Bridie is Queenslands new biodiversity champion

08 December 2016

From the outback to the city, Queensland students have taken up the task to prove they are biodiversity champions in Queensland Museum’s Natural Leaders challenge.

The challenge, presented by Queensland Museum and BHP Billiton, called on budding scientists to channel David Attenborough and address a biodiversity challenge in their local area in a short video and drew entries from across the state.

A shortlist of 10 entries was presented to a judging panel who declared Bridie Willaton from Mitchell as the winner. Bridie’s video entry highlighted the effects the

Parthenium weed had on her locally biodiverse area, particularly the Mungallala Creek in south-western Queensland.

Liam Wood from Bowen and Brisbane’s Sophie Walker were the runners up.

Queensland Museum Network CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said Queensland Museum’s Natural Leaders challenge seeks to encourage students from years seven, eight and nine to explore their local biodiversity and present their findings in a two-minute documentary.

“Here at the Queensland Museum Network we are always investigating ways to spark a natural curiosity in science and the world around us; whether it is through events such as the World Science Festival Brisbane or challenges such as Natural Leaders we endeavour to connect with Queenslander’s young and old,” she said.

“As always I was very impressed with the calibre of entries for 2016 and it is always heartening to see so many young Queenslanders show such enthusiasm towards the challenge. I would like to congratulate not only Bridie and the runners up, but all the students who took the time to participate and hopefully be inspired by their local biodiversity.”

Bridie will now become the 2017 Queensland Museum Junior Correspondent and will receive prizes including: a Go Pro action camera, a day on the set of Totally Wild, and a once in a lifetime opportunity to delve into the mysterious unseen world of the Queensland Museum Collection.

Queensland Museum’s Natural Leaders is presented by the museum’s exclusive biodiversity partner BHP Billiton.

James Palmer, Asset President of BHP Billiton Mitsui Coal (BMC) said the quality of entries was an exciting preview of Australia’s next generation of young scientists.

“We have been really impressed with calibre of the entrants, both this year and last year, and it is exciting to think what these young leaders of tomorrow could be contributing to science in the near future,’’ Mr Palmer said.

“It’s an exciting time for students to be involved in science. The appointment of Professor Suzanne Miller as Queensland’s next Chief Scientist and the fantastic work the Queensland Museum Network is doing in partnership with BHP Billiton, means there are real career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) which is a key focus for our organisation.’’

For more information about Queensland Museum’s Natural Leaders visit

Bridie Willaton – Mitchell

Runners Up:
Liam Wood – Bowen
Sophie Walker – Bridgeman Downs

Declan Farmiloe – Sippy Downs
Ella Patterson - Ashgrove
Emily Malczewski - Mitchelton
Isabella Leung-Dias - Ashgrove
Lily Megaw - McDowall
Luis Arnet – Kelvin Grove
Morgan Heise - Torquay

Media Contact:
Christine Robertson, 3840 7789
Heidi Jones, 3842 9388