24.06.2008: Walkways Group Cleans up at Awards

 

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WAIHI LEADER, TUESDAY JUNE 24 2008

Walkways group cleans up at awards

By SEAN SCOTT

WINNING an Oscar is usually reserved for a starring performance on screen, but for Waihi District Walkways, receiving the gong as top regional weedbuster at the Environment Bay of Plenty, Department of Conservation awards holds as much significance.

On Friday June 13 at DOCís conservancy office in Rotorua, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick was on hand to present Waihi Walkways co-ordinator Ruth Ordish with the accolade as first equal weed-buster on public land.

Waihi Walkways has created a series of linked walkways around Waihi, in doing so clearing the area of invasive weeds like elaeagnus.

The recent completion of the Mill Stream walkway bordering Morgan Park was used by the group to promote itself for the award ó showing before and after photographs of the area.

Ruth puts the win down to dedication of a core group of 8-10 staunch volunteers who, through excellent planning, foresight and most importantly passion, collected the award.

"We havenít participated in the biannual awards before and I was surprised with the result, as I held no expectations," said Ruth.

The criteria in winning the award involved volunteers going the extra mile by enhancing the natural environment by tackling invasive weeds that threaten to smoother native plants and cover walkways and streams.

"Pest plants can cause the deterioration of waterways, walkways and natural ecosystems. It is therefore heart-warming to hear about the hard work volunteers are carrying out to rid our community of noxious weeds and enhance our environment for everyone to enjoy," said EBOP pest plant officer Sara Brill.

Celebrating the awards evening are (from left) judge Karen Summerhays, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick and Ruth Ordish of Waihi Walkways.

Celebrating the awards evening are (from left) judge Karen Summerhays, Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick and Ruth Ordish of Waihi Walkways.

Ruth said it was an achievement dealing with and clearing a neglected area. "The elaeganus took up houselots of space, and I feel it is important for people to be aware not to dump garden weeds; this is one of our prime values."

The Waihi group received a plaque and vouchers for books and hardware. It has ongoing projects and members are currently working on Speakís Quarry.

Weedbuster Award Plaque

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Waihi District Walkways Inc. PO Box 241 Waihi New Zealand

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