Celebrating Waitākere’s environmental champions
The biennial Love Your Place Awards celebrates volunteers, businesses and schools making a difference for the environment in the Waitākere Ranges Local Board area.
Nominations closed on 8 November 2020 and the Awards Night was held on 1 December 2020.
Judges’ Commendations and Award Winners
DENISE YATES AWARD
For youth (under 16) showing emerging leadership around local environmental issues
Eloise Downes is a passionate environmentalist from Laingholm Primary who is a regular volunteer and organiser, and who engages with her school’s leadership as well as her local MP to suggest new ways to better care for the environment.
Miro Maitland-Thoresen has been committed to a wide range of environmental care initiatives at Konini School over the last six years, and has been a key contributor to their work in becoming a Green Gold School.
Dan Percy is the Junior Scientist of the Laingholm community group Restoration Ruatuna, where he has collected seawater samples, provided advice on identifying animals, and helped to maintain predator trap and bait lines. Through his encouraging leadership of others, he demonstrates ways that other young people can get involved.
For a school or school group taking action on a local environmental issue
Laingholm Primary School Outdoor Classroom: Experiential Learning Leaders have started ecological restoration on an overgrown wild space where invasive weeds had taken over, and are working on identifying and locating other pest plants in their school.
Woodlands Park School engages in litterless lunches, worm farming and composting, bee-keeping, food growing, sustainable fundraising and native bush regeneration.
Konini School runs a range of lunchtime environmental activities including pest control, caring for chickens, gardening, bush-related learning and caring for the school stream. The school community is restoring an area of native bush where they plant saplings that have been grown at the school nursery. They’re also a collection point for recycling a variety of items, and promote litterless lunches, worm farming and composting, and waste free events.
For a business or social enterprise making a contribution to improve the environment
RE:generate markets runs popular regular second-hand markets for kids’ items and adults’ fashion, which provide an easy way for people to reduce waste and carbon emissions by buying and selling second-hand items locally.
Tall Poppies Glen Eden is a daycare provider which has the vision of a learning environment full of resources made from renewable or recycled materials, and moving away from plastic. They have provided their families with cloth nappies, reusable wet bags and cloth wipes, and encourage rubbish-free lunches with real ceramic crockery and stainless steel cutlery.
For an outstanding volunteer group or organisation taking action on a local environmental issue
NZ Bird Rescue Trust cares for 4 to 5 thousand birds a year with the help of nearly 100 volunteers. Their facilities have been completely refitted to increase their capacity to care for the birds, leading to increased survival in the wild.
The Cornwallis Petrel-Heads are carrying out a predator trapping programme to protect the Grey-Faced Petrels of Cornwallis, and their dedication has resulted in many other native birds coming back in abundance.
Te Henga Tuturiwhatu has engaged in a comprehensive predator control programme, recruited skilled locals, and engaged in public education with the goal of reversing the current serious decline of the Tuturiwhatu or New Zealand Dotterel at Bethells Beach.
Friends of Milan Reserve have transformed a poorly maintained Glen Eden reserve into a tranquil green space that is enjoyed by local families. They have gone to great lengths to make sure that neighbours from all cultural backgrounds feel welcomed and included in ecological restoration activities.
For an outstanding individual volunteer taking action on a local environmental issue
Allan Johnson is a regular volunteer with Project Twin Streams Glen Eden, and a passionate environmental weeder with a mission to eradicate woolly nightshade.
Deirdre Green is the dedicated coordinator of Laingholm community group Restoration Ruatuna who brings the local community group together monthly to carry out ecological restoration work.
John Staniland has voluntarily been the ranger for Matuku Reserve since its inception 35 years ago, working on the property doing everything from predator and weed control to guiding group walks, writing about plants, and helping scientists, researchers and students.
Megan Fitter has initiated, coordinated and led the Little Muddy Creek Restoration project for more than a decade, which is a pivotal project in local children’s and neighbours’ conservation education.
John Edgar has been President of the Waitākere Ranges Protection Society for the past 22 years. Under his leadership, the Society achieved permanent legal protection for the Ranges via the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act, and since then has successfully defended the Ranges many times against inappropriate developments and activities. He has collaborated with others on a huge range of conservation issues, and his generosity with his time and energy has been pivotal to the success of many local campaigns, whether they were about a single tree or many hectares of native bush.
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Past award winners
The Love Your Place Awards are funded by the Waitākere Ranges Local Board and organised and hosted by EcoMatters.