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Tasmanian projects top Banksia Awards community vote

Tasmanian entries in this year’s Banksia Environmental Foundation awards captured the hearts and imaginations of the voting public and took out the people’s choice awards.

The Falls Festival won a magnificent trophy but the Strahan Primary School’s kingfisher habitat project was so popular it was given a special award and a prize.

The Banksias are the country’s most prestigious environment awards and were presented in Sydney last Friday night.

It was the first time the people’s choice awards were included in the presentations and the response by voters all over Australia was so overwhelming, they will become an annual event.

Maggie Malone, the foundation’s awards manager, said while the voting statistics will not be released, there was widespread support for both the Falls Festival and the Strahan project.

"Votes were not just from Tasmania," she said.

"The Falls Festival has wide appeal especially with a younger audience right across the country.

"But the Strahan school’s project with the West Coast Weed and Fire Management Strategy struck a chord with bird lovers, young people and those who made a well-considered choice."

Maggie said two students attended the awards with the strategy group’s coordinator Andrew Laird and chairman, Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Chris Arthur.

"They got up on the stage and it was wonderful," she said.

"The Banksia Foundation sponsors awarded to the school in special recognitionof the children’s contribution to the work of the group.

"Tasmania’s involvement in the Banksia awards is wonderful."

The group’s project involved students from grades 4-6 who undertook a series of projects to raise community awareness of the azure kingfisher and improve the riparian zone of Melaleuca Creek.

It won the education award in this year’s Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence. For more information about the Banksia Awards, click here .