July 8, 2008

Environment Awards Show Growing Awareness

By KEAN, Nicola

THE planet was the ultimate winner at the Southland Environment Awards last night, with a record number of nominations this year.

The awards, in their 13th year, had 45 nominations spread over nine categories, Environment Southland spokeswoman Michelle Poole said.

The record level of interest showed a growing awareness of the environment, she said.

"There's just more and more people aware of environmental issues." Among the winners were Waianiwa School, for achieving zero waste; New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, for restoration work on Tiwai Peninsula, and Te Ao Marama, for the Te Tangi a Tauira resource management plan.

Councillor and judge Marion Miller said she was initially reluctant to get involved with the awards but was now a convert.

"When I saw the standard of the entries, I was delighted ... There are some real innovators there." Southland Enterprises, which won the Environmental Innovator category for its baleage wrap recycling scheme, was particularly worthy of the award, she said.

"That's wonderful, really." Mrs Miller also impressed by the efforts of the Pomona Island Charitable Trust for its pest eradication programme on the island.

"They're just so committed and energetic and it's their mission." Award recipients Schools (sponsored by WasteNet): Waianiwa School, achieving zero waste in the school environment; highly commended, Southland Girls' High School.

Environmental Innovator (sponsored by ILT): Southland Enterprises, for implementing recycling schemes for baleage wrap, supermarket plastic bags; highly commended, Ascot Projects Ltd.

Individual: (sponsored by Forsyth Barr) Graeme Miller, for effectively ending the threat that Spartina posed to Southland's coastal environment; highly commended, Jimmy Dixon of the Aparima Wastebusters.

Environmental Achiever (sponsored by Real Journeys): Te Ao Marama Inc, for the groundbreaking resource management plan Te Tangi a Tauira; highly commended, Fonterra Edendale Dairy Factory.

Community Group (sponsored by NZAS): Pomona Island Charitable Trust, for eradicating all pest animals from the island to create a safe habitat for rare and endangered birds; highly commended, Otatara Landcare Group.

Environment Southland Staff Award (sponsored by Lindsay McKenzie): Richard Bowman, biosecurity manager, for his efforts to promote awareness of biodiversity.

Commercial (sponsored by AWS Legal): New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Ltd, for restoration work on the Tiwai Peninsula; highly commended, Wairaurahiri Jet.

Rural (sponsored by Landcorp Farming Ltd): Southern Wetlands Trust, for creating a wetlands at Taramoa that provides habitat for wildfowl; highly commended, Jared and Prue Collie.

Special Award (sponsored by Environment Southland's councillors): Ian Beker, for his innovation and tenacity in establishing new opportunities to recycle waste products.


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