Eden Marine High School student Harrison Warne has taken out the inaugural Future Leaders Environment Day Award, a $1000 prize awarded by the Bournda Environmental Education Centre early this month.
The Year 12 student was chosen in recognition of his wildlife photography, as well as his volunteer work with the Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness group, including the Panboola Bioblitz exhibition.
Harrison also won several categories in the Atlas of Life photography competition earlier this year, taking out the overall third prize.
“I’ve always been involved with animals and going out into the bush, but then two years I picked up a camera and started taking photos,” he said.
“People gave me good feedback, and then a couple of people sent me links to the Atlas of Life photography competition and said I should enter.
“Before I got my Canon, I was just using a point-and-shoot camera, so it was usually just reptiles that I was photographing.
“But now that I’ve got good lenses I’m also doing landscapes, birds and mammals.”
Harrison says the Future Leaders award came as a surprise, and the first he knew about it was when his parents received an email invitation to the Bournda EEC World Environment Day dinner, saying he was in the running.
He says he hopes to continue with photography and filmmaking post-school, but only as a side project, with his preferred option being to get into fieldwork and research through a degree at James Cook University in Townsville.
“They do a lot of reptile-based research out of there, and it’s tropical, so there are a lot of reptiles around,” Harrison said.
“I don’t [know anyone in Townsville], so it would be a bit scary at first, but I’d be alright.”