The woman behind an albatross conservation project was just one of the winners at this year’s National Climate Change Adaptation Conference held at the Crown Promenade in Melbourne.

Dr Rachael Alderman from Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment was crowned a Climate Adaptation Champion by Griffith University’s National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) at the biennial awards ceremony on May 9.

Dr Rachael Alderman from Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment was crowned the Individual winner.Credit: Renee Chapman Photography

The award recognised Dr Alderman’s vital work to increase shy albatross numbers using innovative methods to help counteract the in effects of climate change, including artificial nests and disease treatments.

“We still have a lot to learn about how climate change will affect the shy albatross into the future but we know enough to know that it is a problem, so this work aims to develop tried and tested techniques that can be used to give the birds more resilience to cope with climate change,” Dr Alderman said.

“What I like about this award is that it’s saying with creative thinking like this, we can have really positive outcomes especially as we face the daunting challenges around climate change, conservation and extinction.”

The awards also honoured the achievements from businesses and government groups, with Donovan Burton from Climate Planning taking out the Business category and Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council topping the Government category.

This is the sixth round of Climate Adaptation Champions that have been awarded by NCCARF since 2011.

Members of the Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, who took out the Government category. Credit: Renee Chapman Photography

The National Climate Adaptation Conferences are the major Australian forums focused exclusively on climate vulnerability, impacts and adaptation and attract up to 400 practitioners and researchers from around Australian to share experiences and showcase activities, strategies and research.

Griffith University’s NCCARF Director Professor Jean Palutikof says the award winners have shown their commitment to pursue initiatives and take real action towards climate change adaptation.

“NCCARF’s Climate Adaptation Champions show we can do something about climate change. Our Champions take local action to address local changes, and together their actions sum to something important that makes a difference to Australia’s vulnerability to climate change,” Professor Palutikof said.

Climate Adaptation Champions for 2017-2018 are:

Business category
Donovan Burton, Climate Planning: Climate planning has been in operation for over a decade and has undertaken over 150 climate change adaptation projects with a broad array of sectors. Informed City is Climate Planning’s lead product designed to shape policies and influence change at a rapid rate. The tool is designed to assist governments to manage the direct, indirect and transitional risks and opportunities that climate change presents.

Government category
Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council: The Wujal Wujal valley-wide Emergency Management Network and Community Forum provides those working and living within the Community a means of telecommunications which is wind and rain resistant, robust and with sufficient capacity to enable Council, Local Police, Health Services and volunteers to manage conditions pre and post emergency event when and if normal telecommunication systems are compromised.

Individual category
Rachael Alderman, DPIPWE Tasmania: Rachael has pioneered a new climate and conservation philosophy within her Tasmanian conservation agency, DPIPWE. Rachael has led the long-term monitoring for the endemic shy albatross on its three breeding colonies for some 15 years, which provided a unique data set for understanding the climate risk for this iconic species. She was involved in a range of analyses that showed that the species would decline in future without intervention, and then worked hard to obtain permits to undertake the first climate intervention experiments on this iconic species.