19th October 2021
Mr GREG PIPER (Lake Macquarie)—I'd like to congratulate Kevin Stokes from Toronto who was named the 2021 Senior Hunter Volunteer of the Year at the NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. Kevin was recognised for his tireless efforts over 36 years to the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens. The gardens are maintained and managed by volunteers for the enjoyment and education of people from across Australia and overseas. It should be noted that Kevin is not only one of the gardens' founding members, but also its longest continual serving volunteer. Under Kevin's guidance the gardens have flourished and he is credited with helping the gardens overcome numerous difficulties including financial hardships, drought and COVID-19 restrictions. He is also known for his vast knowledge of Australian native plants and is well regarded for his genuine love of sharing that knowledge. Back in 1981, Kevin was instrumental in ensuring that the mere idea of a botanic garden became reality and spent years working with volunteers to establish the gardens before they were opened to the public in 1986. I thank Kevin for his efforts at the award winning gardens and encourage him to keep up his fantastic work.
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