Media Release 14 December 2012
Volunteer environmental efforts rewarded
The Waikato Environment Centre celebrated the work of the volunteers in the Environmental sector on Wednesday night with a function held at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre. Guests enjoyed a guided walk through nearby Jubilee Bush to see the results of six years’ weeding by the local Weedbusters group, before attending the awards presentations.
Sally Sheedy, Parks and Open Spaces Manager at HCC, presented the 2012 Hamilton City Council Kowhai award to the Tzu Chi Foundation. This group of twenty plus volunteers have been helping to restore the riverbank and gully areas at Te Hikuwai Reserve since 2006, during which time the area has transformed from a weed-infested gully and river margin into a flourishing natural area, now being visited regularly by tui.
Members of the group are often new migrants to Hamilton and the project has enabled them to make contact with local residents and with their natural good spirit overcome communication barriers. Coordinator, Peter Hsaio, accepted the award on behalf of the group.Photo: Peter Hsiao, Mrs Lin Suyen and Dr. Lim Woei Chet
Friends of Pukemokemoke scooped the Print House sponsored award for a group involved in conservation work in the Waikato region. Alan Leadley accepted the award from Waikato Environment Centre chair, Jason Cargo, on behalf of the group and described some of the work that they have been undertaking. Pukemokemoke Bush reserve is situated about 7kms from Woodlands near Gordonton, and the group has worked incredibly hard clearing impenetrable stands of privet, and converting the land into a beautiful picnic area for the local community. They have also put in a boardwalk in the flood-prone area, irradicated pest animals, and planted huge numbers of trees. Besides all that they have also produced a school resource and volunteers regularly take visitors and school educational groups through the reserve.Photo: Alan Leadley from Friends of Pukemokemoke accepting the Print House Award from Jason Cargo, Chair of Waikato Environment Centre, with Centre Manager Katherine Hay
The prize for an individual, a print from local artist, Adrienne Grant, was awarded to Jan Simmons in recognition of her outstanding contribution towards biodiversity restoration which she undertakes in her own time as a volunteer, promoting the planting of native plant species around Hamilton and areas beyond. She has been the convenor of Eco-sourced Waikato since its inception in 2000.
Maxine Fraser, a fellow volunteer, says that, “Jan is always cheerful, listening carefully to people’s plant questions, and giving her time and sharing her knowledge freely.”
Jan began a major voluntary project in 2005, when she established and continues to oversee volunteers at the Tamahere Community Nursery to provide eco-sourced plants for local use by gully owners. The nursery also now accommodates specialist enrichment plants for the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park near Hamilton Zoo. Activities include eco-sourced seed collection, potting up, weeding and education.
Other voluntary biodiversity projects she works on are weed clearance in Whewells Bush (DoC reserve in Matangi); providing plants and labour for a Pirongia wetland restoration and for a bush enhancement on a Waitomo farm.
Congratulations to the winners and thanks from the community for all their hard work.