Six conservationists honoured at prestigious awards.

Forest & Bird has honoured six conservationists for their contribution to protecting New Zealand’s native plants and animals.

This year they presented a new award – the Te Kaiārahi Rangatahi o te Taiao youth award. Translating to “a young leader, or guiding light, of the natural world”, it aims to recognise and celebrate the amazing projects being carried out by young people to protect and restore our unique natural environment.

Guy McDonald, Timaru

Te Kaiārahi Rangatahi o te Taiao Youth Award

At just 17 years of age, Guy McDonald has already donated 5 years to conservation projects in the South Canterbury region.

As a member of Kiwi Conservation Club, Guy carried out a katipo spider monitoring programme for the Department of Conservation and quickly became recognised for his ability to identify a range of insects from a young age.

His strong interest in insects lead to him becoming a great advocate for New Zealand’s native praying mantis. He started an initiative to teach people to identify the lava of praying mantis; hoping people would learn to enjoy having them in their gardens and see their value as a natural way to control aphids.

Guy is now an adult member of Forest & Bird and regularly helps out at their monthly working bees ar Kakahu Bush. It’s Guy’s job to climb the trees to disentangle the passionfruit vines and barberry bushes that have such disastrous seeding potential. He’s especially good at crawling into inaccessible areas that the adults can’t reach!

Looking to the future, Guy wants to start a career in conservation and dreams of being part of the team that makes Stewart Island predator free.

Fraser Ross, Timaru

Distinguished Life Membership Award

Fraser Ross has contributed more than 40 years of his life to conservation. His quiet determination, extensive field knowledge, sharp analysis, hard work and wisdom inspire many.

Over the years, he has advocated on conservation issues to Government Ministers and agencies, made submissions, sought to stop the conversion of indigenous west coast forest to plantation pine, and established new National Parks.

Fraser has also used his expert botanical skills to undertake field inspections in the South Island high country and has submitted a number of tenure review proposals for the region.

Among many other things, Fraser has been the key person responsible for the restoration of Arowhenua Bush - a significant remnant podocarp forest on private land near Temuka. After persuading the original owners to retain the forest rather than clear it for grazing pasture, he has eco-sourced and planted hundreds of native plants here, encouraged their growth and controlled weeds.

Fraser has also provided a major source of energy and expertise for undertaking weed control and active management of Conway’s Bush, a forest remnant in the foothills near Geraldine which is protected as a Forest & Bird reserve.

He’s advocated on pest management, weed control, wild places and indigenous biodiversity under the Resource management Act, and is an active and energetic watchdog on the Department of Conservation’s management of public lands.

The contribution Fraser has made are insurmountable, but this short overview of the incredible contribution Fraser has made to conservation tells the story of why he deserves a Life Membership with Forest & Bird.

Rod Brown, Bay of Islands

Old Blue Award

Rod Brown is honoured for his contribution to restoration in the Bay of Islands.

 

Rod established the Kerikeri Shadehouse Volunteers in 2000, a centre for native plant propagation. Since then an estimated quarter of a million trees have been grown from eco-sourced seed and used in revegetation projects on several islands in the bay as well as throughout Northland.

Weeding, pest control and then revegetation has taken place on Motupapa and Motukawanui Islands (for which he won a DOC Weedbusters Award in 2006) and later on Waewaetorea, Urupukapuka and Moturua Islands.

Rod is also involved in a number of other local projects including Guardians of the Bay of Islands and Project Island song.

Julie McLintock, Nelson

Old Blue Award

Julie McLintock is honoured for her exceptional contribution to Forest and Bird in Nelson over a period of more than 30 years.

Julie’s dedication and hard work has included helping with everything from weeding, trapping and planting to organising branch trips, market stalls, festivals and show days.

Julie has also played a key hands-on role in a number of projects including the Pelorus Bat project and Paremata Flats - once used for grazing and now flourishing with birdlife such as the rare South Island Fernbird / Mātātā and Banded Rail / Moho-pererū.

Craig McKenzie, Dunedin

Old Blue Award

Craig Mc Kenzie is honoured for his contribution to raising the profile and image of Forest and Bird through his incredible photography.

Craig has freely given Forest and Bird access to his world-class photos for use in magazines and publications including two South Otago branch publications - “Birds of the Catlins” and the “Otago Peninsula Birds”.

Access to these photos has saved Forest and Bird thousands of dollars, helped lift the image of Forest and Bird to an extremely professional level and given great pleasure to everyone who sees them.

Sylvia Jenkins, Wellington

Old Blue Award

Sylvia Jenkins is honoured for her contribution to the Maara Rose restoration project.

Sylvia’s visionary aims, political savvy, drive and tenacity have led to huge wins in creating an ecological “bush corridor” from Cannons Creek Valley to Petone.

As an outstanding advocate for conservation she has also made a strong contribution to the Greening Wellington project.