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Nationwide search for conservation innovators kicks off

Nationwide search for conservation innovators kicks off

Are you an inventor, an innovator, a creator? Could $25,000 help turn your idea into reality?

Tomorrow, the search is on—from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in between—for new ideas that could change the face of conservation.

Open from 26 September to 14 October, WWF-New Zealand’s Conservation Innovation Awards are designed to seek out and reward innovation that could be a game-changer for those on the frontline of conservation. Entries need to be submitted via Prize packages of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winning entries.

Conservation Innovation Award winners are at the forefront of conservation thinking, with ideas that look set to change the game for New Zealand's voluntary conservation army, and our precious wildlife.

“If you have a great idea that could make a difference to the way communities can protect our special places and wildlife, enter this year’s Conservation Innovation Awards,” said Michele Frank, WWF’s Head of New Zealand Projects.

“We’re really keen to hear about any ideas, gadgets, tools or innovative projects that tackle conservation obstacles, like controlling invasive pests, improving water quality or saving native species,” Ms Frank said.

“Increasingly, conservation battles are being fought by groups of committed volunteers, who often lack much-needed resources."

The Awards are driven by an innovative crowd sourcing application process – where inventors, conservationists, inquiring minds and ideas people can propose, critique and refine ideas in real time through an online ideas platform.

The 2015 Awards attracted 34 applications and 780 individuals participating in the online forum. Last year’s award winning ideas were: Lure, Trap & Retreat, an innovate lizard monitoring system; the Uawanui Project, an iwi-led community project from the East Cape; and Vespex®, a new protein-based wasp bait that wasps carry back to their own nests.

The 2015 Awards met with strong, supportive feedback, including from applicant Sam Rye, who said: “exactly what we need in the sector is diversity of ideas and approaches which are nimble and compatible – this is strength and resilience”.

An independent judging panel will be looking for new ideas that have practical application and could benefit grass roots conservation groups. 2016 judges include: Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Matthew Monahan (Kiwi Connect); Head of Industrial Design & Innovation at Auckland University of Technology, Shane Inder; environmental research champion, Justine Daw (General-Manager of Landcare Research); and conservation visionary and Director of Project Janszoon, Devon McLean.

Now in its third year, the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on 8 November, 2016. The Awards are supported The Tindall Foundation.

Notes to editors:
• WWF-New Zealand’s Conservation Innovation Awards are open from 26 September to 14 October
• Information on how to apply and judging criteria available at and
• Innovating for Conservation – the story of WWF-New Zealand’s 2014 Conservation Innovation Awards
• WWF’s Conservation Innovation Awards 2015 – highlights from the night

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