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DOC conservation award for Lawrence Area School

13 August 2004

DOC conservation award for Lawrence Area School

A tree-planting scheme has won Lawrence Area School in Otago a prestigious Department of Conservation environmental award, named after one of Southland’s pioneer conservationists.

"The Department of Conservation and Meridian Energy have successfully teamed up over the past two years to present the Richard Henry Meridian Energy Southland School Conservation Award, and we are really enthusiastic to continue with this initiative," said Martin Rodd, Community Relations Manager for the Department of Conservation’s Southland Conservancy.

The Richard Henry Meridian Energy Southland School Conservation Award is presented each year to a school that has used one of DOC’s education programmes, either at Deep Cove, Outreach or Borland Lodge. The young people then use what they have learnt to make a whole school contribution to the conservation or restoration of their own area.

Colin Sinclair, a member of Meridian Energy’s natural resources team, said Meridian strongly supports the communities it works in, as well as supporting a number of environmental initiatives.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor an award such as this,” said Colin Sinclair. [more]

Richard Henry/2 The 2004 Conservation Awards were presented at DOC’s annual Conservation Week Associates Function.

DOC’s Martin Rodd said last year the Lawrence Area School planted a wide range of native trees and shrubs at nearby Bellview farm. “They had a 99% survival rate which is amazing. This year they intend to plant an even wider range of 2000 trees and shrubs.”

Colin Sinclair presented the award to school principal John Auld and Stevie Robertson, the owner of Bellview farm. The school received $500 from Meridian Energy towards their project, and will benefit from ongoing technical and educational support for their project from DOC staff.

Martin Rodd said that the award was strongly contested, but the Lawrence Area School's ongoing project at Bellview stood out above the rest. Their native planting project involved not only pupils, but parents and supporters as well.

“A special mention should also go to Stevie Robertson, the landowner, who was described by the school as the driving force and inspiration behind the project, and has promoted appreciation of the environment, conservation and silviculture for pupils. This is a wonderful example of conservation with communities,” said Martin Rodd.

Colin Sinclair said that everyone involved in the project had worked hard to earn this award.

“This is a great opportunity for the youth of today to be able to learn about the natural environment. In the final analysis these young people are responsible for the future, and they should be encouraged as much as possible,“ said Colin Sinclair.

The award, made of pounamu and aluminium, is the work of Southland artist Russell Beck.

ENDS

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