Forest & Bird honour for conservation educator

Eleanor Bissell of Christchurch has received Forest & Bird’s prestigious Old Blue award for her dedication to conservation and especially for nurturing a new generation of conservationists through her work with the Kiwi Conservation Club for children.

Eleanor Bissell

Eleanor Bissell

The award, announced at Forest & Bird’s annual conference this weekend, recognises Eleanor Bissell’s work with the North Canterbury branch of Forest & Bird and to conservation in the region.

Eleanor Bissell has led the branch’s Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC) group for more than 15 years, and is renowned for her commitment to passing on a love of nature to children. Her experience as a teacher has ensured children get the most out of their KCC trips and experiences.

“She is a natural leader, to watch her with children is quite a revelation. She had been a teacher and this shows in the way she presents things in imaginative ways most people would not think of,” says KCC National Coordinator Ann Graeme.

“One thing that stands out is her very evident passion for nature, it’s obvious she cares for the natural world. She sees the beauty in the natural world and shows others,” she said.
Eleanor Bissell’s extensive knowledge of nature, skills as a teacher and practical knowhow as a camp organiser and cook, have been a perfect combination for her KCC work
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Jane Demeter, who works with Eleanor in KCC and is also a former Environment Canterbury councillor, says Eleanor Bissell’s enthusiasm, energy and passion stand out.

“She is incredibly empathetic with children, the kids love her. She is incredibly creative, the activities are always very active, and she will use activities like music and drama to keep the kids interested.

“New Zealand would be a much better place if everyone was as committed as Eleanor in effecting change – she really walks the talk.”

Eleanor Bissell has been heavily involved in other Forest & Bird and conservation projects including the restoration of Travis Wetlands on the outskirts of Christchurch. Her love of nature shines through in all she does.

Although her family has suffered a lot of disruption due to the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes, her commitment to KCC and Forest & Bird has never wavered.