Old Blue awards are named for the Chatham Islands black robin called Old Blue who helped save her species from extinction during the early 1980s.
Each year, Forest & Bird presents a handful of members who have done outstanding work in conservation with this award. Below are our 2009 'Old Blues"
Conservation organisation Forest & Bird has awarded Otatara resident Craig Carson its highest honour – an Old Blue – for his significant contribution to protecting the environment.
Craig is as active behind a pen as a spade. The longstanding chair of Forest & Bird’s Southland Branch has worked to protect wilderness areas in Southland at many resource consent hearings.
He is not afraid to get his hands dirty, either, and has helped at Te Rere penguin colony working days during the past 16 years. His old landrover is legendary in the Catlins penguin reserve for pulling other four-wheel drives out of the mud.
Craig has also put in regular hours at Southland branch’s Tautuku Lodge project, and he has worked on clearing wilding pines from Mid Dome in northern Southland over several years.
Everyday Craig cycles to work – even on the iciest day – and he is a passionate about living sustainably. Craig stood as a Green Party candidate in the last election.
Conservation organisation Forest & Bird has awarded Omaha Beach resident Jim McKinlay its highest honour – an Old Blue – for his work saving endangered New Zealand dotterels.
The dotterels would no longer be found at Omaha Beach, north of Auckland, if it wasn’t for Jim and his late wife, Laura. When they moved to Omaha Beach in the early 1990s they saw that the number of dotterels at the beach was declining.
In 1993 they began trapping the pests that were wiping out the dotterels, at first getting rid of feral cats before finding the greatest culprit in the decimation of the dotterel population: hedgehogs. Once they stopped hedgehogs from eating dotterel eggs, the dotterel population recovered. The McKinlays checked the traps every day for almost seven years, and enlisted other community volunteers to help. They also fenced off the breeding area at the beach to protect it from people accidentally walking on nests, which are simply a scrape in the sand.
Today Omaha Beach hosts about 80 New Zealand dotterels in the non-breeding season, and about 40 breed there during summer. The McKinlays stopped their pest control work about four years ago, and trapping is now done by a community group under Department of Conservation management.
In other work for Forest & Bird, Jim chaired the Mid North branch for six years until 2005, and launched an annual series of winter talks on environmental issues.
Conservation organisation Forest & Bird has awarded John Kendrick, of Waipu, its highest honour – an Old Blue – for his outstanding work as a wildlife film-maker and sound recordist.
Anyone who listens to the bird calls on Radio New Zealand National’s Morning Report will appreciate John Kendrick’s work. Many of the bird calls played today were made by John 40 years ago.
As a Wildlife Service audio-visual officer for 20 years he travelled to remote parts of New Zealand to record bird songs. Among his more memorable expeditions was recording what is presumed to be South Island kokako calls in several areas during the early 1980s. The South Island kokako is now considered extinct, though some people dispute this.
During John’s career with the Wildlife Service from the early 1960s he was a photographer and made many wildlife films on subjects such as endangered saddlebacks, the sub-Antarctic Islands and Canadian geese. He helped film New Zealand segments for a David Attenborough series about extinction in 1974.
He inspired thousands of school pupils with his presentations on wildlife and conservation. He helped start the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club, for young people interested in nature, and he shared with children his enthusiasm for nature when he was a Kiwi Conservation Club co-ordinator in Whangaparaoa.
After retiring from the Wildlife Service, John was a natural history tour guide, mainly showing overseas birdwatching enthusiasts around New Zealand.
John, 87, who now lives in Waipu, has been a member of Forest & Bird for more than 50 years, and is still involved with conservation projects in Northland.
- Bird Recordist Honoured (Radio New Zealand National, 26th June)
- Bird call man honoured by Forest & Bird (TV3, Saturday 27 June)
Conservation organisation Forest & Bird has awarded Te Puke resident Dorothy Mutton its highest honour – an Old Blue – for her outstanding protection of the environment.
Dorothy has spent virtually a lifetime committed to conservation after joining Forest & Bird 58 years ago. She was part of the team that formed the Te Puke Section, which 23 years ago became a branch, and has served as chair, committee member and patron.
Conservation battles in which Dorothy has played an active part include the Kaimai Mamaku protection movement of the 1980s, the campaign to protect kokako habitat in Rotoehu forest and an Environment Court challenge to mining in Te Puke hills where Hochstetter’s frogs are found.
Dorothy grows native trees to raise funds for conservation, and has worked to establish a native tree reserve on the site of the former Rotoehu village.
The keen botanist has led field trips around the Bay of Plenty, sharing her passion for nature and the outdoors with others. She takes part in kiwi listening surveys and works on pest control at Otanewainuku forest.
Forest & Bird Te Puke branch chair Carole Long says Dorothy inspires others with her enthusiasm for nature. “She’s got a lovely sense of humour and a sense of discovery that is infectious.”
Queenie & Peter Ballance
Conservation organisation Forest & Bird has awarded Peter and Queenie Ballance, of Nelson, its highest honour – an Old Blue – for their outstanding contributions individually and as a team to protecting the environment.
The couple have been active in Forest & Bird for more than 40 years, first in the Central Auckland branch and then in Nelson from late 2000 after Peter retired as Associate Professor of Geology at Auckland University.
While Peter was Nelson branch chair for seven years he initiated the branch’s Enner Glynn Bush restoration project, inspiring volunteers to rid the area of weeds, launching pest control and planting programmes and gaining funding. He has represented the branch at council hearings and, as a retired geologist, has been an expert witness for Forest & Bird on several occasions. Peter was a popular leader of Forest & Bird walks until this year.
Queenie has devoted many volunteer hours to Forest & Bird, and has been a long-term advocate for conservation and the environment through her work as a representative for the National Council of Women, both in Auckland and Nelson. Queenie was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal in 1999 for her services to conservation. She has actively promoted better protection for the Waimea Inlet, an estuary of international importance.
Conservation organisation Forest & Bird has awarded Port Charles resident Tina Morgan its highest honour – an Old Blue – for her longstanding work protecting the environment.
Tina Morgan has been a driving force in the Upper Coromandel branch, which this year celebrates its 21st year. Tina has organised a programme of monthly events and a film history of the branch to mark the branch milestone.
She has spent many hours over many years working on Forest & Bird restoration projects for bush areas and streams, and controlling animal and plant pests, and has recently joined the Environment Waikato pest management committee. Tina is also very active in her local Moehou Environmental Group, and writes a monthly column in the Coromandel Chronicle newspaper.
Tina’s friendly, gentle demeanour has helped diffuse local argument about 1080 and other contentious issues but it does not conceal her staunch advocacy for conservation.