The 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours list included two names with a close relationship to the State Herbarium of South Australia: Bev Overton and Peter Copley. Bev received the award of Member of the Order of Australia, and Peter received the award of Public Service Medal.
Back in February 2016, the State Herbarium did a blog article on Kangaroo Island couple Bev and Dean Overton. The story congratulated them for being recognised as Kangaroo Island high achievers for their outstanding efforts in conserving and raising awareness of KI’s natural environment at the Local Achievers Natural Resource Management Board Awards ceremony held on Australia Day that year.
Last year the Herbarium was approached by Kangaroo Island environmental consultant and botanist Michelle Haby to help support a nomination for Bev Overton to receive recognition in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours. The final nomination was put together and submitted by Michelle and Bev’s husband Dean. Sadly Dean died unexpectedly before the news of Bev’s successful nomination was known.
Peter’s medal recognises his contribution and commitment of more than 40 years to help conserve threatened species and ecological communities in South Australia, as well as his role in biodiversity research and policy development. Peter reviewed the daisy genus Ixodia for his Honours at the University of Adelaide and has contributed 3601 collections to the State Herbarium over the years. His interest in botany was no doubt inspired by his father Bruce Copley, a Yorke Peninsula farmer who pursued an interest in his local native flora by collecting and submitting many specimens to the Herbarium.
Manager Peter Canty and Senior Botanist Peter Lang have worked closely together with Peter over many of those years, especially when they were part of the Biological Survey of South Australia program. Peter Copley lead the over decade-long biological survey of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. The knowledge captured by that survey was greatly enhanced by working with Aboriginal Traditional Owners and Peter’s ability to establish close working relationships with the elders and their communities was pivotal in this particular survey’s success, and being recognised with a SA Great Award in 2003 in the Environment Category for an ‘Outstanding Contribution to South Australia’.
Read more of Peter’s impressive nomination.
The Herbarium was very pleased to be involved in their nominations and wishes to congratulate them on their well-deserved recognition.
Written by State Herbarium Manager Peter Canty.