Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 10 July 2009 Contents LOCAL NEWS
10 July, 2009 | Page 7
Schools: Hedgehope and Garston, joint winners
Community Group: St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Inv)
Individual: Pat Turnbull (Tussock Creek) winner; Reg & Shirley
McLeod (Inv) highly commended
Commercial: Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track winner; Craigs Design &
Print (Inv) highly commended
Achiever: Alan Mark (Dunedin but acknowledged for his work in
Southland including Fiordland and Northern Southland)
ES Staff: Russell Winter (Dairy Liaison Officer)
Rural: Balleyhooley Dairies Ltd (Drummond) winner; Clean Green
Effluent Co (Inv) highly commended
Innovator: John White (Inv); Fat Hippo Design Group (Inv) highly
ES Councillors Special Award: Doug Speden (Edendale)
Southland Environment Award Winners 2009
Otago University Emeritus Professor
Alan Mark (pictured) was named
Environmental Achiever of the Year at
the awards last week.
Being part of the campaign to stop
the raising of the water level of Lake
Manapouri was one of Alan Mark’s
In the 1950s the New Zealand
Electricity Department planned to build a power station
at Lake Manapouri raising the level of Lake Manapouri
by up to 30 metres, and merging it with Lake Te Anau.
In 1969, Prof Mark was invited to investigate what
the impact of raising the lake level would be and he
supervised one of his students on the study. The
research showed the impact would be detrimental and
Prof Mark went public.
A few years later the electricity department wanted
to raise Lake Te Anau and Prof Mark was funded to
do more study which again showed there would be a
With increasing public concern about the future of the
lakes Prof Mark spoke to many environmental groups
around New Zealand. Eventually the high level of
interest led to the Labour Party landslide election win
in 1972, Prof Mark said. The new government set up
Guardians of Lake Manapouri, Monowai, and Te Anau to
oversee the use of the lakes and Prof Mark chaired the
group for 26 years.
This was the start of his involvement in environmental
debates like the sustainable use of the high country and
the wilding tree problem at Mid Dome.
He said research gave valuable insight into how an
environment could be used wisely to benefit everyone
with minimum damage. That way you got the best
compromise between conservation and development.
Prof makes his mark
Transformation in Garston
A scruffy piece of roadside in
the village of Garston has been
magically transformed into an
award-winning project by the
hard work of its school children
Garston School’s replanting an
area of waste land saw it named
co-winner of the schools section
of Environment Southland’s
annual Environment awards held in
Invercargill last week.
Principal Kathryn O’Loughlin said
the 200 square metre piece of land
was very shabby and was not a good
reflection of their values.
“We are keen on creating a beautiful
world,” Ms O’Loughlin said. “We want
our village to reflect what we think is
In 2007 members of the school
community, led by the school’s 32
pupils, started the back-breaking
work of clearing the broom,
periwinkle, every kind of weed and
the rubbish that people threw out
of their car windows, Ms O’Loughlin
said. After the weeds were gone the
area was spread with top soil, planted
in natives and then mulched.
The Department of Conservation and
Environment Southland helped with
advice on what plants were best
suited to the area and what to do to
help them survive bitterly cold winters
and scorching summers, she said.
The children were very proud of what
their hard work had achieved and
lately had received comments about
how good the area was looking. Any
visitor to the school was hijacked by
the children, shown the area and
told what it used to look like, she
The children were totally involved
in the project and had decided
the ongoing job of pulling up the
weeds would be done in their house
“The children were rapt to receive
the award, Ms O’Loughlin said. “It
seems to mean a lot to them that it
came from an outside source.”
The impressive results of the Garston
School children’s efforts.
Hump Track team walks the talk
The Tuatapere Hump Track Charitable Trust
was the winner of the commercial section. The
charitable trust manages the 53km Hump Ridge
track in Waitutu Forest in the south east of
Fiordland National Park.
Trust chairman Don Brown said much of the
work on the track was done by volunteers. He
estimated that since 1996 volunteers had put in
30,000 hours to get the track ready for trampers.
Prime Minister Helen Clark opened the track
in 2001. The Hump Track was one of the first
privately owned tramping tracks in New Zealand
but ran through Department of Conservation
land, he said. After DOC staff showed them
where the track could go, volunteers marked it,
cleared it and milled the timber. The timber was
made into 10km of board-walk which was flown
in by helicopter for contractors to lay out.
Since the opening many more volunteer hours
had gone into improvements. Mr Brown said
they had only entered the awards a week before
nominations closed. An ES councillor had walked
the track and suggested they enter, he said.
The Hump Track team (top, from left) Trish King,
Mandy Groshinski, Ali King, Daman Groshinski, Donald
Brown, (middle, from left) Graeme Scott, Johan Groters
(bottom, from left) Joyce Kolk, Kathy Harris.
The efforts of Southlanders caring for the
environment were recognised and celebrated
at the 2009 Environment awards held in
Invercargill, last week.
Environment Southland communications co-
ordinator Michele Poole said there were 22
nominations for the awards and the unusual
thing was that most were first timers. Usually
there were many more nominees who entered
again several years into their project.
Environment Southland was impressed by the
number of new nominees, Ms Poole said. This
meant there were new projects happening all the
time and people were continuing to do new and
different things for the environment, she said.
The awards not only recognise those caring for
the environment, they also encourage others to
be responsible too, she said.
The business category was a good example of
this. In the beginning businesses won the award
for having good in-house recycling programmes.
Today recycling was common and most
businesses had recycling of some kind.
What was seen as innovative and even a little
strange today would become commonplace 10
years down the track, she said.
First timers dominate awards
Garston School pupils hard at work
transforming the waste area outside
their school into an award-winning
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