Cleaning up nets award

Facilitator Clair Higginson speaks at the awards function in Wellington, while Environment...
Facilitator Clair Higginson speaks at the awards function in Wellington, while Environment Minister Nick Smith looks on. Photo by Neil McKenzie.
Riverside work attracts Green Ribbon recognitionA Central Otago group has won a national environmental award for inspiring its community to help clean up part of the Clutha riverbank near Alexandra last year.

MAD4CO (Making a Difference for Central Otago) was the only Otago group to feature in the annual Green Ribbon awards.

Minister for the Environment Nick Smith announced the nine winners last week and said the awards recognised groups addressing environmental issues and inspiring others to take action.

MAD4CO facilitator Clair Higginson said it was an honour for the group's efforts to be recognised, but even more rewarding was the impact of the project itself, which involved about 1500 people.

The project included cleaning up a stretch of the Clutha riverbank near Alexandra on June 4 last year and planting a buffer zone of trees in another part of town.

The Department of Conservation, the Otago Regional Council, the Central Otago District Council, Central Otago Rural Education Activities Programme (Reap), Contact Energy, Central Excavating, Central Stories, Central Otago WasteBusters, Opus and Keep Alexandra Clyde Beautiful were all involved.

"Bringing all those groups together and being able to use the resources and skills of each others' organisations to plan and then do a huge amount of work - and seeing how much goodwill was generated and how individuals were motivated to so do something themselves - that was the pay-off," Ms Higginson said.

"It was very exciting and the momentum is still going."

As part of the project, car bodies were removed from both sides of the river, volunteers removed rubbish, and 500 trees were planted in a buffer zone between homes and light industry in Boundary Rd.

MAD4CO is the "action arm" of Central Otago Reap's sustainable living programme, Ms Higginson said.

She attended the awards at Parliament on Thursday evening and said representatives from the district council, WasteBusters, Doc, Opus and Contact attended as well.


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