Forest & Bird honours conservationist

27 Jun 2011

 Forest & Bird has awarded conservationist Eugenie Sage its top honour of a Distinguished Life Membership in recognition of her outstanding service to the organisation and to conservation and the environment.

Eugenie Sage has made an invaluable contribution to the environment and conservation in Canterbury, the South Island and New Zealand. The award was presented by Forest & Bird President Barry Wards at the organisation’s annual conference in Wellington this weekend.

Renowned for her restrained but passionate advocacy of conservation and the environment and a relentless work schedule, Eugenie has played a key role in many environmental campaigns.

“Eugenie is a phenomenally good advocate, she’s very personable, as well as having an incredibly sharp mind and an amazing work ethic,” said Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“She is insightful and fearless, and she represented Forest & Bird so well at the environment court, public meetings, and on the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee,” he said.

She played an influential role in campaigns to end the logging of native forests on the West Coast, improving protection for the South Island high country and West Coast wetlands.

In 2007, she became a regional councillor at Environment Canterbury until the councillors were controversially dismissed by the government and replaced by commissioners in 2010. She was also a member of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy steering group and is currently a member of CWMS regional and zone committees.

Between 2006 and 2010 she was part of the West Coast Marine Protection Forum, which brought together environmental, recreation, community and commercial interests to try to achieve better protection of the region’s marine environment. During the same period, she was a member of the Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee.

Eugenie worked as Forest & Bird’s Canterbury/West Coast field officer and later as South Island Field Coordinator for Forest & Bird from 1993 until 2007. Earlier she also served as secretary of the North Canterbury branch and between 1987 and 1990 she worked as a ministerial media advisor to Helen Clark.

Forest & Bird members recall how Eugenie would often be found in her office late in the evening or at the weekend and her eagerness to provide information, encouragement and advice lasted well beyond the normal working day.

Eugenie continues to support Forest & Bird and many other conservation and environmental groups on a mostly voluntary basis.