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The Green Face Of New Zealand

June 5 2002

The Green Face Of New Zealand

Environment Minister Marian Hobbs has marked World Environment Day by announcing the winners of the 2002 Green Ribbon awards. The Awards were introduced in 1990 to recognise people, community organisations and businesses enhancing our environment.

"I am continually impressed by the work that is going on quietly around New Zealand where people and organisations are making a very real and positive impact on the ground," Marian Hobbs said. "In many cases projects have been underway for years and are showing tangible results.

"I can't think of a better time to celebrate the hard work and effort of many New Zealanders working to improve their surroundings than World Environment Day."

The 2002 Green Ribbon Award winners are:

- Caring for the rural environment (joint winners) - Whaingaroa Harbour Care Inc, (Raglan), for encouraging riparian planting and improving water care and the Milnthorpe Park Society (Golden Bay) for management and replanting of a low fertility land block over almost 30 years.

- Caring for the urban environment (joint winners) - Innovative Waste Kaikoura for reducing Kaikoura landfill waste, recycling and eco-employment initiatives and Friends of the Whau (Waitakere City) for restoring the Whau, a suburban river in west Auckland.

- Caring for our biodiversity - Geoff Wightman of Waimate North Landcare Group (Northland) for promoting biodiversity to farmers and the community in the Waimate area, possum control and forest revegetation.

- Raising awareness of environmental issues - Ecostore founder Malcolm Rands (Auckland) for assisting businesses become more environmentally friendly, for the Growing Organic Kids initiative with schools and for awareness projects such as the “Ecoman’ slot on TV One's Good Morning Show.

- Business caring for the Environment - Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Ltd. (Nelson), for implementing three key projects to reduce impacts on the environment - the Baigent Low Level Crossing Bridge, the Granite Environmental Management Plan and a Stream Classification Management System.

- State of the environment reporting - Environment BOP (Bay of Plenty), for its dynamic and clear 'State of the Bay of Plenty Environment 2001' report.

- Kids who care - Hastings Central School (Hawkes Bay), for its range of environmental activities, including "Eco-kids", a pilot school for environmental education, establishing an educational walkway, native tree planting and recycling projects.

The Minister also made special mention of three nominations achieving excellent results:

- Beverly Kingston (Marlborough)

- Trees for Canterbury

- Kamo High School (Northland)

The Green Ribbon Awards will be presented at the 2002 Field Days on June 13.

In the past 12 years, 38 individuals, businesses, voluntary organisations, schools and councils from all over New Zealand have been honoured with Green Ribbon Awards. This year’s winners bring the number to 46.

Awards List Attached....

2002 Green Ribbon Award Winners

Caring for the rural environment

Joint Winner - Whaingaroa Harbour Care Inc (Raglan)

Whaingaroa Harbour Care has a vision for the Whaingaroa Harbour. The voluntary community group intends to see the harbour fringed with mature native plants and its sparkling clear water full of fish and bird life.

The group formed in 1995, establishing a community nursery to grow native plants suitable for the harbour edges and erosion-prone sites. Over the years hundreds of thousands of seedlings have been grown and given to local landowners free of charge. With 100,000 trees to be planted this year, the group works on a scale not often seen in community efforts.

By planting along the harbour, erosion is prevented. In one case, the group is working with a single farmer to plant 10 percent of the harbour shore - a

26-kilometre strip of trees.

Whaingaroa Harbour Care also assists farmers plant and fence along their streams. This improves water quality and as a result, farmers are reporting that stock are more productive thanks to the cleaner water they drink.

The local community is strongly involved, with children joining in with school projects, task force green workers helping with fencing and planting, and local businesses and organisations getting behind their efforts.

Whaingaroa is a good example of people in a rural community working to ensure their local waterways are well cared for and being active in ensuring water quality in their area is maintained.

Joint Winner - Milnthorpe Park Society

Turning an unfertile block of land around and restoring a native forest is the task faced by the Milnthorpe Park Society.

The largest block of Crown land on the Golden Bay Coast was once covered in scrub and wilding pines and was unable to support either farms or native forest. But after almost 30 years of hard effort from the revegetation project and it’s volunteers, native bush is beginning to grow again and birds are returning to the Milnthorpe Forest.

The project has carried out extensive plantings of imports (to restore fertility on degraded soils) and native trees and runs a comprehensive pest control programme. Recently a new phase of the forest restoration has begun with the construction of a wetland and lake to support native fish populations and the development of roosts for native birds.

Visitors are also returning to the forest, which is becoming an attraction in its own right. There is an extensive track network for recreation and walking.

This project is particularly special because of the length of time it has been going and that it has a vision that spans generations. The effort and commitment of the project volunteers is so impressive that management of the land has been transferred to them from DoC.

Awarded for outstanding efforts to sustainably manage land or maintain healthy waterways and lakes, especially by those working in the agriculture, horticulture, and forestry sectors, and by community care groups.

Caring for the urban environment

Joint Winner - Innovative Waste Kaikoura

The Kaikoura district is well known for its eco tourism. And now it’s becoming known for another innovative eco project - the district’s aim to achieve zero waste by 2015. Innovative Waste Kaikoura (IWK) is working to meet this target.

IWK is jointly owned by the Kaikoura District Council and voluntary organisation Wastebusters Trust Kaikoura. IWK manages the Kaikoura landfill and has already extended the landfill’s life by many years through educating the public to reduce waste, increasing recycling and compacting rubbish before disposal.

It’s encouraging people to think of waste as a resource that may be recycled or reused. IWK carries out fortnightly recycling collections from local businesses and the public. All waste is sorted at the resource recovery centre and in the past year IWK has diverted 51.2% of waste from the landfill, a year ahead of their target. The location of plastic that can’t be recycled now is marked for reclaiming in the future.

IWK’s success in its recycling, landfill management and community employment work has attracted the attention of groups from throughout New Zealand and the world. Local authorities have contacted IWK for advice on zero waste and IWK has assisted community groups to develop their own waste management systems.

IWK’s landfill leachate system is particularly unique. Leachate is pumped from a settling pond to the top of the site, when it drains to the bottom once more. This ensures leachate doesn’t escape into the surrounding environment.

Joint Winner - Friends of the Whau (Waitakere City)

The Whau is a potential gem in Auckland’s west - but at the moment the shine is being taken off by waste and pollution. It’s one of our few completely suburban streams and in the past has been a major breeding ground for fish, full of bird life and was a major recreation area for Auckland’s population.

But the river has been woefully neglected for 100 years. In January 2000, the Friends of the Whau group was established to help restore the ecological habitat of the Whau through community action, advocacy and education.

Working with local schools, community groups, the Council, and people living and working on the banks of the Whau, it has carried out a range of programmes. These include river bank plantings, encouraging public access by promoting walkways, helping to coordinate water quality monitoring through Waicare groups, advocating for better stormwater treatment, working with industry to prevent pollution, and organising clean-ups of the estuary and public reserves.

The group has carried out extensive public education, including speaking to school and community groups, publishing newsletters, a website and a booklet, producing a video for schools, and holding public meetings with guest speakers.

Through meticulous planning, community consultation, highly effective pollution clean up and control and restorative planting, Auckland is now witnessing the rebirth of the Whau.

Awarded for outstanding contributions to urban sustainability, particularly practical action to improve the environment in our towns and cities.

Caring for our biodiversity

Geoff Wightman of Waimate North Landcare Group (Northland)

Northland possums have met a true enemy in Geoff Wightman. Geoff, also known as Rambo, has taken a significant lead in promoting biodiversity in the Waimate North community.

He formed the Waimate North Landcare group four years ago to protect remnant bush in the local area. The group works over a 3500 hectare area containing nationally significant puriri and tairire remnants, largely in private ownership.

Geoff has taken a lead in the group, going out shooting up to three times a week and personally shooting an average of 2000 possums a year - thus his nickname “Rambo’. He’s coordinated the setting up of traps and bait stations, organised field days and attends events to promote community action.

Some of his many other achievements include coordinating funding applications to get private bush fenced and pest control programmes under way, developing a formerly commercial nursery on his land to grow trees for revegetation programmes and contributing to the Northland Biodiversity Enhancement Group.

Importantly, Geoff has helped provide credibility for the biodiversity cause and shifted the attitude of many farmers in a region where conservationists don’t always have a good name.

Geoff’s work deserves recognition as a landowner promoting biodiversity. Everything he’s doing is in line with the Biodiversity Strategy, and he has encouraged a high level of community involvement. He shows what one committed individual can achieve.

Highly Commended - Trees for Canterbury

Trees for Canterbury runs a not for profit native trees nursery, donating trees to Canterbury community groups and schools for planting - some 20,480 in 2000. They have regular public plantings around Canterbury and spend a great deal of time talking to community groups and schools. Trees for Canterbury organises itself in an environmentally friendly way, for example reusing milk and juice cartons as well as old plant pots and bags. The nursery also provides employment for people formerly unemployed, creating five full time positions.

Highly Commended - Beverly Kingston

Beverly Kingston is fondly known in the Marlborough region as the “Recycling Lady’. She’s worked as a volunteer recycling officer for the Marlborough District Council for seven years, setting up the Blue Door centre for material that could be sold for reuse. The centre provides employment for four people and has improved recycling facilities in the local area. All profits from the centre are returned to community organisations. Beverly is an exceptional role model for her community and proves that one person can make a difference for the environment.

Awarded for practical actions that will protect New Zealand’s unique species and enhance our biodiversity, particularly voluntary efforts by landowners, iwi and community groups to protect biodiversity on private land.

Raising awareness of environmental issues

Ecostore and its founder Malcolm Rands

The Ecostore has been a shining light for the environmental movement for some time now. Founders Malcolm and Melanie Rands have taken an active lead in showing people how they can make simple everyday changes to improve the environment.

Besides its commercial activities, the Ecostore supports a wide range of awareness programmes. Malcolm has a regular TV sport as “Ecoman’ on TV1’s “Good Morning’ show, using his expert knowledge to talk about all aspects of the environment and how households can do their bit.

The store funds and coordinates the “Growing Organic Kids’ initiative, giving children practical experience in growing their own organic garden at school. It helps other businesses become aware of environmental issues and change their practice through its Green Up Business initiative - providing, for example, eco friendly products for a dolphin tour company. And thanks to the Ecostore, its plastics suppliers are now investigating ways of including recycled kerbside plastic in their products.

The Ecostore is sponsoring the ARC’s Big Clean Up programme and supporting Auckland City’s Green Cycle scheme. The Ecostore also “walks the talk” by reducing its own emissions, waste and energy use.

The Ecostore is going above and beyond its own short term business interests to help and support awareness raising in the local community and schools and businesses.

Awarded for projects whose purpose is to improve understanding of New Zealand’s environmental challenges and motivate people to become part of the solution.

Business caring for the environment

Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Ltd

Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Limited is one of the largest forestry companies in the Nelson region, owning several forests. It has established several practices to help prevent any damage to the environment that forestry can cause.

The forestry sector uses a lot of very heavy vehicles, which have to cross rivers and streams causing a lot of sedimentation of waterways and destruction of natural habitats. Weyerhaeuser New Zealand has come up with a simple solution, the Baigent Low Level Crossing Bridge. This bridge is cost effective, able to be moved to different points, as well as being able to support very heavy vehicles. The bridge stops the need for forestry vehicles to ford river beds and doesn’t restrict fish passage. These bridges can be adapted for farms around the country.

Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Limited owns forests with highly erodible granite soils. In these areas the potential for erosion caused by forestry roads is a significant problem. Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Limited has developed a “granite environmental management plan’. The plan has been structured so it is applicable to all of Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Limited granite soil areas. The levels of environmental care in the management plan, that are expected of staff and contractors exceeds the standards set by the Tasman District Council in the resource consent conditions.

Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Limited recognises that forestry operations can affect streams. Weyerhaeuser has developed a stream classification system, the system monitors stream and forest health to help the development of better operating procedures. The development and implementation of the stream classification system demonstrates the company’s commitment to the sustainable management of its forests.

Weyerhaeuser New Zealand Limited has shown a real and long-term commitment to ensuring their forests are sustainably managed, and are constantly reviewing their procedures. The size of the company means it has considerable influence over the procedures of many companies especially their contractors.

Awarded for outstanding efforts in reducing business impacts on the environment, such as reducing emissions, waste and energy use, implementing environmental management systems, environmental reporting, and encouraging other businesses to adopt good practices.

State of the environment reporting

Environment BOP

Environment BOP’s vision for their 2001 State of the Environment Report “Bay Trends’ was to increase understanding and awareness of environmental issues, rather than putting a lot of effort and expense into a report that would just sit on a shelf and gather dust.

The Bay of Plenty faces many environmental issues, in particular land use intensification in rural areas, urban growth and rapid population growth. This report aimed to give the people of the Bay of Plenty the knowledge to help them become more environmentally aware and active citizens.

Not only does the report cover the significant environmental issues facing the Bay of Plenty, it also includes many case studies to help people understand real problems that are being faced. One example of this is the discovery of Alligator Weed, which can invade drains and canals as well as maize crops and low-lying pasture. Alligator Weed was first discovered in 1996, and quick action meant the infested area was kept to half a hectare. Case studies such as this can bring high-level environmental messages into a more realistic and digestible format.

The report is broken down into chapters covering soils, land cover, river beds, air, geothermal resources, groundwater, rivers and streams, lakes, wetlands, marine environment and sand. Each chapter gives a summary of the situation with a symbol indicating whether the resource is improving, steady, declining or if there is not enough information to indicate a tend. The chapters also describe how Environment BOP is responding to the pressures and often there is a case study.

The Environment BOP 2001 State of the Environment Report “Bay Trends’ is a very good example of a local authority helping their region to understand what the environmental issues are in their region, what is being done about the issues and what needs to be done.

Awarded for good practice by regional, city, district and unitary councils in reporting on the state of our environment. This could be either through a formal “state of the environment’ report or in other ways such as the media, displays, or newsletters.

Kids who care - Youth Award

Hastings Central School

Hasting Central School has incorporated a wide variety of environmental practices into everyday school life. They are the first school in the Hawke’s Bay to become a pilot school for the “Environmental Education Across the Curriculum Project”.

The school’s programme involves planting, recycling, waste minimisation and energy efficiency. They feel it is important as a school that the children leave with a love and passion for their environment, their region and their country.

Hastings Central School recently planted 90 trees along their fence line, and have planted over 300 native trees, shrubs and grasses around the school. They have faced problems, especially with water supply, but with innovative thinking and the help of their local community these are being overcome.

Pupils are involved with numerous ongoing projects. They are recycling aluminium cans and using yoghurt containers for use as moulds and seedling pots. They also recycle their paper turning the paper into “ECO-POTS”, which are biodegradable planter pots, made from shredded paper with seedlings already planted in them. Pupils will also be seen collecting native seeds for germination, the seedlings are then sold on in the “ECO-POTS”. Ice cream container lids are recycled and used for labels for all the plants. There is also a composting bin, where all the organic waste produced in the school goes so it can return to the soil or as compost for the seedlings. There is even a chance of a worm-farm. Children are taught about cuttings and seedlings so they can develop an interest in having their own vegetable garden, possibly at the school.

Children and teachers have also formed the “Kids Eco Club’, they put together all the proposals and plans for environmental activities in the school.

Hastings Central School is working closely with its community in promoting environmental activities. Not only are they doing good work in their school, it is spilling out into other areas. Most importantly children leaving Hastings Central School are filled with a passion about their environment and an understanding of what to do for the environment.

Hastings Central School can be best summed up by its motto, “Work, Honesty, Kindness”.

Highly Commended - Year 13 Geography Class, Kamo High School

The Year 13 Geography class of Kamo High School has shown incredible amounts of dedication, ingenuity and leadership in their proposal, which is before the Department of Conservation, to establish a marine reserve in Whangarei Harbour.

The inspiration for the proposal came from marine biologist Dr Bill Ballantine, and has required the dedication of successive geography classes at Kamo High School since 1990.

This is the first time a school has made such a proposal. And it is also the first time an application for a marine reserve has included a number of separate locations to protect a variety of eco-systems.

Awarded to school-age kids who show personal commitment to improving our environment. This could, for example, be through practical action at school or in the community, or through efforts they have made to increase the awareness of others, for example setting up an environment group at school.


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