Environmental Citizen Nomination For Sea Shelter’s Lia and Ryan Pereira

Lia, Silas and Ryan Pereira at the Port Stephens Australia Day Awards where Lia and Ryan were recognised for their efforts to make positive change to our environment. Photo: Marian Sampson.

 

LOCALS Lia and Ryan Pereira are active when it comes to supporting the local environment and it is not just the two of them – it is already a family affair.

Their not for profit Sea Shelter recently conducted a clean up of d’Albora Marina’s at Nelson Bay with teams of volunteers.

The organisation also rescues and rehabilitates turtles and other marine creatures, with the most recent release being a green sea turtle called Gabbi that was released back into the waters of Fly Point this month after 6 months of care at Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters home of Sea Shelter at Anna Bay.

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Now the duo have been nominated as community champions by the public of Port Stephens in the annual Australia Day 2021 – Environmental Citizen of the Year NSW Awards.

The awards aim to recognise outstanding achievement during the past year and/or contribution to the local community over a number of years.

The state-wide winners of the NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year and Young Environmental Citizen of the Year Award will receive one-off donations of $3,000 and $1,000 respectively, to put towards their community initiative.

In 2017 the duo co-founded Sea Shelter, a not-for-profit marine conservation organisation that’s dedicated to the research and rehabilitation of local marine life around Port Stephens.

Sea Shelter runs entirely on volunteers who devote their time to marine clean-up activities and deliver education programs.

They also conduct research into many Elasmobranch species including sharks, to ensure they’re protected from extinction.

Andrew Parker, Chair, Australia Day Council of NSW said, “The Australia Day Council of NSW (ADCNSW) is proud to once again partner with Return and Earn to present the inspirational Environmental Citizen of the Year Awards.

“This important initiative, in its third year, recognises the incredible efforts being made by NSW citizens – young and old – who are creating a more sustainable environment that benefits all of us.

“While many regions across the state have experienced hardships over the past year due to the pandemic and natural disasters, there are countless inspiring community members making a positive impact in their local regions – from recycling and regeneration to protecting our flora, fauna and oceans.”

The 2021 NSW Environmental Citizen of the Year Award is sponsored by Return and Earn, a NSW Government initiative that has seen over 5.5 billion bottles and cans returned for recycling by the NSW community through its network of over 620 return points across the state.

Over $22 million has been returned to community groups and charities via donations and fees from hosting return points, and an overall 43% reduction in drink container litter.

Lia Pereira told News Of The Area, “It is wonderful to be nominated and this came after our environmental award from Port Stephens Council On Australia Day.

“If we win the award we will buy an extra state of the art rehabilitation tank to assist with our rescue and rehabilitation work,” she said.

“It is actually fitting that we find out this weekend, (which is) World Environment Day, as we are actually holding a Beach Clean up in celebration of it and World Oceans Day, it would be great if you could help us get the word out so we can have more helpers cleaning up Port Stephens habitat.”

Please register to participate on Irukandji or Sea Shelters facebook pages.

At the moment Sea Shelter has five turtles including two Sea Turtles in care.

Beryl, the longest resident rescue and largest turtle, is finally beginning to show signs that she will heal, however the team will have to wait around 18 months to finally set her free!

“We cannot wait, watching her recover and the joy of releasing our rescued animals back into their home in the wild is what it is all about, it’s what keeps us working these crazy hours every day for wildlife,” she said.

 

By Marian SAMPSON

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