This year’s joint winners of the 2019 Port Macquarie-Hastings Australia Day Awards ceremony for Environmental Citizen of the Year both have a SCAS connection. Shalise Leesfield has been a student at St Columba since starting out in Kindergarten, and this year joins our Year 7 cohort. Addam Lockley is the husband of Kindergarten teacher, Rebecca Lockley. Well done to both of these worthy winners.
Shalise Leesfield is a 12-year-old ocean conservationist from Lake Cathie, and a student at St Columba Anglican School.
A few years ago she found out that every year thousands of her favourite marine animals including seals, dolphins, whales, pelicans and sea turtles are injured due to people leaving behind their plastic pollution and discarded fishing lines. She wanted to become a voice for them and it became her mission to clean up the local beaches to help save these aquatic animals and bird life.
When you love something you want to protect it, so she set up trial fishing line collection bins in Lake Cathie and worked with council to secure an EPA litter grant to address marine litter locally – including signs, new bins, educational flyers and engagement with fishers to enforce marine litter rules. The grant application was a success, largely due to data Shalise had collected, and the project is underway.
Shalise is also one of the Youth Ambassadors for Clean Up Australia Day 2019 and a Green Innovations Award ambassador, an annual award that recognises and celebrates the sustainability innovations of young people in the region.
Addam Lockley is committed to helping the environment and educating people about environmental issues. Addam co-founded the Coastal Warriors in 2017 after participating in Clean Up Australia Day at Town Beach. The amount of litter inspired Addam to look for a local solution, to form a group to clean up monthly and not only aim to help the environment, but to also educate people on the importance of recycling, the damaging impacts of pollution and to have an enduring presence within the Mid North Coast area.
Addam’s passion for the marine environment has now led him to starting his own business called Coral Blue, designing a coral cooling pod to prevent coral bleaching and also assisting with water flow in dams and rivers to prevent stagnant water and algae issues. Addam plans to have a prototype in the water and being tested later this year.
Photo courtesy Port Macquarie News