Invasive Species Council co-founder, Tim Low receives AM for contributions to environmental conservation

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Invasive Species

The Invasive Species Council is thrilled that Tim Low, co-founder of the Invasive Species Council and esteemed author, has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his extraordinary contributions to conservation and environmental education.

Mr Low is renowned for his influential books on the importance of the environment and action on invasive species. He has even had a lizard species, Pygmaeascincus timlowli, named after him.

He is best known for his groundbreaking books Feral Future and Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World, which have been praised both nationally and internationally. Where Song Began won several prizes, including the Australian Book Industry Award prize for General Non-fiction Book of the Year in 2015 and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards People’s Choice Award for most popular book in 2015.

Feral Future, published in 1999, transformed Australians’ understanding of invasive species in Australia and was a catalyst for the formation of the Invasive Species Council.

Tim Low recently published a detailed report, GONE: Australian animals extinct since the 1960s (2023), profiling each of the 21 probable extinctions of animals in Australia since the 1960s and examining the causes of modern extinctions in Australia. The report found that invasive species have caused the vast majority (89%) of native animal extinctions since 1960.

Invasive Species Council CEO Andrew Cox said: ‘Tim’s extraordinary book Feral Future was the wake up call Australia needed. It absolutely changed the way politicians, environmental activists and ordinary Australians understood the mega threat of invasive species in our country.

‘Over the last twenty-five years, I know of no other person that has played such a crucial role in driving national interest in the invasive species issue in Australia and encouraging governments to act.

‘Tim’s seminal book Feral Future was the catalyst for the formation of the Invasive Species Council and his passion and detailed knowledge continues to drive our work to tackle one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time.’

‘I congratulate Tim Low on this well-deserved honour and look forward to his continued contributions to conservation and environmental action in Australia.’

Mr Low said he was very pleased to receive this award and said: ‘I wrote Feral Future out of a deep frustration that invasive species weren’t being taken seriously enough as a problem.

‘I am pleased that awareness of this issue is higher today. This award recognises the role I played in that by writing the book and helping found the Invasive Species Council, which is doing so much to achieve better policies and funding for invasive species action.

‘I hope the award means that the message that invasive species are one of the greatest threats to Australia’s plants and animals is heard more widely.’

About the Invasive Species Council

The Invasive Species Council campaigns for stronger laws, policies and programs to protect Australia’s native plants and animals from environmental weeds, feral animals and other invaders.

Background on Tim Low:

  • This AM was awarded for Significant Contributions to Conservation and Environmental Education. Some of Tim’s career highlights include:

    • Invasive Species Council: Co-Founder and Board Member (2002-2007), Project Officer (2007-2023), Volunteer Advisor (since 2010), and Scientific Advisory Committee Member (2014-2021).

    • Nature Contributions: Blog Contributor for Australian Geographic’s Wild Journey (2015-2017), Ecological Guide for Christmas Island Bird ‘n’ Nature Week (2006-2016), and Columnist for Nature Australia magazine for 20 years.

    • Former Patron of Rainforest Rescue Australia and Co-Editor of Wildlife Australia magazine. Naturalist in Residence at Cape York Wilderness Lodge, Queensland (circa 1987).

    • International Conservation Efforts: Speaker at major conferences including the Hawaii Conservation Conference (2004), Global Biodiversity Forum (2003), and Invasive Species Group (2000).

    • Publications: Authored numerous influential books on Australian wildlife, invasive species, and natural history, including Where Song Began (2014) and Feral Future (1999). Co-authored significant works like Gone: Australian animals extinct since the 1960s (2023).

    • Awards and Recognition: Recipient of prestigious awards such as the General Non-Fiction Book of the Year for Where Song Began (2015), Churchill Fellowship (2012), and Antarctic Arts Fellowship (2003). Honoured with a lizard species named after him, Pygmaeascincus timlowi (1997).

  • Tim Low is known for his influential books such as Feral Future (1999), a bestseller which alerted Australians to the environmental problems caused by introduced species and The New Nature (2002) which compared the ecological impacts of elephants with those of humans.

  • Where Song Began (2014) explores the origins of Australia’s birds and has been praised for its scientific insights and literary quality.

  • Wild Food Plants of Australia (1988) is the standard field guide to wild foods in Australia and helped popularise bushfoods in Australia.

  • The lizard species Pygmaenascincus timlowli was named to honour Mr Low’s exceptional contributions to conservation.

  • For more information about Tim Low and his work, visit https://timlow.com/

 

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