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Weedbusters awarded for their efforts

Weedbusters awarded for their efforts

For immediate release: Wednesday 18 June 2008

A Tarawera care group volunteer, a Waihi walkways group and a Te Puna estuary care group were among those who came out on top at this year's Weedbusters Awards.

Environment Bay of Plenty and the Department of Conservation hosted the Bay of Plenty Weedbusters Award Ceremony on Friday 13 June in Rotorua. The awards recognise volunteers who are enhancing our environment by tackling invasive weeds that threaten to smother native plants and cover walkways and streams.

Minister of Conservation Hon Steve Chadwick presented the awards along with the support of judges Councillor Karen Summerhays and Bay of Plenty Conservator Henry Weston.

Taking out the top award for the category of individual efforts on public land was Jean Buswell of the Tarawera Care group, for her battle against invasive weeds. Also representing Rotorua were Jaap and Sue van Dorsser, and Ham and Jan Gifford who received highly commended awards. In their 70s, they haven't let age slow them down and have been the driving forces behind the clearing of Awahou Stream, in Hamurana, and have planted more than 30,000 trees. Also receiving highly commended was Kawerau District Council parks and reserves manager Tracy Wilson for her work in steering the Monika Lanham Reserve restoration project.

The top prize for the group efforts on public land was shared this year between Waihi District Walkways Inc. for their vision of creating a series of linked walkways around Waihi, and the Te Puna Estuary Managers who have been managing mangroves in the Te Puna estuary. Mauao Care Group received a highly commended award for their battle against weeds threatening to swamp native bush on Mauao (Mount Maunganui) along with Pou Whakaaro in the Awaiti Wildlife Management Reserve for their weed busting efforts.

Environment Bay of Plenty pest plant office Sara Brill warned that pest plants can smother native plants and reduce soil and water quality.

"It was great to hear all of the stories that the participants had to tell and the different weeds that each had to deal with. The enthusiasm of the people involved in these projects was wonderful and the awards were richly deserved," said Sara Brill.

The winners received prizes of books, hardware vouchers and plaques for public seats in recognition of their work.

Ends

For further media information please contact pest Sara Brill, Pest Plant Officer on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) extn 8503 or (021) 649 803 or Fiona Robinson, Environment Bay of Plenty Senior Communications Advisor, on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) ext 8380 or (021) 289 8380.

High resolution photographs of the winners can be accessed from Environment Bay of Plenty's website at http://www.envbop.govt.nz/Publications/Media-Release-Photos.asp

For more information call pest plant officer Sara Brill on 0800 368 288 extn 8503.

The adverse effects of plant pests in the Bay of Plenty include:

* competition with commercial plants
* deterioration of dams, roadways and waterways
* threat to overseas markets and trade
* human health threats
* deterioration of taonga
* deterioration of natural ecosystems
* reduced biodiversity
* reduced soil and water quality
* reduced viability of rare or endangered species


ENDS

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