Whitley Awards 2019: Recognising the best of Australasian zoological literature
In 2019 we are thrilled to announce that the winner of the Whitley Medal is the children’s book, Zobi and the Zoox: A Story of Coral Bleaching. Furthermore, this is the first time since the inception of the Whitley Awards in 1979, that the Royal Zoological Society of NSW (RZS NSW) has awarded the Whitley Medal to a children’s book.
Dr Noel Tait, Chair of the RZS NSW Awards Committee, believes that “as a children’s book, Zobi and the Zoox will inspire whole generations of children to a life dedicated to natural science, and through this the conservation of our environment.”
“The story is set in the Great Barrier Reef, and is a scientific adventure story of utmost concern for the survival of life, as we know it. The book is challenging but in the best possible way” he further explains.
Zobi and the Zoox is part of the Small Friends Book series, co-published with the art-science collective known as Scale Free Network (external link). The collaborative team for Zobi and the Zoox includes Ailsa Wild, Aviva Reed, Briony Barr and Gregory Crocetti.
Briony and Gregory were thrilled to accept the medal on behalf of the team:
“Winning the 2019 Whitley Medal is particularly meaningful for Scale Free Network and the Small Friends Books creative team as it is the first time this prestigious award has been given to a children’s book. Together with our co-publisher CSIRO Publishing, we are very proud to receive this honour. It is our belief that communicating complex science through stories is a powerful way to reach not only young people, but curious minds of any age. Recognition of this calibre will help Zobi and the Zoox find a wider readership in Australia.
Given the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef at this time, a greater understanding of reef ecology and the microbial communities at the heart of every coral animal, is more important than ever. We’d also like to acknowledge coral ecologists Professors Linda Blackall and Madeleine van Oppen as well as the Australian Institute of Marine Science – who made valuable contributions to this project.”
Given the number of exceptional publications nominated for the Whitley Awards, as well as the Whitley Medal, the RZS NSW also bestow a selection of Certificates of Commendation for outstanding publications that profile the unique wildlife of Australasia.
In 2019 the following CSIRO Publishing titles were awarded Commendation Certificates:
Highly Commended – Secret Lives of Carnivorous Marsupials by Andrew Baker and Chris Dickman
Children’s Book – The Great Lizard Trek by Felicity Bradshaw, illustrated by Norma MacDonald
Natural History – Reptiles of Victoria: A Guide to Identification and Ecology by Peter Robertson and A. John Coventry
Guide – A Guide to Native Bees of Australia by Terry Houston
Conservation Biology – A Bat’s End: The Christmas Island Pipistrelle and Extinction in Australia by John Woinarski
Biological Resource – Australian Bryozoa Volume 1: Biology, Ecology and Natural History, and Australian Bryozoa Volume 2: Taxonomy of Australian Families, edited by Patricia Cook, Philip Bock, Dennis Gordon and Haylee Weaver
CSIRO Publishing would like to congratulate all the winning authors of the 2019 Whitley Awards. We’d also like to thank the Royal Zoological Society of NSW for presenting these awards, and the outstanding work they do in promoting and celebrating science writing in the Australasian region.