 40 years and since 2012 she has been a member of JCU Library’s Special Collections volunteer team.

In receiving her award at an online ceremony held last Friday, Liz paid tribute to Margaret Thorsborne who passed away in 2018 and who for nearly 40 years was a beloved friend and a wonderful inspiration to Liz.

Margaret Thorsborne Award

Liz also had some words of encouragement for other volunteers aspiring to follow in her footsteps. “Along the way I discovered that while it is never easy, the knowledge that you are trying to make a difference is fulfilling, just to be doing a little bit of good in the world. Along the way I also made some wonderful friends and had many beautiful experiences in amazing places, to counter the sad times, the disappointments, the losses." You can read her full speech here

Liz's activities on behalf of the environment are interesting and varied. Amongst many other things, Liz participates in the annual count of Pied Imperial Pigeons on the Brook Islands North of Hinchinbrook Island, edits the Wildlife Queensland monthly newsletter, is involved in a project monitoring Mahogany Gliders north of Townsville, and has assisted NQCC staff over many years in drafting submissions on wildlife-related issues.

Congratulations Liz! 

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  • Peter Hanley