Predator Free Franklin has a scooped a Mayoral Conservation Award.
The awards, started by Mayor Phil Goff last year, recognise the conservation work done by community groups across Auckland in six categories - individuals, schools, innovation, youth, restoration and collaboration.
Franklin Local Board chair Angela Fulljames says it is fantastic recognition for a group of hard-working people who have come together to work tirelessly to protect the environment.
Group member Glenn Richards says when the board chair suggested he nominate pest free campaigner Andrew Sinclair for an award, he outlined the Predator Free Franklin concept and how critical Sinclair’s role was to it.
“It came out of the blue when Predator Free Franklin was named as a finalist in the collaboration category, and now, to our immense surprise, we have won it.”
According to the 2013 census, there are about 2900 residences in the Hunua, Clevedon, Kawakawa Bay and Orere Point area.
Predator Free Franklin has held two Bait and Trap Days in Hunua and one in the other locations, attracting 230 or 7.5 per cent of householders to join the group’s database. “We’ve got lots of challenges in front of us, funding being the major one, but it’s been a great start. Things like the Mayoral Award will help a lot,” Richards says.
Group members aren’t letting success go to their heads, with a series of meetings next month to finalise details around implementation plans.
Richards was a presenter at the recent Pestival, where Mayoral Award finalists were announced, introducing the audience to Friends of Te Wairoa, the volunteer group that works to better the Wairoa River, Auckland’s second largest, and which is integral to Predator Free Franklin.
His presentation outlined the methods being used for predator control in the area, the Predator Free Franklin concept, and some of its results. There were even frozen ferrets as an introduction to plans for the implementation of trapping line to start in Hunua.
Also recognised as finalists were Jane Patterson and Mick Grantham, who work with schools in planting and trapping on the Awhitu Peninsula.
Patterson co-ordinates the Trees for Survival Programme, engaging students with restoration programmes, and Grantham helps students build kit-set rat traps he designed himself.
“They are our very own environmental power couple,” Fulljames says. “The value of their work can’t be over-stated because we are seeing pest numbers decline at Awhitu and Jane is doing great things in restoring sites.”