Reef crest dominated by robust branching corals and coralline algae, Great Barrief Reef © WWF / James MorganDr Kara Youngentob with a hi-tech nest box for post-fire recovery of greater gliders © Jamie Kidston / ANU

Reef crest dominated by robust branching corals and coralline algae, Great Barrief Reef © WWF / James Morgan

Vale Dr Ronnie Harding - a champion of environmental education

20 Jun 2022


The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia would like to pay tribute to Dr Ronnie Harding, a former WWF-Australia director and champion of environmental education, who passed away on Saturday.

Dr Harding mentored a huge number of graduates and future leaders in environmental policy, management and decision-making during her academic career at the University of New South Wales between 1974 and 2004.

As a lecturer and pioneer in environmental education, she watched ‘the environment’ evolve from a fringe subject to a core issue in Australian society.


Dr Ronnie Harding © Supplied


She was appointed Director of the newly formed Institute of Environmental Studies (IES) at UNSW in 1992, forming links with a wide range of external organisations from industry, government agencies, professional organisations and environmental NGOs.

From 2000 to 2004, Dr Harding developed and ran a university-wide interdisciplinary Master of Environmental Management program.

After retiring from UNSW in late 2004, she worked in a range of advisory positions for public, NGO and private sector organisations, including as Chair of the NSW Council on Environmental Education, an inaugural member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and a Board member of the NSW Environmental Defenders’ Office.

She made an enormous contribution to WWF-Australia, serving on the board, the scientific committee and as a governor between 2004-2018.

WWF-Australia’s Head of Oceans, Richard Leck, who studied under Dr Harding at UNSW, said she was an inspiring educator.

“Ronnie had an incredible intellect, fabulous sense of humour and two overwhelming passions – to engage deeply in the conservation issues of the day and to support, inspire and educate the conservationists of the future,” he said.

“I feel very fortunate to have been one of the people she mentored, and enormously grateful for all the time and energy she put into growing WWF over many years.”



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