Awards & prizes

2015 winners of the OEH/ESA Prize for Outstanding Outreach

We had a range of absolutely amazing applications for this prize - ESA members are doing some truly exceptional outreach. We are very excited to announce our inaugural winners:


William Geary

Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning and Melbourne University

Billy is a wildlife ecologist with strong interests in predator-prey interactions, fire ecology, invasive species and innovative solutions to Australia's conservation problems. He is a passionate science communicator, writing popular science articles for a number of publications, as well as being the Science & Conservation Editor for nature communication group Wild Melbourne. He is also active on Twitter (@billy_geary) where he talks about his research and science writing.

Kristen Hardy

Southern Cross University

In 2009, Kristen Hardy encountered two Powerful Owls (Ninox strenua) in her suburban Sydney backyard. This would spark within her a passion for nature, a great interest in ecology, a grass-roots citizen science project and an eventual change in career paths.

Lizzy Lowe

Sydney University

Lizzy is a PhD student at the University of Sydney studying the effects of urbanisation on spiders. She uses outreach to introduce people to the wonderful world of arachnids and start conversations about the importance of biodiversity in cities. For more info visit her website lizzylowe.net or twitter @LizyLowe.

Floret Meredith


Floret primarily communicates science through working with primary and secondary school children. She teaches workshops that introduce high school students to new concepts and species, and regularly visits a primary school to introduce students to how ecologists conduct science. She jumps at the chance to communicate concepts and ideas to broader audiences, such as discussing the toxicity of some plants on SBS's 'The Feed'. 

Manu Saunders

Charles Sturt University

Dr Manu Saunders is an early career ecologist interested in wild pollinator communities and ecosystem services research. She started the National Wild Pollinator Count in 2014, in an effort to encourage appreciation of Australian wild pollinator insects beyond the scientific community. She writes about ecology and research at her blog, Ecology is Not a Dirty Word, and her work has been published in a number of leading media outlets, including Ensia Online, The Conversation and Wildlife Australia.

Dustin Welbourne


Dustin Welbourne is in the final year of his PhD with UNSW, where he is also employed part time as an Associate Lecturer. His current research is on the development and optimisation of non-invasive research methods for monitoring vertebrates. Dustin has also conducted research on factors that affect science communication success on YouTube, which was published in 2015. Before moving into academia, Dustin was the owner and operator of the Canberra Reptile Sanctuary, a not-for-profit public exhibit of reptiles. His science communication activities span public talks and demonstrations, articles for online and print media, and several video projects.

    Congratulations to all our amazing winners.

    The winners are currently designing a research project entitled "Where do pollinators hang out at school", which will be run by year 5-8 students in schools around Australia.