NZPCN Awards Efforts to Protect Flora
Rescuing a lowland swamp forest, protecting native plants on private land, and raising awareness of the endangered kakabeak are all initiatives recognised in awards announced by the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network (NZPCN) this week.
Those honoured have been described as New Zealand's "leading guardians" of the country's native plants. They include a Nelson school, plant nursery and community group, a North Island city council and a legendary Department of Conservation plant conservation ranger.
NZPCN President Philippa Crisp said the awards highlighted a growing awareness and enthusiasm of the issues facing indigenous flora. "They recognise the remarkable efforts of a range of people and organisations, and the growing depth of feeling for New Zealand's indigenous flora," she said. "These individuals and groups are the leading guardians of our country's native plants."
Department of Conservation Ranger Graeme Atkins based in Ruatoria received the Network's individual award for his efforts caring for indigenous plants on the East Coast.
"Graeme has a remarkable history of successful conservation projects, including setting up one of the largest plant protection areas in New Zealand and developing the Atkins detection method for Dactylanthus taylori (Wood rose)," said Ms Crisp. "He's also worked tirelessly with schools to save kakabeak "one of the country's most threatened species" from extinction."
Developing a new threatened species policy designed to protect endangered plants on private land won Waitakere City Council the Network's Council Award. The council also engaged contractors and volunteers to survey for threatened plants and was the first in New Zealand to develop an eco-sourcing policy for restoration plantings.
In the South Island the NCPCN's Community Award went to the Friends of Mapua, who are restoring a Moutere lowland and lowland swamp forest adjoining Aranui Park. The work has involved planting, protecting and weeding the area focusing on the district's rare and threatened species and collaborating with Mapua School in an environment education programme for older pupils.
Nelson's Titoki Nursery, a specialist wholesale native plant nursery, won the Nursery Award for growing plants in bulk quantities for conservation, revegetation, wetlands, farm planting, land development and shelter. Nursery staff have been significant supporters of conservation for many years.
And the School Award also went to the South Island; Richmond's Salisbury School provides special education to female students with intellectual impairments, and since 2004 students have been working on planting and caring for a native bush area.
"The students funded the project by growing vegetables and shrubs to sell," said Philippa Crisp. "They've learnt a great deal from the project and now have an emotional connection with the area. It's yet another example of the wonderful work being done in native plant protection all over the country, and the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network congratulates all award winners."