Conference on 'citizen-initiated' conservation

More than 170 people will attend a conference in Dunedin this month aimed at helping ''citizen-initiated'' conservation meet the challenges it is facing as the responsibility for looking after New Zealand's biodiversity increasingly falls on the community.

Conservation Inc, to be held at the Dunedin Centre on October 17 and 18, is being organised by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust.

The conference will celebrate the trust's 25th year and attempt to explore how people can meet the challenges faced under a new Department of Conservation structure.

Trust general manager Sue Murray said people from the Far North to Stewart Island had registered.

''It shows there is nationwide interest in wanting to understand the new conservation and its impact on community groups.''

Doc staff from around the country and local body representatives will be among those attending.

The conference has four themes - how groups can collaborate, stay viable, respond to biodiversity needs and what is feasible.

New Dunedin-based Doc director of conservation partnerships Barry Hanson will speak on the ''new look'' department.

Tourism Industry Association head Martin Snedden, representatives of the trust's major sponsor of 24 years, Mainland, and representatives from Forest and Bird, councils and WWF are some of the other speakers.

In an effort to get groups thinking about succession planning, a session involving representatives from different schools speaking about what conservation will look like in 25 years will close the conference, she said.

The day before the conference, three workshops will be held covering governance, and sustainable fundraising, with the third at Orokonui Ecosanctuary on integrated pest management.


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