Feature

Ben Dessen: Young Green Hero

Green Lifestyle

Wildlife advocate, Ben Dessen, won the Young Green Hero Award at the 2014 Green Lifestyle Awards held at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability in Waverton, North Sydney.

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Green Lifestyle's Young Green Hero, Ben Dessen.

Credit: Yvonne Jetson

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Ben Dessen has been recognised for his lifetime commitment to wildlife advocacy and care, having raised over $40,000 for various wildlife initiatives.

Ben’s passion for wildlife advocacy was sparked when his parents bought him his first pet snake at age six. This soon grew to a menagerie of lizards, pythons, scorpions, insects, frogs and other animals that share his home today.

The 22-year-old now lives in the bush looking after native wildlife as sanctuary manager at Dural’s Kangaroo Protection Co-operative Wildlife Orphanage and Sanctuary. He is a long-term volunteer with his local wildlife rescue group, Sydney Wildlife, and has cared for numerous native animal species over the years. More recently Dessen was selected as an Australian representative to travel to Borneo to take part in the orangutan and rainforest conservation film, Rise of the Eco Warriors.

In addition to studying for his Bachelor of Natural Science (Animal Science) studies at the University of Western Sydney, Dessen runs education courses on reptiles and amphibians at Kellyville Pets and also finds time to work at the Australian Reptile Park.

Said Dessen, “Animals give my life purpose and provide me with an ongoing source of curiosity and inspiration. I was completely surprised, but deeply honoured to receive this award. I can honestly say that I have never wanted to do anything else with my life than work towards protecting the amazing wildlife we share this planet with and educating and motivating others to do the same.”

Dessen was honoured to be invited by Bob Irwin (father of the late Steve Irwin) to help launch his new wildlife charity, the Bob Irwin Wildlife and Conservation Foundation.

Dessen will return to Borneo during his study break to see the progress made on the orangutan rehabilitation centre which he helped to establish. A production company from Singapore is accompanying Dessen on this trip and will be filming a new TV series as a follow up to Rise of the Eco Warriors.

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Click here to see the rest of the winners and highly commended awarded at last night's Green Lifestyle Awards.