Nationwide search for conservation innovators kicks off

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The search is on for big, bold, game-changing ideas and new solutions to New Zealand’s greatest environmental challenges, such as freshwater quality, climate change, species decline and invasive pests.

Open today, WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards will reward innovative environmental game-changers. To submit your idea, visit wwf-nz.crowdicity.com. Designed to help innovators fast-track their ideas to development, the Awards cover three categories – Engaging young people and communities, Predator Free New Zealand 2050, and an Open Category. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each category winner. Entries close on 15 October.

“The Conservation Innovation Awards celebrate Kiwi innovators whose bright ideas will make a real difference in the fight to protect our precious ecosystems and native species,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are looking for new ideas that have practical application and that are game changers for the environment.

“We encourage Kiwi innovators from all walks of life – from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in-between – to apply their creativity and come up with ideas, new technologies or innovative projects that will aid the work of frontline conservation throughout the country and tackle conservation obstacles.

“Ingenuity and innovation are characteristics that Kiwis are renowned for and the Conservation Innovation Awards has supported a number of innovative environmental solutions, including a commercial wasp bait, a freshwater testing system and an app to help kauri conservation.”

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.

The Awards are driven by an innovative crowd sourcing application process – where inventors, conservationists and inquiring minds can come together to propose and refine ideas in real time.

“The power of the crowd is gaining momentum and for the Conservation Innovation Awards this collective approach means that ideas for furthering conservation work, which will ultimately benefit all New Zealanders, can be fine-tuned to their full potential,” Ms Esterhazy said.

Entrants need to submit their ideas as soon as they can at wwf-nz.crowdicity.com

The 2016 Awards attracted a record 41 entries from across the country. Now in its fourth year, the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on 22 November.

For information about the Awards, past winners and how to enter, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation

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Louisa is the Communications Manager for WWF-New Zealand (World Wide Fund for Nature). She has extensive experience in the areas of media, communications and public relations. Her pen, camera and sense of humour have led her to wonderful work locations throughout Australia, Canada, USA, Solomon Islands, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and Peru. She was raised on a sheep and cattle farm in Outback Australia. Her specialty sectors are the environment (forest/marine/species conservation and climate change), crisis communications (biosecurity, floods and cyclones), and agriculture (livestock and broad-acre farming). She is an Open Water-accredited diver and has explored underwater ecosystems in the Solomon Islands and Cambodia.

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