Hardworking nature lovers from across Aotearoa will receive a special acknowledgement for their conservation efforts in a new Forest & Bird project launching today, as part of its centennial celebrations.
‘Conservation Heroes’ asks people to nominate those who they feel best demonstrate a commitment to protecting Aotearoa New Zealand’s unique native wildlife and wild places.
The project aims to showcase the collective impact of the amazing people out in our communities and their many individual actions, while promoting the message that there are myriad ways to protect nature.
Forest & Bird’s Chief Executive Nicola Toki says the project is an opportunity to celebrate the phenomenal mahi of everyday conservation heroes while encouraging more people to get involved.
“People might think that pest control and planting native trees are the main activities when it comes to protecting the environment, however this project aims to shine a light on the many different ways to look after te taiao, so that nature can look after us.”
Spreading awareness of environmental issues through art, inspiring a love for nature through storytelling, and environmental education are examples of important actions people take in the effort to protect the natural world.
“We all have the capacity to drive change for the better and make caring for nature a part of our everyday life.
"Whether you're one of the many school children around the country who check rat traps in their backyards, a young person who is an active climate campaigner, a volunteer who’s spent decades with their hands in the soil planting native trees, a community group raising money to protect local wildlife – or you care for the environment in another way – you can all be heroes,” Ms Toki says.
“We are part of nature, and the health of our natural world affects us too – no matter where we live, it impacts us all. This project is a chance to demonstrate that anyone can care for te taiao, in whatever way they choose.”
The project will run from 19 June 2023, marking the start of National Volunteer Week, through to February 2024.
People can nominate their hero using an online form, available here in English and in te reo Māori. Submissions can include a photograph of the hero and a short description from the nominator as to why their hero’s work inspires them.
Forest & Bird is excited to share images of nominees and their unique conservation stories through an online gallery within our website. By showcasing a diverse range of conservation efforts all in one place, the gallery will serve as a celebration and visual documentation of everyday conservation heroes across Aotearoa.