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Home / Activities / Bessy Rischbieth Conservation Award

Bessie Rischbieth Awards for Outstanding Commitment to the Environment


Mary Gray - Winner of the 2014 Bessie Rischbieth Award


rischbeth awd 2014 pics 1The Bessie Rischbieth Conservation Award 2014 presented to Mary Gray in recognition of outstanding courage, integrity, perserverence and commitment over many years in working for the protection of Western Australia’s environment.

Mary is the long standing President of the Urban Bushland Council.

This award was established in honour of Bessie Rischbieth, a pioneer of the conservation movement in WA. It is awarded to an individual who has shown outstanding commitment to the Western Australian environment.

Mary Gray has been involved in the Urban Bushland Council of WA for 21 years since its inaugural meeting on 4 April 1993. She was involved as a committee member, vice president and president.

As a water and environmental scientist Mary demonstrated an outstanding interest and dedication over decades to the protecting the Western Australian Environment with a particular emphasis on the Swan Coastal Plain.

She is also a longtime active member of the Wildflower Society WA which awarded her an Honorary Life membership in 2013.

Mary is involved with the Friends of Australian Rock Art and in protecting the Helena and Aurora Ranges.


Marg Owen - Winner of the 2011 Bessie Rischbieth Award


margie award photo croppedBessie Rischbieth Conservation Award 2011 presented to Margaret Owen in recognition of outstanding courage, integrity, perserverence and commitment over many years in working for the protection of Western Australia’s environment.

Marg is the long standing Secretary of the Urban Bushland Council.

Conservation Award winners announced

October 20th 2011 (copy courtesy Conservation Council of WA).

Western Australia’s peak environmental group has recognised the state’s unsung environmental heroes at the 2011 Conservation Awards.

Presented by Conservation Council of WA patron and Guardian Australia presenter Josh Byrne, the Conservation Awards pay tribute to the people in our community who go above and beyond to preserve our wild areas and ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy the unique way of life that all West Australians hold dear.

The awards are the centrepiece event of Conservation Week, a week-long series of community-based events launched by Environment Minister Bill Marmion on Saturday night.

The major award of the evening, the prestigious Bessie Rischbieth Conservation Award, went to Wembley resident  Margaret Owen. Named after one of the founders of the conservation movement in WA, the Bessie Award, as it is affectionately known, is awarded to a person who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the Western Australian environment.

Conservation Council of WA spokesperson John McCarten said, “These awards recognise those people in our society who stand up for the voiceless and champion our native heritage

“As a conservationist in the truest sense of the word, Margaret has been a relentless advocate for the preservation of our natural spaces. Over many years she has worked tirelessly to protect our urban bushlands, standing up to successive governments, developers and multi-million dollar corporations alike.

“Most recently she has fought tooth and nail to save the Underwood Avenue Bushland, a 32 hectare area of magnificent bushland in Perth’s west that is under constant threat of development.”

Mrs Owen said, “I accept the award on behalf of the people I know who work so hard to protect our bushlands, heathlands, wetlands, forests, coastal areas and individual trees.

“The clearing of our remaining woodland, including Underwood Avenue, should be a thing of the past. I’ve often asked Minister Marmion to accompany me on a bushwalk, which I think gives all people a greater appreciation for what we have to lose. I firmly believe that halting the clearing of our remaining urban woodlands would be a wonderful legacy for the Barnett Government.”