Recipient of the Tirkapena Indigenous Award 2022, Tiahni Adamson, a Torres Strait Islander woman descended from the Kaurareg Nations of Thursday Island, is a passionate wildlife conservation biologist.
"As First Nations people, we have a really deeply ingrained wisdom, knowledge and understanding of the Earth and its systems,” she said.
"We’ve cared for this country since time immemorial, and it’s only over the last 230 or so years that we’ve had such detrimental damage."
Already established as a prominent role model and next generation leader, the Bachelor of Science (Wildlife Conservation Biology) graduate is a proponent for the participation of First Nations people and women in STEM careers.
"I think my proudest moments in these spaces is when I come across young people who have heard me speak at events about what we’re doing in the climate space, and then seeing them grow," she said.
"This wider impact that’s greater than myself is what makes me feel really proud because it’s not an objective that I ever had in mind. Seeing the potential for inspiring other people to create positive change is probably my favourite thing."
In her career to date, Tiahni has already worked on programs for CSIRO, including the Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Sciences. She has also worked for PIRSA as a Sea Ranger and a Fisheries Compliance Support Officer, where she fostered relationships between First Nations communities and government. In 2019, Tiahni trained under Al Gore as a Climate Reality Leader.
We’ve cared for this country since time immemorial, and it’s only over the last 230 or so years that we’ve had such detrimental damage. Tiahni Adamson
Currently, she is focused on sustainable aquaculture production in her role as the Lead Community Engagement Officer at CH4Global. She also works as a lecturer and tutor at the University of South Australia, is the State Coordinator of Seed Mob (Australia’s only First Nations led youth climate justice group), and is a youth dialogue member for the Uluru
Statement from the Heart. She regularly speaks publicly at festivals and to conferences and businesses to communicate climate science and First Nations justice.
This year, Tiahni received the Dr Kay Price AM Award for demonstrated excellence in and ambassadorship for STEM. She was also one of two students to be awarded the inaugural Indigenous Time at Sea Scholarship from CSIRO’s Marine National Facility.
But, for the devout environmentalist, "success comes down to impact and positive change and the longevity of that change as well".
"So often we try to implement projects in society that are short lived and not long lasting. For me success is about real, transactional and tangible changes that affect big systems."