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WA Fairy Tern Network recognised at state government awards

The WA Fairy Tern Network – formed by the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) in 2016 – has been recognised at the 2022 Western Australian Coastal Awards for Excellence in the Science and Research category.

The annual awards - presented as part of the WA Planning Commission's Coastal Zone Management Program- celebrate the efforts of individuals, community groups, schools, local and State government authorities and non-government organisations working towards sustainable planning and management of WA’s coast.

Awards were presented across six categories, including the Science and Research category, awarded for ‘innovation applied to science or research which assists to protect, conserve and enhance the Western Australian coast.’

The award was presented to CCWA Citizen Science Manager, Dr Claire Greenwell, on behalf of Hon Rita Saffioti MLA, Minister for Transport, Planning and Ports.

The Australian fairy tern is a small, coastal seabird, found between the Dampier and Recherche Archipelagos. They measure little more than 25CM from their bill to tail-tip, and often feature a dark black head cap and bright orange bill and legs.

The birds’ nest is little more than a scrape in the sand, just above the high-water mark on the shallow shorefronts of coastal WA. This isolated nesting position makes the terns particularly vulnerable to disturbance from predators and human activity.

The WA Fairy Tern Network supports and promotes solutions to protect the threatened Australian fairy tern across their breeding range in WA’s south west. The network has more than 500 members actively involved in observing the movement, distribution and breeding behaviour of the birds helps to raise public awareness of – and support for - conservation efforts.

Dr Greenwell said that the award was acknowledgement of the dedication of the networks’ partners and volunteers in helping to protect the Australian fairy tern.

“WA’s south west is a hugely important site for the conservation of fairy terns.

“We estimate that there are fewer than 3,000 breeding pairs of Australian fairy terns left in WA and the areas they inhabit require constant monitoring and management to ensure that breeding and feeding sites remain viable for years to come.

“This award is thoroughly deserved for the hard work of all those associated with the fairy tern network and the tireless efforts to help the conservation of this iconic species here in WA.”

For more information about the WA Fairy Tern Network and the conservation of Australian fairy terns in WA, visit


MEDIA INFORMATION: The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) is the state’s foremost non-profit, non-government conservation organisation representing more than 100 environmental organisations across Western Australia. 

For more information, visit:

CONTACT: For any enquiries relating to this release, please contact Robert Davies

08 9420 7291 / 0412 272 570 or by email, [email protected]

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