Congratulations to Australian Plants Award winners: Professor Kingsley Dixon and Glenn Leiper

By enewsletter Editor

Riitta Boevink, President of Australian Native Plants Society (Australia), announces the 2019 winners of the Australian Plants Awards. The Awards will be presented at the ANPSA conference in Albany Western Australia, 29 September to 4 October 2019.

2019 Australian Plants Awards

Every two years two medals are given in association with the ANPSA Biennial Conference, one in the professional and one in the amateur category. “Amateur” is not intended to signify less valued or amateurish. On the contrary, the recipients invariably are people who have unstintingly given their time and made significant contribution in the area of their interest and expertise.

Congratulations Professor Kingsley Dixon (Professional category)

Professor Kingsley Dixon

This year’s winner in the professional category is Professor Kingsley Dixon from Western Australia. He is a John Curtin Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering in the School of Molecular and Life Sciences, Curtin University. The title of John Curtin Distinguished Professor is Curtin University’s highest honour for academic staff. Professor Dixon has a long list of memberships and positions held in organisations, both international and local. These include being a foundation member of Cambridge Coastcare and long serving committee member.

Professor Dixon’s research has resulted in WA being recognised as an international hub in mining environmental science. His enthusiasm for working with the mining industry in WA to promote excellence through science in minesite rehabilitation is most recently demonstrated by leadership of the $5.3 million BHP Billiton sponsored Restoration seed bank initiative, Directorship of the ARC Centre for Mining Restoration and recipient of the Golden Gecko Awards for Environmental Excellence.

He has published 319 scientific works, including eight books. He has received numerous awards, including the Linnean Medal for Botany in 2013.

Professor Dixon’s achievements include participating in the team at UWA and Murdoch University in the breakthrough discovery of the chemical in smoke responsible for germination of many Australian plants. His international profile in seed science and biology is world class and demonstrates how seed can be used to optimise restoration benefits that have resulted in a broad suite of industry and research support with25 industry and 16 nationally competitive grants.

Congratulations Glenn Leiper (Amateur category)

Glenn Leiper

The winner in the amateur category is Glenn Leiper from Queensland. He has made an outstanding contribution to the study, propagation and conservation of Australian native plants, with emphasis on plants indigenous to the south east region of Queensland. Glenn began his career as a primary school teacher culminating in his appointment as the teacher in charge, then principal of the Jacobs Well Environmental Education Centre in the early 1980s. Since his retirement he has been able to focus on his passion for native plants. Together with co-authors Jan Glazenbrook, Denis Cox, and Kerry Rathie, Glenn has produced a comprehensive and user-friendly field guide to the native plants of South East Queensland, Mangroves to Mountains. The second edition, containing 200 species additional to the original, was released in 2017. As well as being a field guide, Mangroves to Mountains is a record of the native flora of the region, featuring Glenn’s spectacular photographs. Over 25,000 copies have been sold, reflecting its popularity with native plant enthusiasts.

One of Glenn’s greatest achievements is the rediscovery and passionate protection of the thought-to-be -extinct Angle-Stemmed Myrtle (Gossia gonoclada). Charles Stuart first discovered Gossia gonoclada in Mogill in the 1850s. It was thought to have gone extinct in the 1880s. Glenn Leiper and Janet Hauser rediscovered the species in December 1986, stimulating interest in searching for more populations. Glenn also discovered populations of Gossia gonoclada at an area now known as Murray ‘s Reserve. Glenn then went on to advocate for Murray’s Reserve to be purchased by Logan City Council in the 1990s. Glenn has also made significant contributions to the development of botanic gardens in Queensland. He has collected and donated over 100 rare and threatened species to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

Glenn maintains strong links with the local community through his work with Environmental Services Officers from the Logan City Council. Glenn joined SGAP QLD (Society for Growing Australian Plants, Queensland Region) – now called Native Plants Queensland – in the early 1980s. He is currently a Regional Councillor and the Conservation Officer. He joined the Logan River Branch in 2005 and has made a significant contribution, serving as secretary from 2011 to 2017. He frequently provides articles to the quarterly NPQ journal, always illustrated with numerous photographs.