The Australian Antarctic Division’s Dr Martin Riddle has received the inaugural Phillip Law Medal at a weekend event in Hobart.

Dr Riddle leads Australia’s Antarctic Terrestrial and Nearshore Ecosystems program.

The award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Antarctic affairs and the Antarctic community.

Dr Riddle’s concerted efforts, since 1994, in working to minimise the impacts of people in Antarctica have led directly to improved management regimes through the Antarctic Treaty System.

In accepting the Medal, Dr Riddle expressed gratitude for the opportunity, support and confidence provided by the Australian Antarctic Division, saying it has been a privilege to lead the human impacts research program.

“As I reflect on my time with Australia’s Antarctic program I have been continually reminded that not only is Antarctica important to Australia, due to its proximity and its influence over our climate, but it is also important to Australians.

“In the same way that Australians value our beaches, outback and reefs, they also value the Antarctic and have very high expectations for our environmental stewardship of the region to our south. As custodians of the region we carry a great responsibility to meet these expectations.”

Dr Riddle was named as the Medal’s first recipient, by the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE) Club, at midwinter in June.

The award was presented by the ANARE Club’s Ray McMahon.

The event was held at the Phillip Law Lecture which was delivered by Professor Tom Griffiths who is Professor of History at the Australian National University.