Patron of Wildlife Queensland's Hervey Bay Branch, Joan Coutts, has been honoured with a  plaque and tree, planted in ESA Park, Point Vernon.  
Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Patron of Wildlife Queensland's Hervey Bay Branch, Joan Coutts, has been honoured with a plaque and tree, planted in ESA Park, Point Vernon. Photo: Valerie Horton / Fraser Coast Chronicle Valerie Horton

Leaving a greener legacy for future generations

BY STICKING to her guns, environmental activist Joan Coutts has left a legacy for future generations which has been cemented as a memorial in Hervey Bay's ESA Park.

Ms Coutts, 88, started fighting for Australian wildlife in the mid 1940s.

Her activism spanning seven decades involved animal liberation, the Australian Conservation Foundation, nuclear disarmament and wildlife preservation.

During her tenure of the Fraser Coast Branch of Wildlife Queensland for over 18 years, she oversaw significant projects to protect the environment.

Some of those included establishment of a turtle rookery at ESA Park, Point Vernon; survival and continuation of the bat colony at Tooan Tooan Creek, Pialba; fight to save an historic Crow's Ash at Torquay; prevention of the raising of Lenthalls' Dam; deciated supporter of the Wildlife Carers and RSPCA; recipient of Margaret Thorsborne Award.

Ms Coutts was recognised with a plaque and a Burdekin Plum tree which was planted at ESA Park.

Hervey Bay state member Ted Sorrensen planted the tree.

"I have known Joan since 1994 when I was on the council," MP Sorrensen said.

"The council used their environmental levy to by up property to secure lovely places in Hervey Bay including natural scrub in Booral.

"It's great to have a memorial - Joan has done so much over the years, fought for her beliefs, stuck to her guns and done an awful lot for the community."

John Parsons of Fraser Coast Micro Bats said Joan was a really important person for the environment.

"We worked together for years - she introduced me to the environment," Mr Parsons said.

"Go back 13, 14 years we were pulling weeds at Tooan Creek.

"Joan always encouraged people to learn, educate themselves.

"She wouldn't tell people what they were doing wrong, she would tell them why."

Ms Coutts was brought up from her new home in Lismore to attend the planting ceremony.

She said she was happy to visit the people who had helped her raise awareness for the endangered wildlife on the Fraser Coast.

"Now that I'm away from the area, it's good to know that it's in good hands," she said.

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without all of the help."

Ms Coutts said she hoped the work she had helped to achieve would encourage others to protect the environment also.


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