Environment Award winners announced

Southland’s environmental champions have been recognised at the 22nd Southland Community Environment Awards in Invercargill on Wednesday.

There were 32 nominees representing environmental action being undertaken in all corners of the region, by people from all walks of life.

Those recognised by the awards were:

  • The Bluff Hill/ Motupōhue Environment Trust in the Environmental Action in the Community category for their dedication to restoring native birdsong to Bluff Hill. Formed in early 2008, they have a dedicated band of volunteers who work tirelessly to carry out an intensive pest control programme which now extends off the hill and across the harbour to Joey’s Island in Awarua Bay, and along the Greenpoint Walkway and Flat Hill Wind Farm. They’ve installed a staggering 1,318 pest control devices and the results are now being seen, with an increase in birdlife and the recent translocation of 41 South Island robin from Waikaia to Bluff Hill.
  • Kindergartens South won the Environmental Action in Education Award in recognition of their Nature Discovery programme, carried out on a ten acre block of land on Myross Road. It offers children from 11 kindergartens the opportunity to understand the health and viability of our environment and grow their ecological identities. Their current focus is on pest eradication and empowering children to be leaders of environmental learning with a high attendance of parent helpers and amazing parent/child evenings that allow the children to share their knowledge.
  • Matt McKenzie was presented with the award for Environmental Leadership in Farming and Land Management, for his commitment to taking environmental impact into consideration with all his farming decisions. Trained as an engineer, Matt has taken over his parents’ farm in Woodlands and converted it to dairying and has a well thought out plan to get the best from his land. This includes wide buffers along his fenced waterways to accommodate existing flax and vegetation and minimised the impact on critical source areas by leaving these areas ungrazed or fenced for stock exclusion.
  • Phil Newbury was recognised for Individual Environmental Leadership or Action for the unique way he has contributed to keeping waste glass out of Southland landfill. Hehas been working as a stained glass artist since the 1960’s. A desire to move away from commercial work lead him to recycling sheet glass, as well as other types of glass waste, creating high-end art forms, which have proved sought-after all over the globe.
  • RDM Services took out the award for Environmental Innovation for their solution on tackling the issue of damp, cold homes in Southland. The company has a clear mission for homes to be healthy by being warm and dry, using energy efficient products that are affordable to run, and designed, built and tested in Invercargill for our environment.
  • Southland disAbility Enterprises was awarded the prize for Environmental Leadership in Business this year.With over 100 employees, Southern disAbility Enterprises provides a service to the community that goes far beyond its mission to enrich the lives of people with disabilities. The business is making big inroads in the recycling of baleage wrap and agricultural plastics. They are currently processing around 500 tonnes of baleage wrap a year, they are keen to build this to 1000 tonnes.
  • The Invercargill City Council Parks and Reserves team took home the Environmental Achievement awardin recognition of their commitment tousing both innovation and creativity when it comes to their restoration projects. This includes opening up drainage areas in Queens Park so the waterways can support birds and insects in the area. Behind the scenes, their commitment to recycling saw them successfully move from using coal in the nursery boiler to woodchips from tree-trimming. They have also removed exotic forestry from Bluff Hill and cleverly used these trees as mulch for native seedlings which have been planted in their place.
  • Kaitiaki Tohu Pai (Guardian Award) (a new award this year) was presented to Janet Gregory for her outstanding commitment to the promotion and protection of biodiversity across the Murihiku community. Janet is passionate about both farming and the environment. She has provided invaluable support for community groups, worked with farmers and landowners on catchment scale projects, and pushed for sustainability in the deer industry. She has also led the Southland Biodiversity forum. She is also part of the Southern Rural Support trust, helping both humans and animals after severe weather events. Her contribution to water quality improvement, enhanced biodiversity and to behaviour change is significant.
  • Graeme and Jan Appleby were the recipients of this year’s Councillors' Special Award for their work to enhance a peat bog environment on their property. The Appleby’s run a 260 hectare dairy farm near Drummond. They purchased an additional block of land with 4.4 hectare peat bog, which at the time was covered in 4 metre high gorse and other weeds. After some consultation with local iwi, Department of Conservation and Environment Southland, they began restoring the peat bog, which now has a QEII covenant. It is home to many special birds and plants including Australian bittern and rare orchids.

Click here to find out more about all the nominees and to see the nominee videos.

Page reviewed: 04 May 2016 11:53am