Conservation board vacancies for key roles

The Southland Conservation Board is calling for nominations for the board with five of the 11 present board members standing down next year.

Four members have reached the end of their terms and another position is vacant after the resignation of one board member.

The Department of Conservation Southland Conservancy community support manager Sarah Murray said conservation boards represented the community and played a vital role in conservation management in Southland.

"They provide a way for local people to be part of conservation decisions and it's important that we get a good mix of people from right across the Southland community," she said.

It was vitally important as a community Southland worked together to restore and improve its natural environment, she said.

"Conservation board membership is one way people can get involved and become part of looking after what is special about the region."

Outgoing board member and former chairman of the Southland Conservation Board Robin McNeill said being on the board was a lot of hard work but very rewarding.

"It's not a job for anyone who doesn't have an interest in the conservation estate but it is democracy in action with the board a conduit between the public and DOC," he said.

The board was not about an individual advocating for a particular cause or organisation but was a forum for members to bring the best of their abilities to the table to make sure the conservation estate was managed in the best way possible for future generations, Mr McNeill said.

The Southland Conservancy was diverse and allowed board members to participate in field trips to some remote and unique regions, he said.

Appointments to conservation boards are for a term of up to three years and will take effect from 1 July 2013. Appointments are made by the Minister of Conservation.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said preference would be given to people who lived within the board area they were nominated for with a balance in experience, geographic spread, gender, age and representation of community interests.

Nomination forms are available on the Department of Conservation's website and close on January 25.

The Southland Times