EIANZ Merit Award nominations open

Published 10 August 2017

EIANZ would not exist without the ongoing commitment, dedication, passion and expertise of our members. The EIANZ Merit Awards are one way that we recognise and reward EIANZ members and certified environmental practitioners for their dedication and service to the Institute and the environment profession.

Nominations for the 2017 EIANZ Merit Awards are now open. Awards will be presented at the Gala Dinner being held on 30 October as part of EIANZ's Annual Conference in Wellington.

EIANZ Merit Awards are named after Honorary Life Members of the Institute: Simon Molesworth, Mary Lou Morris, Tor Hundloe and Eric Anderson. Nominations are open for the following awards:

  • Simon Molesworth Award  | This is the highest award bestowed by the Institute recognising outstanding service to the Institute at an institute level.
  • Mary Lou Morris Award | This award recognises a member of the Institute who has provided outstanding service to the Institute at a Divisional or Chapter level.
  • Tor Hundloe Award | This award recognises outstanding contributions to the environment profession by a young professional (under 30 years old).
  • The Environmental Practitioner of the Year Award | This award recognises outstanding contributions to environmental practice by certified environmental practitioners and is presented by the Certified Environmental Practitioner Scheme.

Nominations close Friday 8 September 2017.

Find out more about the awards or submit a nomination here →

Hear from two of the 2016 Merit Award recipients

Jon Womersley FEIANZ CEnvP, 2016 winner of the Institute's highest honour, the Simon Molesworth Award, and Fiona Gainsford FEIANZ CEnvP, last year's winner of the Mary Lou Morris Award, share a bit about their involvement in the Institute and what being recognised for their contribution meant to them.

Jon Womersley FEIANZ CEnvP AFAIM, PRI, NMAS Accredited | Principal, Womersley Environmental Management

Jon was the recepient of the 2016 Simon Molesworth Award for outstanding service to the Institute at an institute level. This is the highest award bestowed by EIANZ. Jon is a founding member, joining in 1987. He was made a Fellow in 2011 and became a CEnvP in 2014. Jon has served at both the Institute and Division level. He was Vice President of SEQ Division (2009-2012) and then its President (2012-2013). He was EIANZ President from 2013-2015 and is currently Chair of the Qualifications Accreditation Scheme. Some of Jon's achievements include reviewing the EIANZ Code of Ethic and Professional Conduct (2014) and reviewing the Institute's By-Laws (2015-16).

You’ve been a member for 30 years, and have been actively involved in EIANZ activities for a large part of that time. What motivates you to contribute your time and expertise to EIANZ?

I was an early supporter of the move to establish the Institute, when I was working as an environmental practitioner in the South Australian Government. I could see then, as I do now, that good practice environmental management would benefit measurably from environmental practitioners being members of, and represented by, a professional body.

There are common foundations for any profession, and the environment profession, though still emerging, is no different. Membership of the environment profession draws together people with skills and expertise in environmental science and environmental management. The profession provides its members with opportunities to network with each other, and hone the special knowledge that characterises the environment profession. The profession takes an interest in the education of those who are entering the profession, and the Institute is doing this through its Qualifications Accreditation Scheme. The profession ensures that those who practice are appropriately qualified and experienced, and the Institute is doing this through its Certified Environmental Practitioner Scheme. And perhaps most importantly, the profession holds its members accountable to a code of ethics that frame good practice environmental management.

An ever increasing global population and limited global resources bring with them significant future challenges for life on the planet we occupy. To borrow some words from the first President of the Institute, Professor Tor Hundloe, environmental practitioners are ‘doctors for the planet’. As environmental practitioners we use our special knowledge and experience to diagnose, treat, manage and heal the activities that cause harm to the ecosystems on which life depends.

Giving time and expertise to the Institute is, for me, about helping build the future of the environment profession, and a future for my grandchildren.

When you reflect on your involvement with EIANZ, what are you most proud of?

I have been most proud of the opportunities that the Institute has given me to champion the development of the environment profession, by leading a diverse, skilful and experienced group of environmental practitioners across Australia and New Zealand. I am particularly proud of the way in which, with the support of colleagues from across the Institute, we have made significant progress in building the foundations of the profession; revising the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, strengthening the operations and influence of the Certified Environmental Practitioner Scheme, and most recently in establishing the Qualifications Accreditation Scheme.

As a founding member of EIANZ, what advice would you give to the next generation of leaders of the Institute?

Rather than give advice, it is perhaps more appropriate that I express my wishes for the future. They are simply that future leaders of the environment profession continue to champion its importance and the necessity for good practice environmental management to Australian and New Zealand society. That they do this by encouraging current and future members to have all environmental practitioners recognised as part of the environment profession through membership of the Institute. That they do so by encouraging the development of good practice environmental management policy through the Institute’s Special Interest Sections, and that the Institute’s voice be heard in the circles of governance, not as advocates for causes but as advocates for good practice environmental management and a sustainable future for the ecosystems on which life depends.

What did receiving the Simon Molesworth Award mean to you?

Many may not know that this award is named after a past President of the Institute who has a distinguished career as an environmental lawyer, with a special interest in cultural heritage and the management of arid lands in Australia. I have long admired his national and international contributions to the management of the environment. This is the highest of the annual awards bestowed on Institute members, and it comes about through an independent nomination and assessment process. That my colleagues saw fit to put my name forward is humbling. It will come then as no surprise, that I am immensely proud of being recognised by the Institute as the recipient of the Simon Molesworth Award in 2016. It is a mark of the value of the contribution that I have had the opportunity to make to the advancement of the environment profession.

Fiona Gainsford FEIANZ CEnvP | Principal, Gainsford Environmental Consulting

Fiona was the 2016 recipient of the Mary Lou Award for outstanding service to the Institute at a Divisional level. Fiona has volunteered with the New South Wales Division since 2008. In 2014 she became president of the NSW Division, a position she held for two years. She was also a member of the Advisory Council and was its inaugural chair in 2014-15. Fiona was a key member of the 2012 EIANZ Annual Conference Organsing Committee in 2012, contributing to the success of the conference. She is a passionate advocate for the CEnvP program in NSW and participated in numerous interview panels. 

You’ve been volunteering with the NSW Division since 2008, what first motivated you to get involved?

I first started volunteering when I became as a sole trader. I was keen to keep contact with the industry and found that volunteering was a good way to do this and to give back.

I’d also always admired Anita Mitchell FEIANZ, past President of the NSW Division. She’s really inspiring - very clever and a great orator.

What has kept you involved all these years? What do you enjoy about it?

I enjoy the camaraderie we have in the committee. We put on some fantastic events and get great feedback from members.

When you look back at your involvement with EIANZ, what are you most proud of?

I’ve seen continuous improvement over the years in the delivery of professional development events, and an increased response to policy input at a State level. As the Division has come up with innovative ideas, embraced technology and social media, and employed a Secretariat to help with event organisation, we’ve seen the results with sold out events and satisfied members.  

It’s been great to watch the environment profession develop and to see people engaged with their profession, as well as greater industry-wide recognition for the Institute.

I’ve also been proud to support the Certified Environmental Practitioner Program through the Division and with tailored professional development events to ensure CPD points can be obtained.

What advice would you give to members thinking about volunteering with their local division?

Don’t hold back! Everyone brings something different to the Committee. Bring your passion and unique set of skills and interests. There’s room for all practitioners to provide something that will be of interest to the profession and for personal professional development.

I’ve found that our Committee has been flexible around people’s skills and time availability.

What did receiving the Mary Lou Morris Award mean to you?

It was very special and wonderful to be recognised. It meant a lot to have the NSW Division committee members, and the people who supported my nomination at the presentation and to share it with them.   It felt like celebrating with family. I did forget to thank my supportive husband though!

I always feel for the runners up, there’s so many worthy EIANZ volunteers within the Institute!