Saviours of Otago skinks win award

CHE BAKER IN CROMWELL
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2012

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The dedication of one Central Otago group to restore and maintain biodiversity conservation in the region earned them the supreme award at the Central Otago District Community Awards last night.

At the awards, held in Cromwell, the Central Otago Ecological Trust was recognised for their dedication and beat 22 other groups to win the top prize.

The trust is responsible for the Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary, which houses native lizards and plant species that once flourished in the dry inland basins of Otago.

TrustPower community relations representative Jess Somerville said the trust, which was made up of 100 volunteers, successfully reintroduced a self-sustaining wild population of Otago skinks inside a predator-proof fence.

Central Otago mayor Tony Lepper said it was great to be able to recognise the achievements of Central Otago volunteers.

"The Central Otago Ecological Trust and their flagbearer, the Otago skink, are a fantastic example of the community getting involved in conservation and the preservation of our unique biodiversity.

"Recognition of the trust's efforts will give them the opportunity to highlight their important message to a national audience and it will help raise the profile of this unique and wonderful Central Otago resident," Mr Lepper said.

For winning the supreme award, the trust received a framed certificate, a trophy and $1500.

The trust will represent the district at the 2012 TrustPower National Community Awards, which are being held in the North Island in March next year.

Dunstan High School head boy Ged Finch won the 2012 TrustPower Central Otago Youth Community Spirit Award.

Finch was recognised for the time and energy he contributed to school and community projects.

In total, TrustPower donated $5250 to various community groups at the awards.

Other winners were:

Heritage and Environment

Winner: Teviot Valley 2007 Society

Runner-up: Keep Alexandra Clyde Beautiful

Commendation: Naseby Information and Crafts Inc

Health and Well Being

Winner: Promote Dunstan Inc

Runner-up: Cancer Society New Zealand Otago and Southland DivisionCommendation: Naseby Vision

Arts and Culture

Winner: Central Otago Arts Trust

Runner-up: Clyde Theatre Group

Sport and Leisure

Winner: Millers Flat Swimming Pool Committee

Runner-up: Alexandra BMX Club Inc

Educational and Child/Youth Development

Winner: Cromwell Girl Guiding

Runner-up: Number 50 (Alexandra) Squadron Air Training Corps

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- The Southland Times

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