Staff Award: Ivars Draguns Memorial Most Enthusiastic Staff Member Award!

Published 22 Nov 2012 

Congratulations to Craig Allen, the winner of Bush Heritage's Ivars Draguns Memorial Most Enthusiastic Staff Member Award!  He was nominated by his peers 'for enthusiasm and excitement about contributing to our goals'. The selection committee took into account the judging criteria when reviewing the nominations and awarding the winner.

The Judging Criteria:

  • Consistency enthusiastic about their contribution to our organisation goals
  • Infects others with their enthusiasm
  • Beats up the boring
  • Difficulty containing high level of excitement
  • Team player

Acknowledging his incredible enthusiasm,  the nominations for Craig Allen were:

“Someone that instantly comes to mind is Craig!  Craig has brought a whole new enthusiasm about all things bush to Bush Heritage. His fascination with the weird and wonderful creatures of the Aussie bush drives him to find out more and he takes great joy in sharing what he learns with both the FunComms team, and with our lucky supporters. His inquisitive nature and genuine excitement also means he leaves no stone unturned. He quickly turns frustration with inefficient systems into fuel for ideas about how to fix them. He loves nothing more than a yarn about the bush and has plenty of stories about former roles which found him living in the forest, diving to check underwater monitoring traps and counting other various creatures in the name of helping to protect them. Craig always has a smile, a contribution to anything the team is working on and is forever optimistic. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm with the team, Craig!”

“I would like to nominate Craig Allen as my pick for most enthusiastic staff member. Here are my reasons:- Leaving aside for a minute the extremely conscientious way he goes about his job, Craig is a team member who never stops enthusing about conservation issues. Sometimes it astounds me that BHA is lucky enough to have someone working in our communications team who also has such a depth of knowledge about and passion for the environment.  He is somehow able to talk to someone with as little environmental knowledge as me, make complicated scientific concepts sounds understandable, and - most of all – really fun and interesting. And that’s just whilst in his downtime when he’s taking a short break from his real job, which he also does exceptionally well!  Added to this, he has brought to BHA our one and only living ecosystem, which he has tended to and nurtured to remind us that what we are doing affects the outside world. His fish tank is a microcosm of what we are trying to achieve.  Finally, Craig is an ever-positive presence in the office. I don’t remember him coming in to work in a bad mood, and I can only remember him putting forward positive suggestions for improvement. Added to this, he has twice offered assistance on-reserve as a volunteer.”

“While I think of it, I’d like to nominate Craig Allen to win the Ivars Draguns Memorial Most Enthusiastic Staff Member Award 2012. In the short time that I’ve been with BHA, he has shown such enthusiasm and passion for all things environmental. He’s always got new ideas and is thinking outside the box for ways to improve our service to, and relationship, with supporters.  An example of his commitment and enthusiasm is this story he related to us in the FunComms team:  "On a side note, Soundri and I (Craig) were chatting about the Vodafone app challenge on the tram.  After 15 minutes a guy who had been sitting next to us excitedly joined in with his ideas on what we could/should do. Turns out that he’s a Price-Waterhouse-Cooper executive (he gave me his card). … will send him an email thanking him for his encouragement and asking him is he thinks Price-Waterhouse-Cooper staff might favourably consider workplace giving arrangements with Bush Heritage."  I think that pretty much says it all. The fish tank is a bit of a winner too.”

The Awards Runner Up’s deserve recognition for their incredible enthusiasm:

Matt McLean

“I nominate Mat MacLean.  He is consistently enthusiastic about the Land Management program, always providing people around him with positive feedback.  His enthusiasm has affected the once difficult to manage Reedy Creek community to now be more positive and aware of Bush Heritages goals and values.  Not only did he achieve great things on the Qld coast when he started, but he also put his hand-up to assist Chris & Alison Wilson on Carnarvon Station when things were at their worst last year!  He even let the Desert Rats (Mark & Nella) crash at his house in Agnes, just so they could carry-on the great efforts at Reedy in his absence.  Mat, Jo and the kids brought their enthusiasm to the bush and helped beat the living daylights outta the boring on that reserve by him consistently falling asleep early at all celebrations and allowing all the grommets to draw all sorts of things, all over his face!!  How cool is that (and I have the photo's to prove it)!!!  In fact, I would go so far as to say that Matty finds it sooo difficult to contain his high levels of excitement, that he topples over and falls asleep early, just so he can preserve his energy and enthusiasm for the next day of Bush Heritage work!!!!  Without question is Matty a team player – his efforts since starting with us in Qld have proven that he can be relied on to help anyone, anywhere, anytime.  His firefighting efforts were the match of all the staff who participated, but he was always the first one up in the morning (early evening toppling has its advantages), always readying the equipment, sweeping the sheds – you name it, he instigated it.   A clear and worthy winner of the 2012 Ivars Draguns most enthusiastic staff member.”

“I was thinking that Mat McLean would be a good candidate for this year’s award. A bonza laconic staff member who always hooks in with a smile, a joke and enthusiasm. He took the challenge of moving his family out to CSR, they all thrived & loved it. Mat & his family made the year for the Wilson clan with their presence and enthusiasm for the property with the Wilson clan seeing their reserve through new eyes. Mat & Jo let the Lithgow’s stay in his digs which allowed the Lithgow’s to leave the desert and stay on with BHA for a period. He packed up his gear again and rtn to Reedy readjusting to life & work in burbs again with a smile. 10 out 10 Mattie.”

Al & Karen Dermer

“I’d like to nominate Al and Karen Dermer.  The National Gathering is just one example of Al’s consistently enthusiastic contribution to Bush Heritage’s goals, how he infects others with his enthusiasm, demonstrates his excitement and is an excellent strong team player.  The National Gathering is yet to occur as nominations close but three can be no doubt that it’ll beat up the boring.  Al - and his wife Karen - demonstrated these attributes when they volunteered to look after Craven’s Peak last year.  It’s a huge move to uproot a family from a cool, damp and safe Tasmania and move to one of the most remote places in Australia. To a hot, dry and dangerous landscape. Yet Al (and Karen) did this with enthusiasm, taking on the challenge and focusing on the opportunity and the benefit that they could deliver for the environment. I’ve taken an excerpt from Bush heritage News (below) that clearly demonstrates their team effort, supporting each other, building and maintaining a strong community around the reserve and absolutely focused on delivering Bush Heritage’s goals. There are many examples of Al’s enthusiasm (most, I’m sure, supported by Karen) and I’ll bet that every staff Bush heritage staff member would be able to quickly recall the enthusiasm in Al’s voice when he’s got an idea or when he sees that the work he’s undertaking is making a difference.  For remote staff especially, partners are a really important part of the team and so I’m nominating Al and Karen for the Ivars Draguns Memorial MOST ENTHUSIASTIC Staff Member Award 2012. From Bush Heritage News, Autumn 2012  For nearly eight long weeks, Al worked with a team of firefighters, sometimes including as many as 32 people, comprising Bush Heritage staff from eastern Queensland and South Australia, neighbours, local volunteers and members of several Queensland government departments to control the fires and stop them spreading to neighbouring land.  Supporting the fire-fighting team at ‘home base' was Karen, balancing her role as parent with countless other tasks. In the desert, she says, in situations like this you just get on and do whatever you have to do.    In any one day this meant a busy schedule of home-schooling Asha, looking after her two boys, filling the vital role of community liaison officer for the local fire-fighting efforts, and making sure that their food supplies held up for as long as needed.”

Leanne Hales

“I would like to nominate Leanne Hales.  Leanne has the most fantastic energy and has worked tirelessly at promoting the work of BH.  She inspires people with her enthusiasm and engages so many people in our work (volunteers, local community, universities etc), most of which is done in her own time.  Even when things have been difficult she can always find a smile and look on the bright side of life.  Over the years she has put together wonderful presentations to share with staff what life is like on the reserves………this has been off her own back.  If you hear her talk she can make anything sound interesting.  She has a great sense of fun and energy.  She is so passionate about what is being done but also about the potential of what could be done  This sometimes leads her to experience great disappointment when something doesn’t come off……….because she cares about the outcomes.  But she gets back up and keeps going.  The work Leanne (and Paul) did in hosting the CAFNEC bike ride was extraordinary.  50 people came away from visiting Yourka absolutely inspired by what was being done and knowing who BH was – they provided guided tours, set up the camp ground, conducted a slide presentation, had her whole family involved ……………all because she wanted people to have a great time and see that we are a professional organisation doing good.  At 10 at 10 she has always made great contributions, making them interesting and always acknowledging the work/input of others. While her time at Eurardy was a long time ago Leanne (and Paul) were the face of BH to hundreds of people landing on their door step because of an existing tourism business.  They had no direction from BH as to what to do and no extra budget to pay for Leanne’s wages to run the tourism.  Leanne took to it and developed wildflower tours, interpretive walks etc.  There are people from their days at Eurardy who still maintain contact with Leanne and Paul and make trips to visit them in Qld.    Last year Leanne was a very worthy runner up so I hope this time she can get over the line and be acknowledged for her amazing work and attitude.”

Jeroen van Veen

“I nominate Jeroen Van Veen. Jeroen gets people jumping. Jeroen engages with people appropriate to the purpose. He can whip up donor interest at an information session; he can drive volunteers into an herbicidal frenzy at Nardoo Hills or elsewhere. Over the last couple of years his success as a leader of volunteers has become apparent in the significant level of improvement in volunteer retention for activities under his supervision. Volunteers are now much more easily mobilised for weed control at Nardoo Hills than in years past. Many volunteers who ask for a volunteer place, specifically say that they can’t wait to work with Jeroen again. They are not going to volunteer just because weeds are fascinating. Weed control is a repetitive and monotonous activity. They return for another dose of Jeroen’s enthusiasm, for his (sometimes outlandish story-telling), and for his passion and drive for conservation.”

Sylvia Mak

“I’d like to put in a nomination for Sylvia to get this award.  She has one of those “behind the scenes” job that most people don’t give much thought to, yet she always gets it done with no fuss, always smiles when she’s chasing people for paperwork, and stays positive even when she’s overloaded.  She often has the horrible task of getting people to do things they don’t want to do, but she does it with a positive attitude and enthusiasm.  In my mind she’s an unsung hero and deserves some recognition.”

Clair Dougherty

“I would like to nominate Clair Doherty for this award.  I feel that Clair consistently delivers on all identified criteria of this award, and brings her own enthusiasm to the organisation that is essential.  Her enthusiasm and ability to connect the management and work plans of the reserves and the land management staff in a fun way is a credit to her.”

Maria Tolentino

“I would like to nominate Maria Tolentino.  Maria is consistently enthusiastic about her work and her relationships with her colleagues, even when she is juggling organising multiple major donor fundraising events in different cities. I always find her friendly and willing to help with any query, and she seems to always be smiling, no matter the circumstances! She’s also a member of the social committee, thereby showing her keen enthusiasm for team activities.  Although I can’t nominate more than one person, special mentions this year also go to Sumeena Keshow and Matt Appleby.”