Awarded for caring
Local conservationist Neil Bellingham is the winner of a Community Leadership Award at the first Wellington Encore Awards.
Mr Bellingham has been contributing to conservation and restoration in the region for 30 years, as a founding member of Friends of Maara Roa which is restoring the Cannons Creek area of Belmont Regional Park; the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet, and through the Trees for Survival nursery at Porirua College, which he established in 2001.
The awards, hosted by Greater Wellington Regional Council, the Department of Conservation and Hawke’s Bay Conservation Board, also acknowledged Friends of Mana Island, who received a highly commended in the Community Partnership Award.
They also awarded Porirua Autocrash, which was highly commended as an ‘‘ emerging environmental business’’. The family-owned and operated car repair business has reduced waste by recycling metal and cardboard.
The team at Autocrash has implemented an environmental plan to prevent chemical spillages that may harm the environment, and has measures in place to reduce energy consumption.
The event saw 11 winners in a range of categories, involving groups, schools, individuals and businesses who go the extra mile for environmental restoration and conservation.
Greater Wellington deputy chairperson Peter Glensor said the community’s efforts were crucial in stemming the tide of biodiversity loss.
He challenged the award winners to tell others what they were doing, and show them how they could improve the biodiversity in their local area.
‘‘This year is International Year of Biodiversity and with it has come increased exposure about the state of the world’s biodiversity.
‘‘ Scientists have warned that unless we do more to protect species, the intricately interconnected natural world will be damaged with devastating consequences,’’ he said.