12 December 2001

Key research into land rehabilitation using native plant species has won a prestigious award for University of Queensland graduate Sally Dibben.

Ms Dibben of Attunga in northern NSW is the 2001 winner of the Bell Medal awarded to the outstanding Agricultural Science student.

She will be among almost 200 students graduating from the Faculty of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Veterinary Science (NRAVS) at St Lucia campus on Wednesday, December 12.

Ms Dibben capped a four-year degree with recognition for her outstanding research project which probed the secrets of native seed dormancy on rehabilitated mine sites.

Seed treatments to improve the germination rate can have a huge impact on the cost and success in returning mined land to its natural state.

School of Land and Food Sciences Research Co-ordinator Associate Professor David Edwards said Ms Dibben had made an outstanding seminar presentation on her work to the Agricultural Science Society in October.

“The students were required to make presentations for the first time this year and it was a great challenge which proved very successful,” Dr Edwards said.

The graduation will also include almost 90 students from the School of Veterinary Science.

Deputy Director of Studies, Associate Professor John Thornton, said the outstanding graduates would include four students who won places in a prestigious leadership course at Cornell University in the United States this year.

“The Veterinary School at Cornell runs a very prestigious program of intensive study open to students from all parts of the world. To have four students from the University of Queensland win places in one year is unprecedented,” Dr Thornton said.

The NRAVS faculty graduation at 4 pm on December 12 will be addressed by distinguished plant scientist Dr Elizabeth Heij.

Dr Heij was formerly director of CSIRO Tropical Agriculture and is now based in Adelaide in a key science role as national CSIRO Sustainability Facilitator.

For further information on the St Lucia graduation contact Anthony Smith on 07 5460 1229 or 0409 265587.