The Awards, which has been presented since 1974, enables WESSA to recognise and honour those who have made a contribution to the environmental conservation, or environmental education sector, in South Africa in a sustainable manner.

In keeping with the organisation’s ongoing aim in developing an empowered and enthused youth sector, a new Youth Category was included in the 2017 Awards, and the initial recipient was Ayanda Lipheyane from Pietermaritzburg.

The WESSA Gold Medal was awarded to Dr Graham Avery from Cape Town, while the 2017 Group Award was presented to Friends of the Liesbeek in Cape Town. Individual Awards for 2017 were awarded to Jacques Tredoux from Kimberley and Sandy Camminga (in absentia) from Richards Bay. The three winners of the 2017 WESSA Corporate Award were Ford Wildlife Foundation, Eskom, and Bridgestone South Africa.

The WESSA AGM was held in parallel with Sharing and Caring for Water 2017, which is an international water conference, which was co-hosted by WESSA and the Global Participatory Water Management Network (GPWMN) – an international water management network supported by the United Nations and UNESCO) and eThekwini Municipality.

The programme for the WESSA AGM was structured around the conference theme, and guest speakers included Emeritus Professor Rob O’Donoghue; former CEO of iSimagaliso, Andrew Zaloumis; Jean Senogles from WESSA Highway Branch and Westville Conservancy; Crispin Hemson from Friends of Pigeon Valley; and Ayanda Lipheyane from water engineering company GroundTruth.

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