New Zealand Science Teacher

Science Education & Society

WWF Conservation Innovation Awards now open

Open from 26 September to 14 October, WWF New Zealand’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards are designed to seek out and reward innovation for those on the front line of conservation. All ideas are welcome and entries can be submitted via wwf-nz.crowdicity.com

WWFHe Manawa Whenua - He Oranga Tangata / A healthy environment means healthy people: this is the founding principle of innovative iwi-led Uawanui Project which seeks to integrate conservation efforts alongside economic, social and cultural development and education. The project was a 2015 WWF Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) winner. 

The Uawanui Project has received overwhelming support from the wider East Coast community – including local voluntary groups and businesses, the farming and forestry industries and the education sector. The $25,000 WWF Awards grant has helped the project develop training, capacity building and communication around the wider Uawanui Project.

Chair of the Uawanui Project Governance Group, Victor Walker, said the CIA funding was “important and valuable in taking forward innovations around the Uawanui Project at Uawa Tolaga Bay.” 

Collaborative and innovative, the Uawanui Project has taken a whole-community approach to improving the environmental health of the Kaituna Estuary. The Hauiti Incorporation has led this estuary restoration work. The project is working to manage activities in the catchment that impact on the Uawa River, and the estuary – a “mountains-to-sea” approach. Uawanui Project’s commitment to conservation won the Protecting our biodiversity category in the 2016 Green Ribbon Awards.

Mr Walker said that the project was centred on input from marae, iwi, individuals, businesses, primary industries, landowners and schools to enable the community to manage the catchment in their everyday activities, with direct benefits to both community and environmental health. 

“Our activities have included trapping pests, weed control, planting and monitoring,” he said. 

One of the key mechanisms for innovation is developing individuals through integration of the Uawanui Project into the school curriculum. An Uawanui Sustainability class is provided through different levels of the Tolaga Bay Area School, providing a practical pathway to future knowledge and cultivating environmental leaders. 

WWF New Zealand is now searching the country again - from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in between - for new CIA ideas that could change the face of conservation. Prize packages of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winning entries. The Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation.

WWF New Zealand’s Conservation Innovation Awards are open from 26 September to 14 October

Information on how to apply and judging criteria is available here and here

Innovating for Conservation – a video detailing the story of WWF New Zealand’s 2014 Conservation Innovation Awards can be found here.

Highlights from the WWF’s Conservation Innovation Awards 2015 can be seen here.

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