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Canterbury Weedbuster Awards announced

Media Release

September 18, 2014

Canterbury Weedbuster Awards announced

Environment Canterbury and the Department of Conservation today announced winners of the biennial Weedbuster Awards.

The recipients were Charlesworth Wetland Reserve Maintenance Team, Christchurch (Winner - Overall Excellence), Gillian Giller, North Canterbury (Winner – Private Land), Helen Chambers, Governors Bay (Highly Commended – Private Land) and Sumner Environment Group (Winner – Public Land).

The ceremony was attended by Hon Nicky Wagner, Associate Minister of Conservation, who presented the awards.

Weedbusters are dedicated local people tackling weeds in their communities and collectively making a difference. Weedbusting groups are small but tenacious, and the battle never stops. Nationally there are around 150 registered Weedbusters groups, and many other groups are doing similar work.

On top of that are the many Kiwis who are weedbusting in their own back yards and on their lifestyle blocks and farms, removing weedy ornamental species and replacing them with ones that aren’t going to “jump the fence” and invade natural areas.

South Canterbury farmer Tom Lambie is Environment Canterbury Commissioner responsible for biosecurity and pests. He says Canterbury’s amazing landscapes, iconic flora and fauna and unique environments are under threat from weed pests.

“The national Weedbusters programme is a great example of how the community and a range of organisations can work together sharing their knowledge, skills and resources to meet a common goal of controlling pest plants in our natural areas, and for agencies to celebrate members of our community together,” Mr Lambie said.

“Once weeds have established in the wild they are very costly and difficult to control and the damage they cause is sometimes irreversible. Weedbusting takes good identification skills, control technique knowledge, perseverance and dedication over a long period to get results - attributes all the nominees for these awards have demonstrated. Without the Weedbusters partnership and commitment by all, New Zealand would be a very different place.”

Award judge Jon Sullivan is Senior Lecturer in Ecology at Lincoln University. He says the Weedbuster Awards are a chance every two years to “celebrate the actions of the many individuals and community groups out there on their weekends keeping their precious corners of New Zealand nature free from the worst weeds”.

Saluting the winners, he said: “Every time I judge these awards, I come away encouraged and amazed by the sheer volume of weeds being removed from our natural areas by individuals and community groups every month. Nature in and around New Zealand's cities would be a much weedier place without this cheerful army of weekend warriors.

“All the nominations for the Weedbuster Awards underscore how much of our environment is kept clean and green by the actions of Kiwis quietly getting stuck in and doing the right thing. It's fantastic.”

Background

Weedbusters is a weeds awareness and education programme that aims to protect New Zealand's environment from the increasing weed problem. Pest animals and plants (weeds) are the greatest threat to New Zealand's biodiversity. People play a large part in spreading environmental weeds, often without knowing it, and Weedbusters aims to educate people and raise awareness to turn this problem around. More information - www.weedbusters.org.nz

Weedbusters is supported by a variety of organisations, NGOs and all regional councils and unitary authorities.


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