Project to honour work of ecologist

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Conservationist Harry Butler was passionate about preserving the nature of Barrow Island.
Camera IconConservationist Harry Butler was passionate about preserving the nature of Barrow Island. Credit: Chevron Australia

The legacy of a renowned Australian conservationist passionate about preserving the nature of Barrow Island is set to be continued with the creation of a new environmental sustainability project by Chevron.

The Harry Butler Legacy Project was launched earlier this month to develop further awareness of natural environments by industry, especially in the oil and gas sector.

It will see Chevron invest in environmental research to continue the work of Mr Butler, a well-known conservationist and former Australian of the Year who had a 50-year association with Chevron as an environmental consultant, mainly on Barrow Island.

During that time he developed a quarantine management system regarded as world-best practice which has protected ecosystems and species on the class-A nature reserve, including some unique to the island.

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Chevron Australia quarantine manager Johann van der Merwe said the company’s work with Mr Butler had instilled in it the belief that industry and environmental protection could co-exist.

“Harry has woven into our being, as individuals and as a corporation, the deep-rooted belief that business and biodiversity are not mutually exclusive but rather interdependent,” he said.

“We need the proceeds of development to improve our quality of life as much as we need it to secure the sustainable functioning of our ecosystems.

“To deny one is to deny the other.”

A major part of the project will be the creation of the Harry Butler Institute, a partnership between Chevron and Murdoch University which will establish a Barrow Island Research Centre, a new undergraduate subject of bioeconomics and more academic projects in biosecurity and environmental science at the university.

Mr Butler died in December, 2015.

The Legacy Project has been set up in collaboration with his family, as well as education and environmental partners.

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