Blog | 27th Oct, 2023

Meet our 2023 Community Environment Award Winners!

Last night, Environment Victoria recognised the achievements of six incredible community groups and individuals for their outstanding environmental contribution as part of our 2023 Community Environment Awards.

Over the past 12 months, the award recipients have led ground-breaking, impactful campaigns in their communities – from stopping native forest logging and seismic blasting in Victoria, to diversifying the climate movement, and protecting our rivers, oceans and wildlife. It was a privilege to recognise each of these outstanding contributions and the people behind them.

The 2023 Community Environment Award winners:

Campaign Impact Award — Victorian Forests Alliance (for the campaign to stop all native logging in Victoria) 

Individual award — Tracey Anton (Co-founder of Friends of Latrobe Water)

Innovation Award — Sapna – South Asian Climate Solidarity

Special Award — EVSEV (Environment Victoria South East Volunteers)

Group Award — SOPEC (Southern Ocean Protection Embassy Collective: Gunditjmara First Nations People’s Ocean defenders)

Scroll down to learn more about each of our incredible award recipients.

Campaign Impact Award — Victoria Forests Alliance (VFA)


The Victorian Forest Alliance (VFA) was established in October 2021 bringing together 39 existing and well-established grassroots forest groups actively protecting native forests across Victoria. VFA brings together decades of experience and is in a unique position to work with local communities, member orgs, ENGO’s, scientists and Traditional Owners running grassroots campaigns.

“The Victorian Forest Alliance is so grateful to be receiving the Community Environment award from Environment Victoria. It acknowledges the dedication, power, and passion of our 39 grass-roots members groups, who have worked very hard, some for over 40 years, to see the protection of native forests from logging” 

“The state government’s announcement to wind up most native forest logging by the end of this year would not have been possible without the incredible work of legal teams, citizen science, and community groups taking action to hold VicForests accountable to the law. We are forever grateful for all you have done to protect these precious forests” — LVA Campaign Manager Chris Schuringa.

Learn more:

Individual award — Tracey Anton (Co-founder of Friends of Latrobe Water)

Tracey Anton lives on a farm at Toongabbie in Latrobe Valley and is secretary for Friends of Latrobe Water (FLoW), a community advocacy group formed to protect the Latrobe River basin and connected waterways and Gippsland Lakes.
FLOW seeks to facilitate a positive post-coal mining legacy for future social and economic prosperity of the region. FLoW networks with multiple groups in broader Gippsland and across southern Victoria to lift the profile of Latrobe River taking the fight to our policy makers to improve waterway health and that of our environment.

“This award is an acknowledgement that Friends of Latrobe Water and our local networks are making a difference to call out poor planning and bad decisions by the government. I enjoy sharing knowledge as an informed community is more powerful by taking the fight up to those willing to trade the environment and human health for corporate profits.”

Learn more:

Innovation Award — Sapna - South Asian Climate Solidarity

Sapna is a climate justice collective in the South Asian diaspora in Australia. Sapna means a dream in many South Asian languages. It stands for our vision for climate solutions grounded in justice and the hope of a climate movement that includes stories from South Asia.

The world needs a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and a transition to clean renewable energy. However, this is just half the story of climate justice. The other half of the climate justice story lies beyond the singular narratives of ‘stopping coal’ and ‘starting renewables’. The other half is about creating a just future. Sapna tells the other half of the climate justice story with a focus on South Asian communities.

“South Asia is one of the world’s most climate vulnerable places. Rural, and nature-dependent-livelihood-based communities including Indigenous groups, accounting for 65% of the South Asian population, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Connecting with a large and growing South Asian diaspora, Sapna tells interconnected stories of climate vulnerability and just solutions from Australia and South Asia and advocates for global climate justice”

— Dr. Ruchira Talukdar, Co-Founder and Director Sapna South Asian Climate Solidarity.

Learn more:

Special Award — EVSEV (Environment Victoria South East Volunteers)

Environment Victoria South East Volunteers (EVSEV) formed with support from Environment Victoria in 2013 as a local climate change group in Melbourne’s south east suburbs. The group has met regularly throughout its first decade with the aim of doing one action per month. Their campaign is based on community outreach – having presence through street stalls and markets to build and maintain strong community networks, as well as building relationships with all levels of government representing all political parties.

“The Getting off Gas Campaign provided an opportunity to reconnect with our community post Covid, to discuss the more harmful sides of a fuel that had been promoted as natural, and a relatively clean burning fossil fuel by the industry”

— Group member Bruce Betts

Group Award — SOPEC (Southern Ocean Protection Embassy Collective: Gunditjmara First Nations People’s Ocean defenders)

SOPEC have been staunchly fighting to stop seismic blasting of Sea Country. Gunditjmara-led group SOPEC have been staunch in their resistance to seismic blasting of Sea Country and the destruction of whale songlines.

Gunditjmara woman calls for Warrnambool rally against proposed seismic testing

The Standard

A whale dreaming custodian says proposed seismic testing off the south-west coast could never co-exist peacefully with ancient living creation songlines.

“We will keep coming like the waves of the southern ocean that is the promise of our blood! We are saltwater and United we can keep Country protected for the future”

Learn more: