Life member of the Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) Bill McKellar was recently awarded Volunteer of the Year from the Rotary Club of Kardinia for his ongoing commitment with the environmental group.
The award aims to recognise some of the many outstanding volunteers who donate their time to community organisations, charities or clubs in the Geelong and Surf Coast region.
ANGAIR President Peter Forster, says the group owes much to Bill for his dedication in promoting environmental conservation to protect and enhance the coastal area.
“The most striking attribute of Bill is his ability to make everyone feel welcome, comfortable and useful when they volunteer.
“Bill inspires many young people to develop a life-long interest in our considerable amounts of unique flora and fauna,” he said.
Mr McKellar started off growing his own plants in his backyard and was instrumental in setting up the ANGAIR propagation group 11 years ago, now working with an active group of 25 volunteer members.
The propagation group was originally established to increase the availability of indigenous plants that ANGAIR was recommending to the community, as there was a gap in the market that local nurseries were unable to fill.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale said the ANGAIR propagation group provided a valuable knowledge resource, indigenous plant stock and were an active part of the Green Army environmental education.
“The ANGAIR propagation group has been an important part of environmental training for the Green Army groups as well as GORCC staff to help understand the environmental factors and their impacts on our indigenous plants,” she said.
The propagation group grows between 8,000 and 12,000 plants annually, focusing on the more difficult to grow species with all profits re-invested back into the protection of the coastal environment.
“The process is very rewarding and through the propagation you learn a lot about the various behaviours of our local flora,” Mr McKellar said.
“This award is a great honour, although to me it seems silly to receive an award for something I enjoy doing in my spare time,’ he said.
Mr McKellar was also awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2009 for his outstanding service to medicine and the Community of Barwon.
The ANGAIR propagation group meets every Thursday from 9am-12pm at the temporary site of 415 Nortons Rd, Bellbrae with new volunteers welcome. For more information visit www.angair.org.au