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Hamilton Scientist wins premier conservation award

21 September 2006

Hamilton Scientist wins premier conservation award

Dr Bruce Clarkson of Hamilton has been awarded New Zealand’s premier conservation award, the Loder Cup, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

A scientist, researcher, educator, and ecologist, Dr Clarkson has spent over 40 years working to recognise and restore native plant communities in New Zealand.
Mr Carter will present the Loder Cup to Dr Clarkson at a ceremony at the University of Waikato on 5 October.

“The Loder Cup is awarded for outstanding service and commitment to the protection of New Zealand’s native plant species, and Dr Clarkson richly deserves it. He has inspired others as a researcher, a teacher, and a role model for community conservation projects,” Mr Carter said.

An associate professor at the University of Waikato, and Director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, Dr Clarkson is internationally regarded in his specialist field of botany in New Zealand, and is widely published in the areas of threatened plant species, vegetation in volcanic landscapes, and restoration ecology.

Dr Clarkson developed an early interest in botany and conservation. At 11 he began his first restoration project on the family farm in Taranaki, when he and his brothers fenced off a gully from stock and replanted the area in native trees.

In addition to his nationally significant botanical work for the University of Waikato, Dr Clarkson has volunteered much of his time to community groups. He has been a leader and advocate of indigenous biodiversity protection and restoration through his roles in the Waikato Biodiversity Forum, Hamilton Community Environmental PrograMaungatautari Ecological Island Trust, Hamilton Environment Centre, Hamilton Gully Restoration Programme, Hakarimata Restoration Trust and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park.

The Loder Cup was donated in 1926 by English horticulturist Gerald Loder, later Lord Wakehurst, who was passionate about New Zealand’s “incomparable flora” and wanted to protect New Zealand’s unique plant species. It is considered New Zealand’s premier conservation award.

ENDS

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