Innovators in awards final
Four entrants from the Waikato region are now finalists in the 2017 World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Conservation Innovation Awards.
The awards are designed to help innovators fast-track their ideas to development. The three categories were: engaging young people and communities, predator-free New Zealand 2050 and an open category. A prize of $25,000 is awarded to the three winners.
The finalists include three teams from Hamilton — Investigating the Weird Biodiversity of the Waikato, NZAutoTraps and Autonomous Weed Eaters — while Raglan also has one finalist, Kiwi Trailblazers.
Each team was tasked with picking a conservation problem and trying to solve it. Their idea had to be new and unique.
NZAutoTraps has worked on a project to meet the 2050 Predator Free pest goal.
The team developed a trap that would kill both possums and rats, rather than needing two different types.
Brent Beaven, a commenter on on the awards online forum, said the idea was good conceptually.
“Not only does it eliminate interference from rats which can make a possum trap non usable, but also allows both species to be targeted at once,” Mr Beaven said.
Autonomous Weed Eaters’ idea was to develop a specific bio control agent to reduce the negative effect of weeds on New Zealand.
The team is working with Waikato Regional Council and hopes to have a comprehensive programme in the next five to 10 years.
Kiwi Trailblazers is an environmental education app which encourages people to explore New Zealand’s coastal environment.
The team’s main goal is to address the collapse of children’s engagement with nature. The team says that adults who experience nature as a children are likely to be motivated to protect the environment.
Jenny Bond, a commenter on the awards online forum said the idea was helpful as the app would identify creatures as well.
“I am often out and about with my grandchildren and when they ask the name of some creature and I don’t know, this will be the solution,” Ms Bond said.
There were 47 entries from across the country. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Wellington on November 22.
WWF is one of the world’s largest independent conservation organisations, with more than 5 million supporters and a global network in more than 100 countries.
The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Ltd and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge+