ORANGE man Neil Jones was recognised for his environmental advocacy and sustainability recently.
Mr Jones was presented with an Environmentally Concerned Citizens of Orange (ECCO) achievement award and life membership for his dedication to the group.
“It was quite a surprise really, the organisation has only been going for a relatively short while and to receive that recognition was wonderful,” he said.
Mr Jones was ECCO’s founding member when the group began in 2006 and served as president until their recent annual general meeting when he decided not to seek re-election.
“ECCO has a very important role to play in the community and will continue to grow from strength-to-strength,” he said.
Incoming president Nick King said Mr Jones had been a guiding force in directing the community’s attention to important environmental issues in the city.
“It all started back in 2005 when Orange City Council announced plans to sell the Ploughmans Creek Wetland for housing development,” he said.
“Neil was instrumental in gathering widespread local community support to keep the wetland as public land.
“It was a long battle and his vision was only realised early this year when council’s New LEP [local environmental plan] zoned the land for public recreation.
“It will now become an important part of the new Ploughmans Creek constructed wetlands”
For the past six years ECCO has been involved in widespread community activities, as well as environmental advocacy.