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Grampians Adventure Reward for Wellington Student

1 March 2004

Young Conservationist’s Eco Prize
Grampians Adventure Reward for Wellington Student

Wellington – YHA Young Conservationist 2003 Individual Award winner James Kirkland has returned from a week of abseiling, sightseeing and volunteering in Australia.

James’ Award entry was based on his initiative with Wellington’s Days Bay Sand Dune Regeneration Project. The project encouraged community involvement in restoring and maintaining the reserve’s biodiversity.

His prize trip to Australia began in Melbourne on February 4th and included two nights at Grampians YHA Eco Hostel in Halls Gap, Victoria. Grampians YHA incorporates many features that complement the natural environment, including solar electricity and state-of-the-art energy and water conservation processes.

The 17-year-old from Eastbourne commented on the innovative design of Grampians YHA Eco Hostel, where he stayed amongst eucalyptus forest, the temperature soaring to 38 degrees.

“It was an ‘eco design,’ really efficient; it was a hot day but a lot cooler inside,” says James.

James enjoyed his first abseiling experience, off a 50-metre cliff, which was sponsored by the YHA-based Adventure Company. He also spent time with Conservation Volunteers of Australia, St Kilda Botanic Gardens and the Melbourne Wildlife Sanctuary.

James, who contributed over 50 volunteer hours to the Days Bay site’s preparation, planted native trees, constructed bollards and steps from recycled railway sleepers, and built a temporary windbreak, playground equipment and an accessible entrance for public access.

When asked if he would recommend entering the YHA Young Conservationist Awards to students around New Zealand, James’ answer is yes. He cites the Australia prize trip as only one incentive—“apart from doing good things and the initial fact of doing something for the environment.”

“I love everything natural; I’ve always had a passion for it. It (my entry) was on my own accord—it wasn’t forced!”

The YHA Young Conservationist Awards are sponsored by YHA New Zealand in partnership with the Department of Conservation. To enter the Awards in 2004, please contact:

About YHA

Founded in 1932, YHA New Zealand belongs to the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF), the oldest Member-based budget accommodation network on the planet. This not-for-profit association provides independent travellers with a network of unique New Zealand and international travel experiences - connecting like-minded travellers of all ages with local communities and the natural environment.

YHA New Zealand recorded 600,000 guest overnights in 2002/2003, around 87 percent from international travellers.

The IYHF, which is represented by the Hostelling International brand, comprises over 4,200 hostels in 60 countries.

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