Margaret Baker – Environmental Citizen of the Year, Blue Mountains Council

By enewsletter Editor

Congratulations to Margaret Baker who was awarded Environmental Citizen of the Year at Blue Mountains Council’s Australia Day Awards in January 2020.

The following text is from the Blue Mountains Council Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony 2020 booklet.

Margaret Baker has been a tireless, committed and passionate advocate for protecting the Blue Mountains environment for over four decades.

Blue Mountains, image Heather Miles

Giving her time as both a professional and a volunteer, Margaret has shown outstanding commitment to and excellence in education, life-long learning and the promotion of the natural environment.

She has voluntarily undertaken both formal training and self-motivated study to increase her knowledge of geology, fluvial geomorphology, soils, indigenous and non-indigenous history, weather, climate and botany, all with the intent of educating and inspiring others to appreciate and protect the environment of the Blue Mountains.

Margaret has contributed to the environmental education of people in the Blue Mountains, authoring numerous submission regarding planning and development proposals and initiating and developing the highly regarded ‘Native Plant Identification’ course for TAFE to provide formal training in the botany of the Sydney and Blue Mountains flora, which at the time was the only such course available in NSW.

She has used her expertise to provide depth, understanding and balance between the many competing forces in the community, and co-authored and published books on the native flora and fauna of the Sydney Region and Blue Mountains, providing access to high quality reference books and field guides for locals and visitors.

She has also devoted her time to voluntarily survey and document ecological communities and developed a scientifically rigorous system that allows for the collection and submission of important data for the BioNet biodiversity repository, used by organisations such as the Office of Environment and Heritage. Margaret formed and leads the BMBR Ecological Surveys citizen science group and regularly assists local Bushcare groups on a voluntary basis with native plant and weed identification.

She works cooperatively and shares knowledge with stakeholders including Blue Mountains City Council, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and TAFE, and works closely with professionals at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney providing specimens.