Celebrating sustainability excellence

2023 Entries Open!

Noosa Biosphere Awards

Noosa is recognised globally for its outstanding biodiversity values and rich cultural history. Designation by UNESCO as the Noosa Biosphere Reserve, recognises the ongoing efforts of our community to maintain a balance between people and nature.

The Noosa Biosphere Awards celebrates the individuals, businesses and organisations implementing local solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development and addressing climate change. The Awards recognise people who are making a difference in our community, championing sustainability across areas of Land, Water, Wildlife, and People & Economy.

The Noosa Biosphere Awards is an initiative of the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation.

Key dates

  • Nominations & Entries Open: 25 September
  • Entries Close: midnight, Sunday 22 October
  • Finalists Announced: TBC
  • Winners Announced: Date & Venue to be announced

Know someone you think is deserving of a Noosa Biosphere Award? Nominate them today! We’ll invite them to submit an entry into the Awards.

Entering the Awards

Benefits of entering

The benefits of entering the Noosa Biosphere Awards include:

  • Meaningful recognition for your contribution to sustainability in the Noosa Biosphere Reserve by the Noosa Shire community.
  • Share the award with your team to acknowledge and recognise their efforts and contribution to your cause.
  • Winners and Finalists will receive an official logo for use in their marketing.
  • Winners and Finalists will be listed on this website.
  • Winners and Finalists will receive promotion in the lead-up to the Awards ceremony, and following announcements.
  • Celebrate with your team, peers and community at the Noosa Biosphere Awards.
  • Opportunity to network with like-minded business leaders, sponsors and  community members at the Awards event (tickets not included/guaranteed).
  • Build your brand profile through the promotion of your organisation or cause.

Aim of the Awards

Noosa is recognised globally for its outstanding biodiversity values and rich cultural history. In 2007, the Noosa Shire was awarded Biosphere Reserve status under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MaB) Programme in recognition of the ongoing efforts of our community to manage Noosa’s land, waters and wildlife sustainably – while maintaining a balance between people and nature. The Noosa Biosphere is one of only five recognised UNESCO biosphere reserves in Australia and is part of a network of more than 700 sites worldwide.

The MAB programme aims to establish a scientific basis and support for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments. Biosphere reserves are ‘living labs’. They are learning places seeking to develop and test local solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development and biodiversity health.

The Noosa Biosphere Awards aims to celebrate local projects, products and service to the community that align with the UNESCO MaB Programme objectives and aim to broadly address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our focus is on acknowledging individuals, businesses and organisations that are implementing local solutions to the global challenges of sustainable development and addressing climate change. The Awards recognise people who are making a difference in our community and are leading the way.

Award Categories

There are five Award categories for entry:

Land, Water, Wildlife, People & Economy (Individual/NFP & Corporate), and Young Eco-Leader Award.


Eligibility criteria

  1. The individual, business or organisation must be based in or operate within the Noosa Shire; with activities benefiting the Noosa Biosphere Reserve.
  2. Represent at least one of our four priority areas of Land, Water, Wildlife and People & Economy.
  3. Actions in one or more of the important Noosa Biosphere Reserve values under the UNESCO MaB Programme:
    • Safeguarding and/or restoring natural or managed ecosystems and biodiversity (flora or fauna).
    • Promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are environmentally sustainable.
    • Providing new scientific-based knowledge that can lead to enhanced best practices relating to natural assets.
    • Enhances the relationship between people and their environment including education and social/cultural engagement.
  4. Demonstrate how your project or initiative aligns with at least one UN Sustainable Development Goals

How to enter the Noosa Biosphere Awards

Entries open Monday, 25 September 2023.
Entries close midnight, Sunday 22 October 2023.

To enter the Noosa Biosphere Awards, complete the Online Entry Form by the closing date. Download the Awards Entry Word document to view the application questions and draft your response.

Nominate Someone

Anyone can nominate a business, community organisation or individual for the Noosa Biosphere Awards. We will notify the Nominee. It is up to the Nominee to determine if they are eligible and submit an Entry to the Awards.

It is easy to nominate someone. Simply complete the Online Nomination Form and tell us why you think they are deserving of an Award.

Questions & Information

For more information or if you have any questions about eligibility and how to enter, please contact us at awards@noosabiosphere.org.au or phone (07) 5474 0932.

Be part of an exciting Awards program that celebrates our Noosa Biosphere community and environment!

Judging panel

Rex Halverson

Former Chair, Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation

Originally from Southern California, where he witnessed first-hand the consequences of poorly planned development, Rex has lived and worked throughout the US, UK and Europe as well as Australia. Executive roles have included Managing Director, Commercial Director and VP – Sales & Marketing as well as serving on the Board for several consumer technology manufacturers.

Today he is the founder and principal of Truth Sells and is a voice for increased sustainability within the consumer goods industry. Passionate about the Sunshine Coast region and its unique environment, he is a past Chair of the NBRF as well as having served as Chair and President of Queensland Koala Crusaders Inc. and Koala Action Inc

Vivien Griffin

Founder & Former President, Zero Emissions Noosa

Vivien Griffin is a long-time Noosa resident who served for many years as a Noosa Councillor. As a Noosa Parks Association member and former Sunshine Coast Environment Council President, she has contributed to the team effort involved in some of the region’s important environmental campaigns.

Upon retiring from local government, she identified climate change action as her major focus, and founded Zero Emissions Noosa Inc. in 2016 alongside a team of passionate and dedicated volunteers. The goal of the organisation is “Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2026”. Vivien would like to see the Noosa community become recognised for its leadership on climate action, just as in the past it led the way in protecting the natural environment. For Vivien, the motto “Think global, act local” has never been more relevant than in these challenging times.

Judy Castledine

Former Director, Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation

Judy is a Chemical Engineer (graduated in 1974 from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with Distinction) who spent more than 30 years working to promote and implement sustainability around the world with an emphasis on developing countries in Asia.

On retirement Judy returned to Noosa. She was selected to be a volunteer member of the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation Board. After leaving the board, Judy has remained an active member of the Foundation. Judy serves on the management team for a charity Santa’s Classy Helpers who every year give support to about 300 families who need a helping hand at Christmas.

Benjamin Derrick

Environmental Services Manager, Noosa Council

Ben has had a career in environmental management and sustainable economic development in peak tourism locations. Ben is committed to finding the balance between protection of environmental values while providing access and equity for all members of the community to have the opportunity to enjoy our environmentally significant areas.

Ben also has a strong background in providing education opportunities in environmental and outdoor education through chairing The Outdoor School Board for 15 years that provided sustainable residential education for primary and secondary school students.

A previous winner of the Victorian Premiers Sustainability Awards for waste management, he is focused on finding innovative and collaborative programs to deliver improved environmental outcomes.

Ben has recently started in the role of Environmental Services Manager at Noosa Council and is looking forward to working with the community and professional groups to continue to deliver the outstanding environmental program throughout the shire.

Amelia Lorentson

Cr Amelia Lorentson

Noosa Council

Proud daughter of Italian immigrants, Amelia grew up in the suburbs of Brisbane, where she studied law before working as an Operations Manager in Sydney. Amelia holds a Bachelor of Laws from QUT and a Masters in Industrial Relations and Labour Law from University of Sydney. She moved to Noosa 20 years ago where she devoted herself to her family and to the Noosa community. Noosa’s beaches and national parks, are where she feels most connected to water and land, and to her community.

Amelia entered politics to effect positive change. Her mottos are: “I am no longer accepting things that I cannot change. I am changing the things that I cannot accept.” and “Tough on Issues, soft on people.”

Karen Finzel

Cr Karen Finzel

Noosa Council

Councillor Karen Finzel views her municipal role as being a conduit between community and council. As a long term resident with a history of investing in her community, Cr Finzel has a particular interest in two UNESCO Man and the Biosphere aims:

• combining the natural and social sciences with a view to improving human livelihoods and safeguarding the natural and managed ecosystems.

• promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.

As a chairperson for the Regional Arts Development Fund Committee and the Noosa Shire Heritage Reference Group, Karen extends her passion for history and the arts with committed support for the Noosa Museum and Noosa Regional Gallery.

Following her participation – as one of ten women chosen nationally – in an intensive leadership training program hosted by National Rural Women’s Coalition Canberra, Karen has set up the Women’s Collaborative Network. This project is directed at fostering, supporting and promoting leadership in women as a path to underpinning economic security and building resilient communities.

Jarrah Small

Noosa Biosphere Award Winner 2022 (Young Eco Leader)

On a mission to protect Wildlife and the Environment, 14 year old Jarrah Small is an award winning Conservationist and Environmental Educator from Noosa. Growing up surrounded by nature, surfing and with a love of the Ocean, Jarrah has been keeping beaches and coastal regions free from rubbish since the age of six.

Jarrah is dedicated to educating and inspiring others to follow in her footsteps and does this through social media, public speaking, and community engagement. Jarrah has recorded and picked up over 20,000 pieces of plastic pollution and rubbish from the environment and aims to continue to grow that number.

Always there for wildlife, Jarrah’s love for conservation is further extended, where she actively rescues and assists in rescuing sick and injured native fauna. Dedicated to conservation and wildlife protection, Jarrah is always learning, attending conferences and events where she aims to continue to grow and develop her knowledge of conservation and environmental education.

Finalists and Winners

2022 Finalists

Land Category Finalists

  • Rosecliffe Boutique Farm Cottages
  • Eastwell Farms
  • Permeco Inc.

Young Eco-Leader Award Finalists
Sponsored by Tewantin-Noosa Lions Club

  • Jarrah Small
  • Spencer Hitchen

Water Category Finalists
Sponsored by UniSC

  • NICA – Waterwatch Team
  • NICA – Get Your Wetlands Project (Peter & Alex)
  • Noosa World Surfing Reserve Stewardship Council

Wildlife Category Finalists
Sponsored by Tourism Noosa

  • Meghan Halverson
  • Kanu Kapers

People & Economy Category Finalists
Sponsored by Community Bank Tewantin-Noosa

  • Plastic Free Noosa
  • Zero Emissions Noosa Inc
  • Noosa Lakes Resort
  • RACV Noosa Resort

2022 Winners

Congratulations to:

Land Category (Sponsored by NBRF)
Rosecliffe Boutique Farm Cottages

Water Category (Sponsored by UniSC)
NICA – Waterwatch Team

Wildlife Category (Sponsored by Tourism Noosa)
Meghan Halverson

People & Economy Category (Sponsored by Community Bank Tewantin-Noosa)
Plastic Free Noosa

Young Eco Leader Category (Sponsored by Tewantin-Noosa Lions Club)
Jarrah Small
Spencer Hitchen

2021 Finalists

Land Category Finalists
Sponsored by University of the Sunshine Coast

  • PermEco Inc.
  • Dangerbridge Nature Reserve
  • Noosa & District Landcare – Keeping it in Kin Kin project

Water Category Finalists
Sponsored by Tourism Noosa

  • Land & Sea Brewery (Can for a Cause)
  • Noosa Integrated Catchment Association
  • Noosa World Surfing Reserve.

Wildlife Category Finalists
Sponsored by International Fund for Animal Welfare

  • Meghan Halverson
  • Rachel Lyons
  • Dr Romane Cristescu

People & Economy Category Finalists
Sponsored by Noosa Council Economic Development

  • EarthTech
  • Noosa Environmental Education Hub
  • Plastic Free Noosa

2021 Winners

Land Category Winner
Noosa & District Landcare (Keeping it in Kin Kin project)

Water Category Winner
Noosa Integrated Catchment Association

Wildlife Category Winner
Rachel Lyons

People & Economy Winner
Noosa Environmental Education Hub