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YHA Leads Way In Rewarding Young Conservationists

Caring for the environment is now more rewarding for young New Zealanders.

The country’s leading budget accommodation provider has reinforced its commitment to sustainable tourism through sponsorship of a national award for young environmentalists.

Hard on the heels of a bumper tourism year, YHA New Zealand has joined forces with the Department of Conservation to sponsor the Young Conservationist of the Year Awards.

"While the YHA enjoyed has enjoyed the benefits of a growing visitor market, we are also aware of the increased pressure unmanaged tourism puts on the environment that so many of our visitors come to enjoy," says the YHA’s Acting CEO Mike Northmore.

"That’s why we’re keen to encourage initiatives that help to manage and protect the country’s considerable natural resources."

Mike Northmore says YHA New Zealand has been dedicated to providing members from around the world and across New Zealand with the opportunity to experience the country’s unique environment and culture for almost 70 years. Encouraging a new generation of New Zealanders to protect the environment is an important part of this.

"We know that there are many young people making positive contributions to the environment ­ working with DOC through sponsorship of the Young Conservationist of the Year Awards is one way we can support their efforts."

The awards aim to promote the valuable contribution that young people make to the conservation of their natural and historic heritage, as well as encouraging their involvement in local conservation initiatives.

DOC has welcomed confirmation of the sponsorship, which coincides with Conservation Week.

The two organisations also teamed up earlier this year to launch the "Carry It In, Carry It Out" litter collection project with the YHA supplying DOC with rubbish bags to distribute to trampers and hikers.

Prizes for the YHA Young Conservationist of the Year Awards include a trip for two people to stay at YHA Australia’s Eco-Hostel just outside Melbourne as well as conservation trips provided by DOC and cash to support group activities.

The awards are open to individuals or groups of young people aged 11-17 with entries set to close in November and winners announced in December. Entry forms can be collected from YHAs, DOC offices and information is available online at www.stayyha.com and www.doc.govt.nz.

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