WWF's Conservation Innovation Awards

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Catch up on all the latest news, blogs and FAQs about the Conservation Innovation Awards here

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Wasps are a serious problem for people on picnics, but their effects on native insect populations are devastating.

Last year, The Nelson Mail Stuff.co.nz's Wasp Wipeout campaign saw a 98% reduction in wasp populations. Hundreds of volunteers set Vespex bait traps along hundreds of kilometres of DOC walking tracks and public areas.

Vespex was a 2015 #ConservationInnovation Awards winner & Wasp Wipeout was a 2016 Awards finalist.

Check out this article from Stuff (December 17 2017).

An invention testing real time E. coli levels in New Zealand waterways has won a 2017 Conservation Innovation Award.

It's the second year in a row South Wairarapa-based WAI NZ has won the WWF award. Last year they won with a device called the RiverWatch Water Sensor, which recorded a variety of water quality data in real time to a smartphone or the cloud.

Check out these great articles - RadioLIVE Auckland (23 Nov 2017 1:02 PM), newshub (24 Nov), Gisborne Herald (24 Nov 2017), Wanganui Chronicle (24 Nov 2017),  Wairarapa Times-Age Weekend (25 Nov 2017), Otago Daily Times (25 Nov 2017), The News Westport (29 Nov 2017),  nzherald online (4 Dec).

The real risk of E. coli freshwater contamination is under the New Zealand spotlight, and now there’s a new game-changer solution on the way to revolutionise how Kiwis can take action in the national freshwater emergency.

2017 WWF-New Zealand Conservation Innovation Award winner, Water Action Initiative New Zealand (WAI NZ) is developing a real-time water-borne E. coli contamination sensor that will give community members, regional councils and government a tool to monitor freshwater in real-time, providing immediate detection of increased E.coli levels so that swifter action, including early health warnings, can be taken. WAI NZ received a $25,000 Awards grant to fast-track their idea from concept to development, to maximize impact for conservation. 

“Freshwater is the lifeblood of our country, as waterways are essential for the health of people, wildlife and economy,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “From multiple scientific reports and concerning incidences like the 2016 gastroenteritis outbreak of Havelock North, we know that our freshwater is being polluted and our rivers and lakes are in trouble. This is a crisis that needs a national-level response, including accurate and timely water monitoring. We believe that the Real-time E. coli Sensor will revolutionise how freshwater can be tested with wider benefits for ecosystem health.”

Behind the innovation is South Wairarapa-based WAI NZ, founded by farmer Grant Muir and his son, biologist James Muir. WAI NZ is a national grassroots organisation that aims to reduce freshwater pollution by using technology to empower the public to be freshwater guardians.

“Up until now testing for water borne E. coli has been time consuming and often ineffectual with results taking up to 48 hours to incubate in a laboratory,” James Muir said. “Our purpose-built design is a crossover of straight biology with cutting-edge innovative technology and the results are instant”. 

Receiving the Conservation Innovation Award establishes a pathway to refining, developing and manufacturing the E. coli sensor with collaborative partners ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research),” Mr Muir said. “Developing and commercializing something as ground breaking as this requires a team effort and WAI NZ is welcoming partners and investors to become part of the team to take this idea through to development and commercialization.”

“We want to see all NZ rural and urban water catchments protected and enhanced for future generations, so winning this Award is such a boost with a pathway to refine, develop and manufacture the sensor”.

The 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

Out of a record-breaking 47 entries, the three winning ideas of WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards, announced on 22 November are: a high-tech thermal imaging solution for invasive species’ management; a device that detects real-time E. coli contamination in freshwater; and an innovation that combines thermal imaging and artificial intelligence for a predator free New Zealand.

The Kiwi winners will each be awarded a $25,000 grant to fast-track their ideas from concept to development, to maximize impact for conservation, making a real difference in the fight to protect precious ecosystems and native species.

“We’re thrilled to announce our amazing 2017 winners,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer.

“These big, bold ideas offer new solutions to some of our greatest environmental challenges, such as freshwater quality and invasive pests. These are Aotearoa’s only Conservation Innovation Awards, and WWF-New Zealand is passionate to support smarter ways to protect and restore NZ’s unique biodiversity.”

The winning ideas for 2017 are:

Thermal Animal Detection Systems (TADS). Using a helicopter, the military grade, thermal imaging TADS system can quickly cover difficult terrain and large forested areas and has the ability to detect 90 - 100% of a target invasive pest population (goats, deer and pigs). The judging panel was very impressed by TADS as it has huge potential to reduce costs and improve the effectiveness of managing ungulates in conservation reserves and offshore islands and could be used to monitor endangered native species. “We’re so excited to win this Award,” said winner Jordan Munn from Upper Hutt’s Trap and Trigger. “This financial help is the boost we need to finish the product and get it into the air working perfectly.”

Real-time E. coli Sensor. Wairarapa-based Water Action Initiative New Zealand (WAI NZ) is developing a water-borne E. coli contamination sensor that can give community members and regional councils a tool to monitor freshwater in real-time, providing immediate detection of increased E.coli levels so that swifter action can be taken. The judging panel believes the sensor will revolutionise how freshwater can be tested with wider benefits for ecosystem health. Winner Grant Muir said: “We want to see all NZ rural and urban water catchments protected and enhanced for future generations, so winning this Award is such a boost with a pathway to refine, develop and manufacture the sensor”.

Grid-i Pest Detective. The Grid-i innovation, developed by Wellington electronic design enthusiast Gerald Dickinson, combines thermal imaging and artificial intelligence software to identify and monitor specific invasive mammal pests like rats and possums. Having the ability to move away from current indiscriminate pest removal methods and target specific species more accurately will be widely beneficial for conservation operations working towards a Predator Free New Zealand 2050. The judging panel was excited as this technology has great potential for eradication operations to locate and remove the last few pests from an area. “This Award opens up many new doors where we can finally come out of a backyard garage to progress Grid-i as an advanced and more affordable predator management tool,” Mr Dickinson said.

Ms Esterhazy said it was a very tough competition this year to select the three inspiring winners as there were 35 impressive finalists.

“It was so close that we decided to award this year, for the first time, a special commendation to Squawk Squad,” she said. “Using fun and interactive school campaigns, Squawk Squad is an exciting idea from passionate young Kiwis who got 40,000 kids and 800 schools involved in conservation in one week. Kiwi kids are the future of conservation in New Zealand, so as our 2017 special commendation, we’re keen to work with Squawk Squad to maximize their conservation potential.”

The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

It’s what you’ve all been waiting for – the Conservation Innovation Awards are taking place tonight!

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted big, bold ideas to change the game for New Zealand’s nature. We received a record number of 47 entries this year, and choosing the winners was very challenging. Check out this highlights reel featuring all the 2017 entries.

Winners will be announced at the award ceremony tonight. We can’t wait! You can join in the fun on Twitter and Facebook – we’ll even be live-streaming some of the action, so no-one has to miss out.

In the meantime, check out this amazing video featuring 2016 award winners talking about how their innovations have been taken to the next level. It leaves only one question – what’s next for 2017?

Don’t forget to keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for updates, and we will be getting in touch soon with more information about the winners.

Kia ora folks, as you know the 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards has now closed. We had lots of great entries and 35 finalists made it past the milestones.

The finalists' ideas are currently being assessed and winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony on 22 November.

In the meantime, excitement and interest in the 2017 Awards is increasing and there has been fabulous media support for our finalists

Check out some of these great media stories:

WALL-E 2.0 – Robot cleaner conservation award finalist (NZ Herald/Kapiti News, Oct 25) and Kapiti News (25 Oct 2017).

TADS (Thermal Animal Detection Systems) – Thermal-imaging camera could be the next big thing in pest control (NZ Herald/Kapiti News, Oct 18). This  story also ran in the Dominion Post Wellington (17 Oct 2017), Dominion Post Wellington (19 Oct 2017), Taranaki Daily News (19 Oct 2017), Timaru Herald (19 Oct 2017), Waikato Times (19 Oct 2017), Manawatu Standard (19 Oct 2017) & Upper Hutt Leader (25 Oct 2017).

Make Every School a Forest School – Whanganui proposal to ‘make every school a forest school’ finalist in Conservation Innovation Awards (River City Press 19 Oct 2017), Whanganui forest education project finalist for WWF award (NZ Herald, 25 Oct), River City Press (19 Oct 2017) & Wanganui Chronicle (25 Oct 2017).

Māori Carbon Farming Cooperative – Coast carbon faming initiative a finalist in innovation awards (Gisborne Herald, Oct 18), Opotiki News (24 Oct 2017) & Whakatane Beacon (25 Oct 2017).

Te Rarawa Noho Taiao: Growing the next generation of Iwi environmental leaders - Northern Advocate (19 Oct 2017), Marae enterprrise sowing a seed for the environment (The Northland Age, 2 Nov 2017) & Northland Age (2 Nov 2017).

The Baleen Filter – Preventing Plastic Microfibres from entering our oceans- The Breeze (Oct 8) & Radio NZ National Wellington (16 Oct 2017 3:04 PM).

Hihi Feeders "Capture, Identify, Advocate: Bringing Species back from the Brink" – Anderson's pitch to save the hihi (NZ Herald, 14 Oct), Wanganui Chronicle (14 Oct 2017) & River City Press (12 Oct 2017).

Supermarket for Surplus Food to Reduce NZ's Food Wastage – Dominion Post Wellington (17 Oct 2017).

Tend your Planet/War On Weeds - blogappsheet (25 Oct 2017).

If you know of any other news about the 2017 finalists, please let me know as we’re regularly sharing CIA news on Facebook and Twitter. It would be excellent if you can please share these social media posts with the #tag #ConservationInnovation.

Louisa McKerrow lmckerrow@wwf.org.nz

We discovered that our colleagues at WWF in the US are runing a crowsourcing challenge as well and thought some of you would have innovative ideas to share with them.

The WWF US Forest team is running a targeted 30-day crowdsourcing challenge  asking the crowd (that's you) to identify ways or messaging to leverage finance, how it can be accessed, and how this would help sustain a global alternative energy program. 

A prize of US$5000 is up for grabs by the winning individual or team. Enter here before 7 November to be in the running.

Ideas will be voted on by the crowd throughout the challenge and a committee of forest and energy experts will make the final selection of the idea that is the most financially and technically feasible.


How to get involved

There are lots of ways that you can get involved with the community. Whether you have ideas of your own you'd like to post, or if you'd just like to vote or comment on ideas posted by other users.

Check out the Forest Finance Challenge website to find out more.

Let's show them some kiwi innovation!

Today, 35 finalists have been announced for WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards, including from Far North, Auckland, Raglan, Hamilton, East Coast, Waikanae, Martinborough, Palmerston North, Wanganui, Wellington, Upper Hutt, Dunedin, Nelson and Christchurch.

There were 47 entries logged from Kiwis across the country. Winners will be announced at the Awards ceremony in Wellington on 22 November.

Meet your 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards Finalists (listed per region):

  1. Hannah Smith Auckland Ur-bins (Urban Rat compost Bins) 
  2. Leigh Nicholson, Auckland Hanging Gardens of New Zealand - The new wonder of the modern world
  3. Andrew Lee, Auckland Restoration Drone for Polluted Waterways
  4. Michael Fielding, Auckland The Urban Rat Project
  5. Steven MacLeod, Auckland A data collective allowing communities to collaborate and share knowledge, leading to better community engagement and more Tui
  6. Sam Lindsay, Auckland Permanent Forest Bond - A Better Way to Finance Permanent Forest in Aotearoa
  7. Dan Ducker, Auckland, Tend your Planet/War On Weeds
  8. Paul White, Far North Te Rarawa Noho Taiao: Growing the next generation of Iwi environmental leaders
  9. Nigel Binks, Hamilton Investigating the weird, wonderful and sometimes freaky biodiversity of the Waikato: Engaging community, iwi and schools in biodiversity science
  10. Kevin Bain, Hamilton One self-resetting trap that kills both Possums and Rats
  11. Ecologist BW, Hamilton Autonomous Weed Eaters
  12. Jennifer Mcguire, Raglan Kiwi Trailblazers
  13. Maha Fier, Waikanae WALL-E 2.0
  14. Joanne Jackson, Martinborough Swimming with e-coli
  15. Chris Muller, Palmerston North The Drone Ranger – an aerial wildlife tracking system
  16. Allan Anderson, Wanganui Hihi Feeders - "Capture, Identify, Advocate: Bringing Species back from the Brink"
  17. Jack O'Carroll, Palmerston North The KOTAHI project
  18. Dani Lebo, Whanganui Make Every School a Forest School
  19. James Prier, Wellington Compost and catch, spreading the predator free movement  
  20. Abby Robertson, Wellington Supermarket for Surplus Food to Reduce NZ's Food Wastage
  21. Gerald Dickinson, Ngaio, Wellington Thermal Imaging to unmask what is in my backyard
  22. Marty Taylor, Wellington Te Wānanga Papa Taiao Pāuaua / Earthcare Enterprise Academies
  23. Pavel Plotinnov, Wellington Ultimate Domestic growing machine
  24. Chris Fink, Wellington Rooftop biodiversity hotspots
  25. Jordan Munn, Upper Hutt, TADS (Thermal Animal Detection Systems)
  26. Manu Caddie, New Zealand Māori Carbon Farming Cooperative
  27. Shannon Weaver, Dunedin Restoring the oceans abundance using seawater electrolysis- a marine conservation initiative
  28. Nathalie Wierdak, Dunedin Guardians of Zealandia
  29. Gemma McGrath, Otago Fluke & Flipper: Enhancing the Hector's Dolphin Sightings App
  30. Jeremy Stead Nelson The Baleen Filter – Preventing Plastic Microfibres from entering our oceans
  31. Christine Cleveland, Nelson Eco-Zoning
  32. Daniel Cutmore, Christchurch D.I.Y SmartGarden
  33. Kirsty Brennan, Christchurch STREAMED – A community-based online water clarity monitoring tool
  34. Grantryan New Zealand (Cacophony project Collaborative high tech solutions to make predator elimination thousands of times more efficient
  35. Squawk Squad Squawk Squad

Congratulations to all the 2017 Awards finalists! 

The Conservation Innovation Awards will reward innovative environmental game-changers. Designed to help innovators fast-track their ideas to development, the Awards cover three categories – Engaging young people and communities, Predator Free New Zealand 2050, and an Open Category. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each category winner. 

The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Ltd and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

There are two days left to enter big, bold ideas and new solutions to New Zealand’s greatest environmental challenges, such as freshwater quality, climate change, species decline and invasive pests.

Open until midnight, Sunday 15 October, WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards will reward innovative environmental game-changers. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winners. To submit an idea, visit wwf-nz.crowdicity.com.

As of today, 37 entries have been logged from Kiwis across the country including from Dunedin, Nelson, Auckland, Raglan, Kerikeri, Hamilton, Martinborough, Wellington, Mangonui, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Waikanae. And more entries are welcome.

“Ingenuity and innovation are characteristics that Kiwis are renowned for, so if you have a bright idea that could make a real difference in the fight to protect our precious ecosystems and native species, get in quick and enter this year’s Conservation Innovation Awards,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer.

“We’re really keen to hear about any ideas, new technologies or innovative projects that tackle conservation obstacles, like climate, weeds, environmental education, invasive pests, improving water quality and saving native species,” she said. “Innovation can solve some of New Zealand's biggest conservation challenges and capitalise on the biggest opportunities – business as usual is no longer an option.

The Awards are driven by an innovative crowd sourcing application process – where inventors, conservationists and inquiring minds can come together to propose and refine ideas in real time. All New Zealanders can get involved in the Awards by joining the WWF Conservation Innovation community at wwf-nz.crowdicity.com to comment and vote on their favourite ideas. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: Engaging young people and communities; Predator Free New Zealand 2050; and an Open Category.

The 2017 Awards are kindly supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. An independent judging panel will be looking for new ideas that have practical application and are game-changers for the environment.

Now in its fourth year, the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on 22 November.For information about the Awards, past winners and how to enter, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation

Hurry up folks– 4 days to go!

Posted by Louisa McKerrow (Admin) 8 months ago

We’ve been so impressed by the quality and variety of the ideas that are being submitted.

You can get involved and help choose which ones pass to the next level and be eligible to win $25k! Check out some of the ideas that still need your votes to pass to the next level.

Te Wānanga Papa Taiao Pāuaua / Earthcare Enterprise Academies

Squawk Squad

The KOTAHI project

HIHI FEEDERS - "Capture, Identify, Advocate: Bringing Species back from the Brink"

X-Specs

Ultimate Domestic growing machine

 

Check out all the bright ideas for conservation here.

We need your feedback to help find and refine the next game-changers for the environment.

What do you think of these ideas?

Compost and catch, spreading the predator free movement

Collaborative high tech solutions to make predator elimination thousands of times more efficient

Restoration Drone for Polluted Waterways

The Drone Ranger – an aerial wildlife tracking system

Anywhere, anytime DNA diagnostics for conservation

Ur-bins

SWIMMING with E-COLI

Are they really new and unique, do you know of anyone working on something similar, how could they refine their ideas to increase the impact? Are they real game-changers for the environment?

Get voting, and share your opinions, comments and suggestions.

If you’ve got a bright idea - there are just 4 days left to enter the Conservation Innovation Awards! So get your ideas up - your entry needs time to gain feedback and pass the milestones (by midnight, Sunday 15 Ocotber) to be eligible.

Ideas pass milestones by winning enough votes and feedback from the Conservation Innovation community to refine ideas. They can then pass to the next stage and be considered by our judges. Not sure how milestones work? Read all about it here on our How to Meet Milestones blog.

Nga mihi, Louisa

In 2015, the Tolaga Bay-based Uawanui Project was a Conservation Innovation Awards winner, for integrating conservation efforts with economic, social and cultural development and education. Their inspiring idea was He Manawa Whenua - He Oranga Tangata : Healthy Environment – Healthy People.

The project has developed in partnership with the Tolaga Bay Area School, a broad scale sustainability plan for sustainable land management and restoration of the Uawa River Catchment and coast. The $25,000 WWF Awards grant helped the project develop training, capacity building and communication around the wider Uawanui Project.

Chair of the Uawanui Governance Group, Victor Walker, said winning the 2015 award was “fantastic as it provided an opportunity to raise the profile of the project and provided further credibility, recognition and support around the wider vision of what the community is working on”.

Check out this great article in the Gisborne Herald (October 3, 2017).

Now we’re on the look out for 2017 game-changing projects for one of three awards with $25,000 in funding.

We are really keen to hear about any ideas, new technologies or innovative projects that tackle conservation obstacles, like climate, weeds, environmental education, invasive pests, improving water quality and saving native species.

Prizes will be awarded in three categories:

  • engaging young people and communities;
  • Predator Free New Zealand 2050;
  • an open category.

So get your entries in quick to pass the voting milestones by midnight, Sunday 15 October!

We're excited to have so many great ideas submitted in the 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards CIA!

As of today, 17 entries have been logged from across the country, including Dunedin, Nelson, Auckland, Raglan, Kerikeri, Hamilton, Martinborough, Wellington and Waikanae. And we are welcoming many more entries.

Each idea entered now has to pass milestones before midnight Sunday October 15 to be eligible for final judging by our expert panel. As part of the milestones, ideas need to win 30 votes from the Conservation Innovation Community 

We don't want a great idea to get missed because not enough people saw it and voted for it!

So folks, we encourage everyone in the WWF Conservation Innovation community to join in by commenting and voting on these ideas. We want to tap into your knowledge of community conservation and hear what YOU think will work as the next bright new ideas for nature!

And yes, it’s completely achievable to attract 30 votes. Recommended read is from 2015 entrant Paul Stanley Ward - How to win votes and influence conservation innovation who said “if we are a community project that couldn’t rustle 30 votes, then it’s not a great starting point for consideration is it?”

About Milestones
The Awards has 4 milestones that ideas must pass:
• submitted
• support
• originality
• refine

An idea needs 30 votes to pass the support and originality milestones.

To pass milestone 4 (refine), idea authors are asked: "You have great support for your idea already – people think it is viable and original. Have you received any comments or seen any other ideas here that have made you think differently about your idea? What could you improve? Who could you collaborate with?"

How to get ideas through to the judging panel
For entrants
1. Read the Application Guidelines to make sure your idea fits with the purpose and criteria of the awards.

2. The judges will be assessing each idea based solely on: 
- information submitted online to the Conservation Innovation Awards 
- comments on your idea in the Conservation Innovation Hub.

3. Make sure your submission is clear and focused:
- be specific in naming the issue you want to solve
- and how your idea will benefit front-line community conservation.

4. To generate support and pass the voting milestones for your Conservation Innovation Awards idea - a great way to do this is by using social media.
You can do this with the social media Share function on your entry page, adding the recommended #tag and tagging WWF-New Zealand.
Our recommended #tag is #ConservationInnovation
If you Tweet about your entry, please tag @WWFNewZealand
If you Facebook post about your entry, please tag @wwfnewzealand
(WWF-New Zealand is re-sharing/re-Tweeting posts throughout the Awards)
For more details: Making social media work for your #ConservationInnovation idea

For Community

1. Click here to find out How to comment and vote on ideas

2. Check out ideas

3. If you can see an idea really taking off, give it your vote. The idea needs to be, in your opinion, a viable solution to the stated problem. Is this a problem you have experienced? Can you see this solution working for you? Then give it your vote!

4. Is this idea taking a new approach? Have you seen this somewhere before - or is there a similar idea in this challenge? Use the comments function to find out if the idea authors have done their homework! If you think the idea is truly original – give it your vote!

Let’s support the 2017 game-changers for innovation!

 

A 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards finalist has won a Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers Association (PANPA) award.

Congratulations to Nelson Mail's Wasp Wipeout which has just been named the best Environmental campaign at the recent PANPA award ceremony in Sydney.

Nelson regional editor Victoria Guild said it was fantastic the campaign had been recognised internationally.

"This is a great reward for the hard work from our team, DOC and the Tasman Environmental Trust.

The Wasp Wipeout campaign is a collaborative conservation project that aims to significantly reduce German and common wasp populations in the Nelson-Tasman region.Wasp Wipeout has also been a finalist in the Environment Ministry's Green Ribbon awards and the Canon Media Awards.

The PANPA are prestigious industry awards that recognise the best work in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia.

For the full story, click here.

There is a game-changing tool on the way in the war against kauri dieback disease which is having a devastating effect on New Zealand’s native forests.
 
Thanks to the 2016 WWF-New Zealand Conservation Innovation Awards, sustainable land management group Groundtruth is developing a Stop Kauri Dieback app that will support community engagement and management of kauri dieback. The fungus-like disease with no known cure is killing kauri forests in Northland, and kauri could become extinct in some locations without urgent action.
 
Open to 15 October, the 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards is now looking for the next environmental game-changers. To submit an idea, visit wwf-nz.crowdicity.com. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winners. 

“The Conservation Innovation Awards celebrate Kiwi innovators whose bright ideas, like the Stop Kauri Dieback app, look set to make a real difference in the fight to protect our precious ecosystems and native species,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “We welcome big, bold, game-changing ideas, because conservation innovation is imperative.” 

Peter Handford and Daniel Bar-Even are behind the Stop Kauri Dieback app which is being developed in discussion with organisations fighting to save kauri. 

“Kauri dieback disease is having a devastating effect on the giants of our forest,” Groundtruth Director, Peter Handford said. “In the past 10 years, kauri dieback has killed thousands of kauri. 

To save kauri, it is critical to discover where outbreaks are occurring as soon as possible and provide people with simple steps they can take to avoid spreading the disease.”

Mr Handford said the app would support all forest visitors, trampers, walkers and conservation volunteers to identify and record possible sightings – and take simple steps to avoid spreading it – like washing their boots or staying away from the area. 

Mr Handford said winning the 2016 Conservation Innovation Award had made a big difference to this project, providing a combination of credibility and collaboration. “The Awards is a highly productive space with different individuals and organisations working together,” he said.

“The Awards help break down silos and promote collaborative work around innovation.” 

The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Ltd and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. For information about the Awards, past winners and how to enter, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation

The search is on for big, bold, game-changing ideas and new solutions to New Zealand’s greatest environmental challenges, such as freshwater quality, climate change, species decline and invasive pests.
 
Open from 25 September, WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards will reward innovative environmental game-changers. To submit your idea, visit wwf-nz.crowdicity.com. Designed to help innovators fast-track their ideas to development, the Awards cover three categories – Engaging young people and communities, Predator Free New Zealand 2050, and an Open Category. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each category winner. Entries close on 15 October. 

“The Conservation Innovation Awards celebrate Kiwi innovators whose bright ideas will make a real difference in the fight to protect our precious ecosystems and native species,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “We are looking for new ideas that have practical application and that are game changers for the environment. 

“We encourage Kiwi innovators from all walks of life – from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in-between – to apply their creativity and come up with ideas, new technologies or innovative projects that will aid the work of frontline conservation throughout the country and tackle conservation obstacles. 

“Ingenuity and innovation are characteristics that Kiwis are renowned for and the Conservation Innovation Awards has supported a number of innovative environmental solutions, including a commercial wasp bait, a freshwater testing system and an app to help kauri conservation.” 

The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Ltd and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge. 

The Awards are driven by an innovative crowd sourcing application process – where inventors, conservationists and inquiring minds can come together to propose and refine ideas in real time. 

“The power of the crowd is gaining momentum and for the Conservation Innovation Awards this collective approach means that ideas for furthering conservation work, which will ultimately benefit all New Zealanders, can be fine-tuned to their full potential,” Ms Esterhazy said. 

Entrants need to submit their ideas as soon as they can at wwf-nz.crowdicity.com 

The 2016 Awards attracted a record 41 entries from across the country. Now in its fourth year, the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on 22 November. For information about the Awards, past winners and how to enter, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation

WWF-New Zealand Conservation Innovation Awards winner DroneCounts is taking wildlife tracking to the next level in the urgent fight to stem the tragic loss of species, both locally and globally.

Thought to be a world first, DroneCounts can GPS track and map the location of tagged endangered species, providing time-synchronised data about the target species’ behaviour to assist conservation management. The system can also be used to track wildlife poachers.

DroneCounts took flight after winning $25,000 through the 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards, which enabled the team to further refine the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) design and build a flexible information gathering system that is more efficient, cheaper and saves time and energy.

The Conservation Innovation Awards celebrate Kiwi innovators whose bright ideas, like DroneCounts, look set to make a real difference in the fight to protect our precious ecosystems and native species,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “We welcome big, bold, game-changing ideas.”

Open from 25 September to 15 October, the 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards ​will ​reward innovative environmental game-changers. To submit an idea, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winners. The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

“Business as usual is no longer an option,” Ms Esterhazy said. “Our native species extinction rates in New Zealand are among the highest in the world. To reverse these trends, conservation innovation is imperative. We must seek transformational change and rapidly create new solutions. Together, we can make a difference and deliver world-leading conservation innovation!”

The men behind the DroneCounts invention are Auckland-based Philip Solaris (robotic aviation company X-craft) and John Sumich (Ark in the Park and Habitat Te Henga).This innovative idea was sparked when they realised traditional approaches to wildlife monitoring were severely limited by old-fashioned technology, vegetation, distance, terrain, weather and operator safety.

Mr Solaris said the DroneCounts aircraft operated as an ‘on-call’ data collector, providing crucial data in the most efficient way without the need of human intervention.The capabilities, opportunities and applications of this new system are seemingly limitless – it can operate on land, in air or water, at night, in extreme temperatures and weather conditions. The system can be customised to track wildlife, livestock or even emergency services personnel conducting search and rescue missions after disaster events.

Before commercialisation, the DroneCounts team wants to shrink the size of the unit with custom-built componentry, so the end product is the most advanced system possible. To get this incredible tool into production and out in the environment making a difference, X-craft is actively seeking investors.

Mr Solaris said the Conservation Innovation Award had definitely made a difference. “The Award has opened doors, where previously people were sceptical,” he said. “Those doors can be difficult to open sometimes and the Award has broken down some barriers and opened minds to what is achievable.”

For information about the Awards, past winners and how to enter, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation

A game-changer solution to New Zealand’s freshwater emergency, WWF-New Zealand Conservation Innovation Awards winner the RiverWatch Water Sensor is heading towards commercial market production.

As a 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards winner, $25,000 core funding was provided to develop the RiverWatch prototype which remotely monitors and records freshwater quality, where it can be used by hundreds of community groups to collect much-needed data from rivers, lakes and streams. This simple floating device is equipped with unique probes which monitor data, including pH level, temperature, conductivity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen.

Open from 25 September to 15 October, the 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards will seek out and reward innovative game-changers for conservation. To find out how to submit an idea visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation.

A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winners. The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall FoundationDepartment of ConservationCallaghan Innovation and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

“The Conservation Innovation Awards help bring amazing ideas to life – such as the RiverWatch Water Sensor which provides a solution to New Zealand’s worsening river and freshwater quality, and could have a major impact on the restoration of our freshwater for generations to come,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer.

“From multiple scientific reports, we know that our freshwater is being polluted and our rivers and lakes are in trouble,” Ms Esterhazy said. “This is a national crisis and requires a national level response, including accurate and timely water monitoring. Rivers are the lifeblood of our country and communities deserve and need to know the condition of their waterways. Clean, safe waterways are essential for the health of people, wildlife and economy.”

The RiverWatch Water Sensor has been developed by Water Action Initiative New Zealand (WAI NZ) in collaboration with students from Victoria University of Wellington's School of Engineering and Computer Science. Behind the initiative is South Wairarapa farmer Grant Muir and his son James Muir.

“Water quality is really important to many New Zealanders,” Grant Muir said. “Recent surveys show that 93% of Kiwis believe there is a freshwater crisis in New Zealand and something must be done about it.“This Water Sensor will give community members the opportunity to take action and monitor the water quality in their local rivers, giving real time data on the health of the waterways.”

Mr Muir said the Water Sensor logged data 24/7, and was easy to operate, portable and inexpensive. Any incident reports on waterways can be automated by the website and emailed to the appropriate authorities for action.

RiverWatch has already gained support from water scientists, regional and local councils, citizen scientists, community groups, iwi organisations, farmers and fishermen – within New Zealand and internationally.

“We already have orders waiting and there is interest from overseas groups involved in water monitoring,” Mr Muir said.“There is significant interest in modifying the sensor to work in salt water, especially from inshore fisheries that are in crisis due to increased sedimentation. We are working with the Institute of Environmental Research Ltd and other data collection agencies to develop a third version which tests for water born E. coli pathogens and water soluble nitrates.”

Mr Muir said the Water Sensor was designed for New Zealand conditions. “It is solar-powered and able to be remotely monitored, and is suited for temporary or permanent site applications,” he said. “Income from the sale of RiverWatch products will go directly back to conservation innovation, research and development for future generations of New Zealanders.”

WAI NZ is now seeking funding to cover costs to get version three of the sensor to commercial market production through the crowd funding platform PledgeMe and other sources.

Winning the Conservation Innovation Award helped us finalise the prototype, raise the RiverWatch profile, engage people in Aotearoa's water quality issue and open doors to further funding,” Mr Muir said. “Without WWF and these Awards, we would not be in this exciting space. I encourage people who have an idea that will make a difference across anything environmental to put their ideas forward and enter the Conservation Innovation Awards.”

For information about the Awards, past winners and how to enter, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovationYou can support the development of the RiverWatch Water Tester at www.riverwatch.nz/

Are you an inventor, an innovator, a creator? Could $25,000 help turn your idea into reality?

WWF-New Zealand, with supporters The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation and Callaghan Innovation and NZ’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, is on the search—from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in between—for new ideas that could positively impact the environment.

Open from 25 September to 15 October, the Conservation Innovation Awards will seek out and reward innovative game-changers for conservation. To find out how to submit an idea visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winners.

“Business as usual is no longer an option,” said Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer. “Clearly the environment is being stretched beyond its capacity, and that is why WWF-New Zealand is calling for environmental game-changers that create positive impacts for the environment.”

“Ingenuity and innovation are characteristics that Kiwis are renowned for, so if you have a great idea that could make a difference to the way communities can protect our special places and wildlife, enter this year’s Conservation Innovation Awards.

We’re really keen to hear about any ideas, new technologies or innovative projects that tackle conservation obstacles, like climate, weeds, environmental education, invasive pests, improving water quality and saving native species.”

The Awards are driven by an innovative crowd sourcing application process – where inventors, conservationists and inquiring minds can come together to propose and refine ideas in real time.

 The 2016 Awards attracted a record 41 entries from innovators and creators across the country. Last year’s award-winning ideas were: DroneCounts, taking wildlife tracking to the next level; the RiverWatch Water Sensor which monitors freshwater quality using real time data; and Stop Kauri Dieback, an app which will allow people to record and map dieback sightings.

An independent judging panel will be looking for new ideas that have practical application and are game changers for the environment.

Now in its fourth year, the winners will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on 22 November.

For information about the Awards, past winners and how to enter, visit www.wwf.org.nz/innovation

The NZ RiverWatch invention is inspiring interest from regional councils, farmers and researchers as a game changer for freshwater monitoring.

The team at Water Action Initiative New Zealand (WAI NZ) is now seeking support via PledgeMe campaign to get the RiverWatch Water Sensor into production so that all Kiwis can find out what's really going on in their waterways. To support this campaign, please visit here. Any pledge you're able to make brings this innovation one step closer to saving New Zealand's freshwater.

A 2016 WWF Conservation Innovation Awards winner, the RiverWatch Water Sensor has been developed by WAI NZ in collaboration with students from Victoria University of Wellington's School of Engineering and Computer Science.

Read more in yesterday's Newsroom NZ article - Farmer: Govt unwilling to show state of NZ water.

Inventor Grant Ryan says new technologies and data crunching should mean New Zealand is predator-free before the Government's set target of 2050.

Grant's The Cacophony Project - Modern Information Technology to eliminate Predators from New Zealand was a 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards entrant.

Check out this great Newsroom story and video by Mark Jennings (5 July 2017).

 

 

2015 Conservation Innovation Awards winner, the Uawanui Project has been in the news this month.

The Uawanui Project continues to move ahead with a range of key initiatives. Recent important achievements include:  Working with QEII Trust, Weedbusters and WWF- New Zealand to support weed control training and begin developing a local cadet crew (Gisborne Herald, June 27).

The Uawanui Project was mentioned in Gisborne Herald (June 23) story about a young scientist raised in Ruatoria who has been awarded the Fulbright Science and Innovation Graduate Award and hopes to inspire more Tairawhiti students to get into science.“Whether in the traditional route, such as university, or community projects such as Uawanui Project, where all the kids are involved in taking water samples and planting trees" 

In the news too also (Gisborne Herald, June 19 )was the Tangaroa Ara Rau project which involves Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and the community under their Uawanui Project, working together with science organisations to develop understanding and innovation about safe and sustainable food gathering. 

Recognising environmental and conservation initiatives throughout New Zealand, yesterday the finalists for the 2017 Green Ribbon Awards were announced.

This is excellent news for two Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) finalists. Congratulations to the teams and communities of Fairfax Media/Nelson Mail and Polhill Protectors/The Polhill Project.

In the Business Leadership category is Wasp Wipeout by Fairfax Media Nelson Mail. Wasp Wipeout was a 2016 CIA finalist.

In the Community Leadership category is Polhill Protectors/The Polhill Project. The Polhill Project was a CIA 2015 finalist with Saddleback in the city and a CIA 2016 finalist with “Predator Free New Zealand: the Facebook frontier.

The national 2017 Green Ribbon Awards, now in its 27th year, plays an important role in celebrating and raising the profile of outstanding contributions by individuals, communities and organisations to protect and manage New Zealand’s environment.

All Green Ribbon Awards finalists will be invited to attend a ceremony at Parliament on 8 June. Winners will be announced for each category, including the overall supreme winner. Check out media release and read the finalists’ stories on the Green Ribbon Awards website www.greenribbonawards.org.nz

The River Watch sensor is set help community members take action and monitor the water quality in their local rivers, giving real time data on the health of the waterways.

This great initiative, developed by Water Action Initiative (WAI) New Zealand in collaboration with students and staff from the Victoria University of Wellington, was a 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards winner.

Check out this TV news story from Newshub (24 April 2017) - click here. Many thanks to Newshub reporter Isobel Ewing for this report.

 

 

Vespula wasps are having a devastating impact on NZ environment, people and economy.

The Nelson Mail and Stuff yesterday launched Wasp Wipeout, a community-led conservation project that aims to significantly reduce German and common wasp populations in the Nelson-Tasman region this summer.

Wasp Wipeout was a 2016 WWF Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) finalist and Vespex® was a 2015 WWF CIA winner. Read on for project introduction by Victoria Guild, Nelson Regional editor...

Anyone who has encountered a wasp knows how nasty the insects can be: they attack baby birds in their nests and fledging native bats, remove a huge amount of food sources from the ecosystem, as well as having awful stings.

This summer, Nelson Mail is mobilising the whole community to significantly reduce German and common wasp populations in our popular conservation, recreation and urban areas.

The battle plan is to use the extremely effective wasp bait Vespex (developed right here in Nelson) and place bait stations across the region.
 
To do this, Nelson Mail is leading a crowdfunding campaign to get more bait stations out across the region. The more we can raise, the more bait stations we can put out and the greater chance we have of solving Nelson's wasp problem.
 
German and common wasps
 
These wasps are introduced invaders that feed on our honeydew-rich beech forests, fledgling bats and native baby birds. The three national parks surrounding the Nelson region are prime breeding grounds for the wasps.
 
What is Vespex?
 
Vespex is a low toxicity, protein based bait that's laid in bait stations in late January and February, when wasps change to a protein-based diet. It's safe for bees and pets. Find out more at: www.merchento.com
 
Who else is involved?
 
The Nelson Mail is coordinating with groups such as the Department of Conservation, the Tasman Environmental Trust, Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council and pest control groups, to work collaboratively to knock back the wasp populations. We'll be publishing stories discussing the wasp problem and the difference we can make.
 
Five businesses have already committed $9500 to the project. If you'd like to join them, you can do so here.
 
Join the battle
 
If you'd like to do it yourself by organising your community, or neighbourhood, to bait in your area then you'll need an approved user to buy the bait and a couple of volunteers to put out the stations. One small bucket can cover 50 homes. All the details on how to DIY are here at www.merchento.com/vespex

Imagine visiting a national park, going for a bike ride, or holding a picnic or bbq at one of our popular outdoor spots without having to worry about pesky wasps ruining your day!

Join the battle and register your interest here.

For more information, check out: 

Why are we getting involved in wasp control?

Mini-documentary looking at the impacts of wasps

Wasp Wipeout: A community-led project reclaim our outdoors from pests

Wasp Wipeout: Frequently asked questions

Using drone trackers for wildlife research, monitoring health of waterways and developing an app to help Kauri conservation – these are the winning ideas of WWF-New Zealand’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards, announced today.

The Kiwi innovators behind these ideas will each be awarded a $25,000 grant to recognise their contribution to innovation in conservation. The three winners will be congratulated at an event in Wellington tonight, MCed by journalist and public speaker, Rod Oram, and with Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Science and Innovation, as the keynote speaker.
 
The winning ideas are:

DroneCounts
DroneCounts wants to take wildlife tracking to the next level, with a model that can pick up several signals and map wildlife in an area. The men behind the invention are Auckland-based John Sumich (Ark in the Parkand Habitat Te Henga) and Philip Solaris (X-craft). “This award will open opportunities to enable our innovation to assist the urgent fight to stem the tragic loss of species, both locally and globally,” Mr Solaris said. “A prototype has already been deployed that is capable of detecting multiple transmitter signals, on differing frequencies, which to our knowledge is a world first. The aim now is to increase the autonomy of the aircraft, enabling it to track, locate and record these signals in the most efficient way without the need of human intervention”.
 
River Watch Water Testing Device
Water quality is really important to many Kiwis. This device will give community members the opportunity to take action and monitor the water quality in their local rivers, giving real time data on the health of the waterways. The River Watch Water Tester has been developed by Water Action Initiative (WAI) New Zealand in collaboration with students from Victoria University of Wellington's School of Engineering and Computer Science. This simple floating device helps determine the health of New Zealand’s waterways by measuring temperature, conductivity, turbidity and pH levels. The River Watch water device logs data over a 48-hour period, is simple to operate, portable and inexpensive. Behind the initiative is South Wairarapa farmer Grant Muir and his son James Muir. Grant Muir said “This award will allow for the nationwide roll out of the prototype and will have a major impact on the restoration of our fresh water for generations to come”.

Stop Kauri Dieback – helping to save our Kauri
Kauri dieback disease is having a devastating effect on the giants of our forest, and there is no known cure. It is critical that we know where outbreaks are occurring as soon as possible. Peter Handford and Daniel Bar-Even from Groundtruth are developing an app which will allow people to record and map dieback sightings, so they can take simple steps to avoid spreading it – like washing their boots or staying away from the area. Peter Handford said “Stop Kauri Dieback will enable all forest visitors, trampers, walkers and conservation volunteers to record sightings of the deadly disease kauri dieback. This will help those fighting kauri dieback to gain a better picture of the impact this disease is having, and where to focus their attention to combat the disease”.

WWF’s Conservation Innovation Awards, supported by The Tindall Foundation, celebrate innovation and collaboration, with the aim to find and support the best innovative ideas for conservation from talented and passionate Kiwis.
 
WWF’s Head of New Zealand Projects, Michele Frank, said the entries submitted to this year’s awards were inspirational.
 
“These awards are an exciting collaboration between people who are all passionate about improving the natural environment. Using a crowdsourcing website, entrants posted their ideas publicly, joined discussions with site visitors and then adapted their ideas in response to comments,” Ms Frank said.
 
“We are proud to be celebrating our winners for being at the forefront of conservation thinking and committed to developing ideas that look set to change the game. By harnessing creativity like this we can bring better tools to the community volunteer army and better protect our wildlife, sooner.”
 
This year there were 41 entries from across the country including Kaipara Harbour, Thames, Paekakairki, Christchurch, Golden Bay, Motueka, Katikati, Stewart Island, Marlborough Sounds, Te Puke, Martinborough, Motueka, Nelson, and Rotorua.
 
An independent judging panel looked for new ideas that had practical application and could benefit grass roots conservation groups. 2016 judges included: Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Matthew Monahan (Kiwi Connect); Head of Industrial Design & Innovation at Auckland University of Technology, Shane Inder; environmental research champion, Justine Daw (General-Manager of Landcare Research); and conservation visionary and Director of Project Janszoon, Devon McLean.

Many thanks everyone for your support of the Conservation Innovation Hub this year. Did you know we now have 2088 supporter profiles, with nearly 600 new supporters this year!

And it’s been a great year for entries – 41! Our 2016 entries attracted an impressive 742 Likes and 446 comments. Entries came in from across the country including – Rotorua, Martinborough, Upper Hutt, Wellington, Auckland,  Nelson City, Motueka, Golden Bay, Paekakairki, Marlborough Sounds, Te Puke, Katikati, Stewart Island, Christchurch, Thames, and Lake Hawea. Many thanks to everyone who submitted an entry.

There were 20 finalists for the 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards. Well done to:

The winning ideas for WWF’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards will be announced tomorrow. The Kiwi innovators behind these winning ideas will each be awarded a $25,000 grant to recognise their contribution to innovation in conservation.

Stay tuned for the results...

You can read about the 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards here:

http://livenews.co.nz/2016/10/07/wwf-seeking-nz-conservation-innovators-7-october/

https://blogs.canterbury.ac.nz/insiders/2016/10/04/call-for-entries-community-conservation-meets-nz-innovation-25000/

https://bizedge.co.nz/story/wwf-calls-innovators-step-nz-conservation-competition/ 

http://nzscienceteacher.co.nz/index.php/science-education-society/science-education-and-the-environment/uawanui-project-a-healthy-environment-means-healthy-people/#.V_q_X-h97cs

http://www.good.net.nz/article/2016/09/nationwide-search-conservation-innovators-kicks

http://royalsociety.org.nz/2016/09/22/alert-newsletter-927/

http://tindall.org.nz/nationwide-search-conservation-innovators-kicks-off/

 

In 2015, Nelson-based Richard Toft won a WWF Conservation Innovation Award for the development of Vespex®, a protein-based wasp bait. Vespex® has been credited as the most effective tool for wide-area control of wasps and a "real game-changer" in the battle against both common and German wasps.

For more details - check out today's Stuff article "Wiping out invasive wasps a 'critical issue' for New Zealand's environment" by Jonathan Carson.

With weeds in New Zealand costing billions to control and often causing irreversible damage to ecosystems, the University of Otago is bringing the war on weeds into the hi-tech space with help from a 2014 Conservation Innovation Awards grant. You may have heard the news on Radio New Zealand on 31 October.

New Zealand farmers now have a new weapon in the fight against the noxious velvetleaf weed: the camera on their iPhone.

Identifying one of the world’s worst weeds is set to become much easier with the launch of Flora Finder - Weed, a new smartphone app that can detect the aggressive velvetleaf weed that has affected many arable crops in New Zealand. Its outbreak has been associated with contamination of fodder beet seed varieties imported into the country.

The app, available for iOS devices, has more than 100 common weed species in its database. Flora Finder is an electronic field guide that uses visual recognition software to help users identify plants from photographs of their leaves and access expert advice.

Flora Finder - Weed is a joint project between the University of Otago and Kiwi app developer, MEA, with support from WWF-New Zealand and The Tindall Foundation.

According to Dr Graham Strong, commercialisation manager at Otago Innovation – the commercialisation arm of the University of Otago, “the app is designed to quickly identify the most common weeds, along with native trees and shrubs. This represents a real step-change in a battle against weeds that has existed since the advent of organised agriculture”.

Gabriel Engel, CEO of MEA, says that Flora Finder is a prime example of how apps are changing the way we deal with real-world problems: “Flora Finder makes everyday people part of the solution. With this app, we have placed the solution to one of the farming industry’s biggest pests in the hands of the people who are most directly affected.”

If the app identifies a plant as velvetleaf, users should follow the Ministry for Primary Industries’ advice

Otago Department of Botany Senior Lecturer Dr Janice Lord, says Flora Finder – Weed was developed to support famers and land managers in weed control which was a significant concern to agricultural and environmental sustainability.

“Weeds cause millions of dollars of damage to our pastures, crops, and gardens each year. Weedy plants are also a great threat to New Zealand’s parks, reserves, coasts, bush remnants, wetlands and alpine areas.

The base Flora Finder technology was developed in 2013 and is expanding to include native, naturalised and exotic plants from across the entire country.

“Even if for some reason the app can’t identify the plant, users can take a photo and through the app send it to the Botany Department and we’ll identify it for them,” says Dr Lord.

In the case of velvetleaf, this service will prove especially valuable in winter when these plants are dead.

“The leaf image recognition function would not work well in this instance, so the added ability of the app to connect the user with an expert means velvetleaf could be identified from other features such as seed heads, even if leaves are not present,” she says.

“With Flora Finder you become an instant expert in identifying NZ plants – it’s like having the world’s most famous plant experts in your pocket ready to help you when you need them.”

Flora Finder can be downloaded from iTunes.

For more Flora Finder news, visit:

2015. Fight Against Weeds goes Hi-tech

An interesting idea worth talking about…

Craig Allan, from the Dollhouse Construction Company, is exploring partnership opportunities within New Zealand in the form of developing and or manufacturing components essential to the construction of the building houses out of recycled plastic.

The Dollhouse Construction Company’s Plastixhomes entry is not eligible for the WWF-New Zealand Conservation Innovation Awards, as an ideas submitter must be a resident or citizen of New Zealand or that group or entity must be either registered in New Zealand or carrying out business in New Zealand.

However, the Conservation Innovation Hub is all about inspiring, generating, and developing new ideas, so please read on to learn more about Craig’s idea…

“Hi my name is Craig Allan, from the Dollhouse Construction Company. I am a 53-year-old man from South Africa, currently living in Waihi, New Zealand. For a long period of time, I’ve had this idea which I believe will rid most of the world of the excess plastic by building houses out of recycled plastic. I went onto this WWF site with my idea, because I studied wildlife conservation and game ranging in South Africa. My passion is wildlife and the conservation of it.

I am looking for a partner from New Zealand who wants to do something about the excess waste plastic problem which affects oceans and wildlife.

Plastic waste could be sourced from community-based collection stations and sea waste. This idea is new and unique – it has not been done before. This idea could benefit world wide communities by means of waste collection and eliminating housing problems.

I have this idea of building houses out of recycled plastic. All the framework and trusses can be constructed out of plastic. A fire retardant is added to the plastic to make the building more fire resistant. In the case of a fire, the plastic will slowly melt and parts that have melted can be replaced as they are needed. Wood – on the other hand – can rot and decay.

In my design, all the framing is extruded in waste plastic to the standard sizes of building. Standard 3x2,4x2,6x2 beams are extruded for lintels. The good thing is that plastic doesn’t expand and contract as much as wood. Plastic can be cut and fitted together like wood.

Two litre soda bottles - that are a total menace to the environment - are filled with excess plastic wrappers and bags, and fitted to the inside panels of the walls for insulation purposes. These are also sprayed with fire retardant material so it will not burn. Once the frames and panels are in place, the walls can be jib borded as per usual. Another option is to jib the interior and extrude weather board for the outside.

If you are interested in hearing more and seeing the drawings, please contact me.  I am looking for a partner who is from New Zealand who want to do something about the excess waste plastic problem to clean up our oceans through building houses with extruded recycled plastic. This project needs investment for development, awareness, and start up capital for machinery and collection.

My email is robcraigallan@gmail.com

 

We're excited to have so many great ideas submitted in the 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards!

Now we have 14 ideas past the voting milestones, but 24 still need to pass before 5pm Friday 14th to be eligible for final judging. We don't want a great idea to get missed because not enough people saw it and voted for it!

Each idea entered has to pass milestones before it is eligible for final judging by our expert panel. To pass the middle milestones, ideas need to win 30 votes from the Conservation Innovation Community.

So folks, we encourage everyone in the WWF Conservation Innovation Community to join in by commenting and voting on these ideas. We want to tap into your knowledge of community conservation and hear what YOU think will work as the next bright new ideas for nature!

And yes, it’s completely achievable to attract 30 votes in 1 day! Recommended read is from 2015 entrant Paul Stanley Ward - How to win votes and influence conservation innovation who said “if we are a community project that couldn’t rustle 30 votes, then it’s not a great starting point for consideration is it?”

About Milestones
The Awards has 4 milestones that ideas must pass:
• submitted
• support
• originality
• refine

An idea needs 30 votes to pass the support and originality milestones.

To pass milestone 4 (refine), idea authors are asked: "You have great support for your idea already - people think it is viable and original. Have you received any comments or seen any other ideas here that have made you think differently about your idea? What could you improve? Who could you collaborate with?"

How to get ideas through to the judging panel
For entrants
1. Read the Application Guidelines to make sure your idea fits with the purpose and criteria of the awards.

2. The judges will be assessing each idea based solely on:
- information submitted online to the Conservation Innovation Awards
- comments on your idea in the Conservation Innovation Hub.

3. Make sure your submission is clear and focused:
- be specific in naming the issue you want to solve
- and how your idea will benefit front-line community conservation.

4. To generate support and pass the voting milestones for your Conservation Innovation Awards idea - a great way to do this is by using social media.
The best way to do this is by using the social media Share function on your entry page, adding the recommended #tag and tagging WWF-New Zealand.
Our recommended #tag is #ConservationInnovation
If you Tweet about your entry, please tag @WWFNewZealand
If you Facebook post about your entry, please tag @wwfnewzealand
(WWF-New Zealand is re-sharing/re-Tweeting posts throughout the Awards)
For more details: Making social media work for your #ConservationInnovation idea

For Community

1. Click here to find out How to comment and vote on ideas

2. Check out ideas

3. If you can see an idea really taking off, give it your vote. The idea needs to be, in your opinion, a viable solution to the stated problem. Is this a problem you have experienced? Can you see this solution working for you? Then give it your vote!

4. Is this idea taking a new approach? Have you seen this somewhere before - or is there a similar idea in this challenge? Use the comments function to find out if the idea authors have done their homework! If you think the idea is truly original - give it your vote!

Let the 24 hour countdown begin!

Simple and sophisticated, a clever trap design is taking lizard capture and monitoring to the next level.
 
Winning a 2015 WWF Conservation Innovation Award and $25,000 funding, Trent Bell of EcoGecko Consultants was able to take one of the product ideas in EcoGecko’s “Lure, Trap &, Retreat” programme to a prototype that can now be tested in the field.
 
Open until Friday, 14 October, WWF-New Zealand’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) are designed to seek out and reward innovation for those on the frontline of conservation. Prize packages of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winning entries. All ideas are welcome. Entries must be submitted via wwf-nz.crowdicity.com and attract 30 votes by 5pm, 14 October.
 
CIA funding contributed to EcoGecko’s product research, technical drawings, 3D modelling, production of a prototype, and field testing. The product is now in the 3D design stage.

“Without such funding from WWF and The Tindall Foundation, an improved lizard trap may have never become reality,” Mr Bell said.
 
"This CIA financial support has enabled me to develop a new lizard pitfall trap, improving upon a method that has not changed since the 1920s.
 
“Now we are on the way with a new, secure trap that will lead to improved captures by increasing trap attractiveness and reduced trap escapability, the safe holding of animals once in the trap, the prevention of opportunistic predation of trapped animals, and other trap disturbances.
 
“This means improved lizard population monitoring information for scientific research, conservation management, and ecological restoration for these cryptic critters.
 
“This new trap design will have a wider global appeal and people in Australia, the UK, Europe and the USA have been showing a strong interest in the product.”
 
Lizards play a vital role within the New Zealand ecosystem – important as both predators and prey components and they have a function pollinating flowers and spreading seeds by consuming fruits. 
 
Mr Bell said there were more than 100 endemic lizard species currently known across the country, however, today 88% of our lizards were classified as Threatened or At Risk by the Department of Conservation.

“Not enough is known about our native lizards, despite their precarious conservation position, because of their cryptic behaviour and at times, low abundance. Lizards can be very difficult to survey or monitor.”  

Have You Heard About GIFT?

Posted by Louisa McKerrow (Admin) Oct 10, 2016

The Gulf Innovation Fund Together (GIFT) is a new fund initiated by Foundation North to inspire and support innovation to improve the mauri of the Hauraki Gulf. 

They are looking to find and work with people who have an idea that they would like to test, develop or prototype that has the potential to significantly improve a key environmental issue facing the Hauraki Gulf.

Ideas that are a strong fit with the principles of GIFT:

  • Are innovative (the idea will apply a new approach to an existing problem or have the ability to accelerate impact)
  • Will specifically benefit the Hauraki Gulf
  • Address a key environmental issue facing the Hauraki Gulf (please refer to the State of our Gulf Report 2014)
  • Use a holistic paradigm

To help with your idea development there are great resources on the GIFT website.

October & November Workshops

They are running a number of workshop sessions where people can share their ideas, network and find out more about GIFT.

The workshops will be run as a collaborative process with opportunities for networking, feedback and support.

To register for a workshop: http://www.giftofthegulf.org.nz/labs/

Thursday 20th October.10am-2pm at Foundation North (50 Ponsonby Road, Auckland).

Focus: Education/Technology/Communication solutions that engage the community to resolve the environmental issues facing the Hauraki Gulf

From their recent workshops and through social media channels, the GIFT team has heard a lot of ideas about how to engage the community to resolve the complex environmental issues facing the Hauraki Gulf.

They are interested in connecting with people who have ideas and experience to affect change by engaging the community through environmental education, new technologies or media campaigns.

If you have a new idea or would like to work together to increase the impact of current programmes, the GIFT team would love to see you there.

Friday 11th November. 10am - 2pm at Foundation North (50 Ponsonby Road, Auckland).

Focus: General ‘Share your Idea’ session

This session is for anyone who has an innovative idea to improve the mauri of the Hauraki Gulf.

For more information on GIFT:

W: www.giftofthegulf.org.nz

F: Gulf Innovation Fund Together

T: @HaurakiGIFT

Innovation can solve some of New Zealand's biggest conservation challenges and capitalise on the biggest opportunities.

Open until 14 October, WWF’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) celebrate innovation and collaboration, with the aim to find and support the best innovative ideas for conservation from talented and passionate Kiwis. These awards aim to promote, motivate and reward innovation within community, iwi, researchers, and businesses. Entries need to be submitted via wwf-nz.crowdicity.com Prize packages of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winning entries.

This year, we have some interesting ideas coming through, ranging from a trapping programme for school children to barcoding whitebait to elevated radio tracking for kiwi. There have been 27 entries so far from Kaipara Harbour, Thames, Auckland, Paekakairki, Christchurch, Golden Bay, Wellington, Motueka, Katikati, Stewart Island, Marlborough Sounds, Te Puke, Martinborough, Motueka, Nelson, and Rotorua.

“If you have a great idea that could make a difference to the way communities can protect our special places and wildlife, enter this year’s Conservation Innovation Awards,” said Michele Frank, WWF’s Head of New Zealand Projects.

“We’re really keen to hear about any ideas, gadgets, tools or innovative projects that tackle conservation obstacles, like controlling invasive pests, improving water quality or saving native species,” Ms Frank said.

The Awards, supported by The Tindall Foundation, are driven by an innovative crowd sourcing application process – where inventors, conservationists, inquiring minds and ideas people can propose, critique and refine ideas in real time through an online ideas platform.

The Awards have met with strong, supportive feedback, including from 2014 runner up Rachel Fewster, Auckland University, who said "The Conservation Innovation Awards are a great way of sharing ideas for conservation around New Zealand and building a community of conservation innovators".

Award winners have achieved considerable success with their projects including Vespex® a wasp-killing bait, and innovative iwi-led restoration project Uawanui Project.

For inspiration, these are video stories of our CIA winners from 2014 and 2015

 

We're excited to have so many awesome ideas submitted in the Conservation Innovation Awards!

WWF's Conservation Innovation Hub is a great place for your idea to get seen and talked about.

For the best chance of winning an award remember to make your idea relevant to this particular challenge - the WWF Conservation Innovation Awards.

 

The main purpose of the Conservation Innovation Awards is to increase the scale and effectiveness of community-based conservation in New Zealand.

 

Read the Application Guidelines to make sure your idea fits with the purpose and criteria of the awards.

 

The judges will be assessing each idea based solely on 

  • comments on your idea in the Conservation Innovation Hub.

Make sure your submission is clear and focused

  • be specific in naming the issue you want to solve
  • and how your idea will benefit front-line community conservation.

 

Remember you can upload files if you want to add extra information to support your idea. We encourage you to upload or link to a short video clip to better clarify and sell your idea to the judges. 

To refine your idea and upload extra information go into your idea on the Conservation Innovation Hub and click on the Edit tab above it.

 

screenshot - edit post

 

 

 

Good luck!

Championing conservation innovation, a New Zealand-designed pest bait has been cited as a game changer in the fight against invasive wasps.

In 2015, Nelson-based Richard Toft won a WWF Conservation Innovation Award for the development of Vespex®, a protein-based wasp bait. Vespex® has been credited as the most effective tool for wide-area control of wasps and a "real game-changer" in the battle against both common and German wasps. 

The $25,000 grant allowed Mr Toft and his team to move on from making small amounts of bait for research to commercial production, and trial systems for use by community conservation groups.

Open from 26 September to 14 October, WWF-New Zealand’s 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) are designed to seek out and reward innovation for those on the frontline of conservation. All ideas are welcome and entries can be submitted via wwf-nz.crowdicity.com 

The arrival of Vespex® could not have come soon enough for some users, with many areas of New Zealand experiencing very high numbers of wasps in 2016.

Introduced wasps can reach extremely high populations in New Zealand, and are a major threat to native ecosystems through predation of native invertebrates and competition for natural resources, such as honeydew. They also present a significant hazard to conservation workers. Wasps cause an estimated $120 million damage a year in disruption to bee pollination and lost honey production.
 
Mr Toft, an expert in wasp ecology, said the bait had been 25 years in the making, with development continuing.
 
“The bait contains a very potent, slow-acting insecticide, and the bait is completely unattractive to bees,” he said.
 
“Wasps take the bait from bait stations to feed their larvae, so the nests are destroyed without us needing to find them.”
 
In conjunction with the Department of Conservation and BASF New Zealand, a stewardship system has been developed that has enabled Vespex® to be accessed by a wide range of users, including public and private sanctuaries, conservation groups, councils, beekeepers, foresters, farmers, tourism enterprises, recreation groups, vineyards, and orchards.
 
“People wanting to become approved users of Vespex® can access the training and registration process via the Merchento website,” Mr Toft said.
 
“Uptake was excellent in the first season, with well over 1000 approved users registered and Vespex® being sent throughout the country, from Kaitaia in the north, to Stewart Island in the south.”
 
WWF-New Zealand is now searching the country again—from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in between—for new CIA ideas that could change the face of conservation. Prize packages of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winning entries. The Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation.

Social media is a powerful tool that can galvanise public support for conservation action.

To generate support and pass the voting milestones for your Conservation Innovation Awards idea - a great way to do this is by using social media.

The best way to do this is by using the social media Share function on your entry page, adding the recommended #tag and tagging WWF-New Zealand.

Our recommended #tag is #ConservationInnovation

If you Tweet about your entry, please tag @WWFNewZealand

If you Facebook post about your entry, please tag @wwfnewzealand

(WWF-New Zealand will be re-sharing/re-Tweeting posts throughout the Awards)

In case you're new to the world of social media, you might be asking yourself "how can social media help?" To answer, here's a couple of tips...

Why Social Media can work for you?

1. Facebook has 1.49 billion monthly active users & Twitter (284 million).  
2. Direct access to supporters, community & funders.
3. Quick way to directly profile your activities, events & successes.
4. Timely & relevant engagement.
5. Great way to demonstrate public engagement in your project reporting.
6. It can be free!
 
How to write a great post
1. Keep it short, sweet & to the point. 
2. Be Positive
3. Use the power of words
4. Ask questions
5. Use an eye-catching image or film
6. Add links
7. Support/thank/tag funders, project partners, community members
8. Keep variety in your posts
9. Choose the right time
10. Respond
 

He Manawa Whenua - He Oranga Tangata (A healthy environment means healthy people).

This is the founding principle of innovative iwi-led Uawanui Project which seeks to integrate conservation efforts alongside economic, social and cultural development and education. The project was a 2015 WWF Conservation Innovation Awards (CIA) winner.

Open from 26 September to 14 October, WWF-New Zealand’s 2016 CIA awards are designed to seek out and reward innovation for those on the frontline of conservation. All ideas are welcome and entries can be submitted via wwf-nz.crowdicity.com

The Uawanui Project has received overwhelming support from the wider East Coast community – including local voluntary groups and businesses, the farming and forestry industries and the education sector. The $25,000 WWF Awards grant has helped the project develop training, capacity building and communication around the wider Uawanui Project.

Chair of the Uawanui Project Governance Group, Victor Walker, said the CIA funding was “important and valuable in taking forward innovations around the Uawanui Project at Uawa Tolaga Bay”.

“A huge thanks to WWF for providing this award and to the many supporters who are making this project possible including, the Tolaga Bay Area School and Kahukuranui, the Hauiti Incorporation, Department of Conservation, Gisborne District Council and of course Te Aitanga A Hauiti and the whole Uawa Tolaga Bay community,” Mr Walker said.

Five years ago, the Tolaga Bay community asked the Allan Wilson Centre for evolutionary biology to help it clean up the area’s waterways and create a healthier, more collaborative community. Together they set up the Uawanui Sustainability Project – which aims to restore the environment, economy and wellbeing of the area.

Collaborative and innovative, the Uawanui Project has taken a whole-community approach to improving the environmental health of the Kaituna Estuary. The Hauiti Incorporation has led this estuary restoration work. The project is working to manage activities in the catchment that impact on the Uawa River, and the estuary – a “mountains-to-sea” approach. Uawanui Project’s commitment to conservation won the Protecting our biodiversity category in the 2016 Green Ribbon Awards.

Mr Walker said that the project was centred on input from marae, iwi, individuals, businesses, primary industries, landowners and schools to enable the community to manage the catchment in their everyday activities, with direct benefits to both community and environmental health.

“Our activities have included trapping pests, weed control, planting and monitoring,” he said.

One of the key mechanisms for innovation is developing individuals through integration of the Uawanui Project into the school curriculum. An Uawanui Sustainability class is provided through different levels of the Tolaga Bay Area School, providing a practical pathway to future knowledge and cultivating environmental leaders.

WWF-New Zealand is now searching the country again—from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in between—for new CIA ideas that could change the face of conservation. Prize packages of $25,000 will be awarded to each of the three winning entries. The Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation.

 

Thank you for being part of the WWF Conservation Innovation Community.

Our third annual Conservation Innovation Awards are well underway with eleven great ideas submitted in the first week.

The Conservation Innovation Awards are WWF-New Zealand's challenge for conservationists, community groups, product designers, researchers, backyard inventors and others to come up with innovative ways to increase the scale and effectiveness of community-based conservation in New Zealand.

We need your help to cultivate new ideas to lift the game for our precious places and wildlife.

It’s great that people are submitting interesting ideas and we want to use the power of the crowd to help determine which ones will fly – That means YOU!

It’s not just the awards entrants we want participating in this challenge we need YOU to join in by commenting and voting on the ideas. We want to tap into your knowledge of community conservation and hear what YOU think will work as the next new idea for nature!

To do this we’ve created milestones that each idea has to pass before it is eligible for final judging by our expert panel. To pass the milestones ideas need to win votes from the Conservation Innovation Community - that means YOU - and entrants have to think about how they could refine their idea based on YOUR feedback.

milestones screen shot

Do any of the ideas tackle problems you have experienced? Can you see the solutions working for you? Then give it your vote!

Have you noticed similarities between any ideas in this challenge or know of any similar ideas elsewhere? Use the comments function to find out if the idea authors have done their homework! If you think the idea is truly original - give it your vote!

For the final milestone entrants are asked to improve their idea based on feedback from the community, and through scoping other ideas – please contribute your knowledge and experience to help them see how their idea could work and who they might be able to collaborate with – get commenting now!

Please comment and vote on the entries in the WWF Conservation Innovation Awards 2016 to help us find solutions that can really work.

 

How to comment and vote on ideas

Go to the Conservation Innovation Awards 2016 page on our crowdsourcing website wwf-nz.crowdicity.com.

Scroll down to view all the submitted ideas.

Click on the idea you are interested in to display the full brief for that idea.

To vote for the idea click on the thumbs up button on the right hand side of the screen. You can vote once for each new idea.

 voting screen shot

To comment on the idea scroll down to the bottom of the page and type your feedback in the comments box, then click on the “post” button.

commenting screen shot

You can attach files with your comment if they are relevant, for instance an image or review of a similar idea. Just click on the “Attach files” button to access your files (100MB size limit on attachments).

Thank you for helping us change the game for New Zealand nature.

Do you have an idea that could be a game changer for New Zealand's voluntary conservation army, and our precious wildlife?

Would you like $25,000 to take you to the next level and get your brilliant idea out into the world?

If you want to be the next great kiwi innovator get your ideas ready now …. the WWF 2016 Conservation Innovation Awards are NOW OPEN!

Detected a great idea for nature meme

WWF is rewarding fresh ideas that will help front-line conservation volunteers to protect New Zealand’s special places and wildlife.The third annual Conservation Innovation Awards will be open for entries from 26 September to 14 October 2016.

We want to hear about any gadgets, tools or innovative projects that you’ve developed to make tackling conservation obstacles, like eradicating invasive pests and saving native species, a little easier.

Last year’s winners were a wasp-killing bait, an iwi-led restoration project and a new-generation lizard monitoring system. 

Be inspired by the success stories of previous winners on the WWF New Zealand website.

“The WWF Conservation Innovation Awards has allowed me to buy the hardware I needed to develop Trap Minder. Without it, I would still be pitching it, not developing it.” 2014 winner Gian Badraun.

We’ve created a crowdsourcing website that allows people to get feedback and refine their ideas over a three-week period. So if you have an idea, enter today to take advantage of the power of the crowd and see what the future of conservation might look like!

If you are involved in community conservation in New Zealand, we want to hear from you too. As well as new ideas we want to generate conversation and feedback from the people on the front-line of conservation. Please visit our online Conservation Innovation Hub and let us know how the innovative ideas submitted could help your project.

"The Conservation Innovation Awards are a great way of sharing ideas for conservation around New Zealand and building a community of conservation innovators." 2014 runner up Rachel Fewster, Auckland University

Please share this message with your networks and print out a poster for your workplace. We want to get everyone talking about conservation innovation!

 

Any queries message Community Conservation Coordinator, Becky Wilson, through the Conservation Innovation Hub or email at rwilson@wwf.org.nz

The Kiwi innovators behind a wasp-killing bait, an Iwi-led restoration project and a new-generation native lizard monitoring system will each be awarded a $25,000 grant to recognise their contribution to innovation in conservation.

The three winners, from Nelson, Tolaga Bay and Wellington will be congratulated by TV3 Presenter, Samantha Hayes, and ‘the Bugman’ Ruud Kleinpaste at an event in Wellington tonight (Thurs) marking Conservation Week. The Conservation Innovation Awards are a WWF initiative which seek to unearth new ideas to boost conservation action in New Zealand.

The winning ideas are:

Lure, Trap & Retreat! – out-of-date 1960s ‘bucket’ traps are the current standard for monitoring more than 100 species of endemic New Zealand lizards. The idea of a new-style trap, submitted by Wellington-based EcoGecko Consultants, who describe lizards as the ‘forgotten fauna’, will replace these unreliable tools and help keep track of these ecologically important reptiles.

The Uawanui Project –this Iwi-led community project from the East Cape is based on the principle that a healthy environment means healthy people. With a long-term commitment to ensuring conservation becomes part of everyday life, the Te-Aitanga-A-Hauiti, Uawa Tolaga Bay Community and Allan Wilson Centre project seeks to integrate environmental efforts with economic, social and cultural development and education in the Uawa Tolaga Bay area.  

Vespex Wasp Bait – invasive wasps cause around $60 million worth of damage to the New Zealand environment every year, and are responsible for stealing food from native species and killing newly hatched birds. The Vespex wasp bait is a new protein-based bait that wasps carry back to their own nests – and which, importantly, is unattractive to bees. The brain-child of Richard Toft of Entecol Ltd, it has been successfully trialled in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and has environmental safety and good stewardship at the heart of its development.

WWF’s Michele Frank, who oversees community conservation projects for WWF nationwide, says the entries submitted to this year’s awards were truly inspirational.

“These awards are an exciting collaboration between people who share a passion for improving the natural environment. Using a crowdsourcing website, entrants posted their ideas publicly, joined discussions with site visitors and then adapted their ideas in response to comments,” says Michele.

“We are proud to be celebrating our winners for being at the forefront of conservation thinking and committed to developing ideas that look set to change the game. By harnessing creativity like this we can bring better tools to the community volunteer army and better protect our wildlife, sooner.”

The finalists in the awards were judged by an independent panel comprised ofMatthew Monahan, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and co-founder of Kiwi Connect, Devon McLean director of Project Janszoon, Justine Daw, general manager of partnerships at Landcare Research, and Shane Inder, programme leader of Industrial Design at AUT.

How might we best spur new ideas for nature?

It's been a pleasure to be part of this year's Conservation Innovation Awards since the day it launched. I've watched the momentum build, the ideas flow and the conversations spark. Most importantly, I've heard stories of people who wouldn't normally speak up and throw their hat in the ring, do just that.

 

I've spent the last two and a half years running Design & Innovation Challenges and supporting emerging projects & ventures to improve youth wellbeing in Aotearoa, and I've seen a variety of online platforms which try to do the same for different causes. My last 8 years has been spent on a mixture of volunteer management for environmental restoration with CVNZ & Raleigh International, social enterprise development with Enspiral, technology ventures such as Bucky Box, and community building for a social lab called Lifehack.

 

When I heard WWF were planning to use Crowdicity, I was excited to see what it would bring forth. In a previous year I'd applied for the Conservation Innovation Award, but the process just seemed very stale - fill in an application form, wait for a panel to pick their favourite, and then receive a notification whether or not you'd won. It felt like it was missing the interesting trends of crowd participation, collaboration and discourse.

 

This year has been a different feast all together. 

 

How it began

When I saw that the applications were open to everyone, I was excited. It broke down the "people will steal your idea" culture which is stifling innovative ideas from ever getting off the ground (it's OK, no one will steal your idea, people), and promoted the very things which will help shape those ideas and let them loose in the world - Social Capital and Critical Thinking.

 

So I jumped in early - I think there were about 3 other ideas at the time. I posted my first idea for Visual Reporting for Restoration Groups which I've been brewing for the best part of 3 years - having blended my personal & professional experience as a volunteer and volunteer manager, engaged others in research, explored social enterprise business models, and prototyped to gain feedback. From my experience building projects and ventures, I know it's wise to try lots of little things to help shape the idea over time, rather than building something based on a lot of assumptions and little evidence - so whilst I've been building my skills and capacity in other projects, I've been developing Volunteer Impact quietly in the background, building a crowd of interested people.

 

It was to these people I posted a blog post and a call out on Facebook about my first idea - Visual Reporting:

Facebook Post about Volunteer Impact

 

I was amazed by the feedback and very quickly my idea was propelled to the 'People's Support' milestone, comments began to flow, and then I hit the 'Originality' milestone a day or so later. I was delighted that the idea caught the imaginations of people, but the real reason I wanted to enter the innovation challenge (as well as the prize money) was the vital new connections to be made and the critical thought which comes from people who know the sector better than I.

 

Whilst my idea has been honed over countless discussions, surveys, observation and ethnographic methods, it sits in the context of the wider Conservation & Restoration movement, and it's intrinsically based on grassroots organisers. I wanted to reach more of them and see what they had to say.

 

Buoyed by the first idea's success, I launched the second big feature idea which people have been telling me they're keen to have as part of Volunteer Impact: Photopoint Monitoring.

Hero Image of Photopoint Monitoring by Volunteer Impact

 

Critical thinking began to flow

The application process has limited characters to try to keep us concise, and on point. This is helpful to give a snapshot of the idea, but not so helpful to let people dig into the detail - this is where the Comment threads were invaluable.

 

The first few comments allowed me to explain some of the claims I made - such as huge reductions in admin time, and increases in funding and volunteer engagement. Some people chipped in with other things they'd seen which might have a similar vein - such as graphic design tools, or apps. The next layer of comments down were the most useful ones however - they challenged me to build on my idea and hone it further into something which would create value for restoration groups and their stakeholders. They were characterised by people sharing links to existing processes and frameworks for reporting which were time consuming and largely paper-based, or built on clunky old technologies which were in need of an update.

 

Soon enough Volunteer Impact was across the line with some refinements, and into the pool of Finalists for judging!

 

Connections began to form

Through the process of these awards, I've received several great connections through the comments, through social media, and some requests on LinkedIn too! Whilst these are in the early stages, it's heartening to see that people are keen to connect, as well as suggest other projects in the awards which it would make sense to speak further with about integrations and collaboration - it makes perfect sense for services such as Volunteer Impact to team up with research teams where possible, as well as other complementary products & services.

 

There are several ideas which are mutually supporting such as Trap.NZ, CatchIT and my Volunteer Impact which people had a tendency to want to encourage to merge. Yet exactly what we need in the sector is diversity of ideas and approaches which are nimble and compatible - this is strength and resilience. I was led to muse about it on the CatchIT comment thread:

Conservation Innovation comment thread

 

Through the process I've also decided to explore Citizen Science as a dimension for Volunteer Impact's future, and booked a date in the diary with Kimberley Collins who has a fair bit of experience in this topic, to do a mini hackfest to get an NZ Citizen Science directory off the ground!

 

Where to from here?

I see there's two main parts to this question; my project, and the WWF Conservation Innovation Awards.

 

For Volunteer Impact

Volunteer Impact banner

I'm committed to seeing this project come to fruition as I now feel excellently positioned to lead and execute on the idea. 3 years ago when I first proposed it, I felt like I didn't quite have the capability to execute, but having spent the intervening time immersed in the world of design, innovation & social entreprenurship, I feel like I have the capability to bring this to life. I do hold out hope that the judges will pick out my idea as one with promise, as the money will enable me to build a tight little team of designers and developers to refine and bring the project to more restoration groups. That said, if we don't win, we will still do the same, just over a longer period of time (likely a year or two, instead of a few months). Our aim is to build a sustainable social enterprise focused on leveraging technology to enable and empower the environmental sector and the volunteers who flow through it.

 

You can follow our journey on our blog, sign up for information on our website, or spark up a conversation with us on Twitter.

 

For WWF 

Conservation Innovation Awards

 

It feels like this has been an exciting forray into running an open innovation challenge for WWF. Having investigated a range of models from around the world, I think there's a lot of exciting places that WWF could go from here - such as looking at setting up a more permanent environmental innovation lab (based on social lab design or programmes like Smart Energy Challenge), or running more face to face events, meetups and opportunities for people to engage meaningfully with the problems and possible solutions.

 

Personally, I'd like to see WWF and other innovation challenge conveners use their sector-wide relationships and insight to help to identify and focus more collaborative energy toward key areas which need addressing. This might look like naming a couple of key challenges - such as Zero Predators, increase Youth Volunteering, or Citizen Science hardware - and running engagement programmes based around these. It may also mean dropping the "idea first" style of innovation challenge, and moving to a model where ideas are co-created by participants of the challenge - something we've found extremely empowering in our work with Lifehack.

 

Whatever happens, let's keep our eye on the prize - thriving and flourishing biodiversity in Aotearoa!

 

On Saturday I got a text from a mate (cheers Robbie @goodnature) asking whether I’d checked out WWF’s Conservation Innovation Awards: “tieke in the city would be great for the community project category”. 

I hadn’t, and when I scanned the details re-considering submitting Polhill, I saw that the crowdsourcing process was just about closed (we had six days). Bugger - it looked like a great opportunity filled with promising projects. I was anxious that we didn’t have enough time to gee up the required support (and a little intimidated by the deep discussion already onsite), and I mailed WWF’s Lee to see if it was worth submitting. 

‘What have you got to lose?’ Lee said, to kick us up the butt. And fair enough: if we are a community project that couldn’t rustle 30 votes, then it’s not a great starting point for consideration is it?   

So it’s a couple of days later, and after a nervy Sunday arvo submission, we’ve met our milestones to be considered. Lee asked us to blog about how we got to our vote target swiftly. 

There’s no secret sauce: Polhill has captured hundreds of people’s imaginations, and we have a broad group of Polhill Protectors passionately working to achieve the vision to get saddleback (and more) back in the city. 

BUT we still had to get them to vote in a short space of time. So, if it’s inspiration to any of the other projects still clicking refresh on the climb to 30, here’s what we did:

As the Awards' voting process means people have to register and then vote, we had to shift people out of browse mode and spur them to commit. We sent out a short email to our general mailing list with very clear instructions on what to do (a. register b. vote - click here etc.). It was entitled ‘Polhill needs your vote’, and I signed off with a bit of humour ('the birds will tweet their thanks!) to leaven the imperative.

Our first target was to reach 30, but we also need to demonstrate the depth of commitment to the Polhill experiment, and generate comparable commentary to projects that had been up for weeks. So we sent a separate message to a ‘hard core' of Polhill Protectors, who we urged to comment personally, or on behalf of their organisation. We could be a bit more ‘pushy’ in asking these folks to vote as they had the most invested in Polhill (e.g. the Massey design students who are using Polhill as their subject for Creative Enterprise paper; cheers to Hannah Ng for the great tieke promo image). 

We also have an active Facebook page where we posted. Some of these users intersect but there are also others who are not on mailing lists, and might still want to show support; so, still effective. I held off doing this until Monday during work hours (when more people would be checking social media …) and commented after hours to refresh the post when people would be checking in again after bedtime/dinner etc. 

We’re fortunate in that many of our group (Victoria and Massey students, travel bloggers, instagrammers, tech/IT workers etc.) are digital natives so could respond quickly. We all live busy lives, so the strategy was to make the process as simple as possible.

This same kaupapa informs the conservation work we’re doing in Polhill: give supporters the platform to express their passion for the space and its birds’n’bush, at a level that works for them (alongside, and often with, family, study commitments). They might be into getting amongst it in the field with the kaka, toutouwai and tieke (trapping, monitoring, research, planting etc.), but if biking or sliding down gnarly hillsides isn’t your thing, you can help with social media, GIS, data entry, comms, mail-drops (or refreshments, cheers Garage Project!) = make it natural for supporters to love nature.

Anyway, hope that has been helpful: take Lee’s “nothing to lose” advice and rally your troops. Good luck! It’s inspiring to see the level of thought and commitment amongst the proposals.

Go well.

Paul @Polhill Protectors

Check out our idea "Saddleback in the City"

Dear all

I have helped WWF New Zealand to set up this challenge, and Lee Barry has told me that some of you are concerned about their intellectual property. Since we have run quite a lot of similar challenges in Switzerland, Lee has asked me to share my thoughts on this topic.

In many cases it's in your best interest to openly disclose as much of your idea as possible, because this will help you to get more feedback. Which in turn will help you to improve your idea. And it's also quite likely that more people will vote for your idea if they have been in touch with you. Therefore my recommendation to most of you is: don't worry and share all of your ideas!

However, I am well aware of the fact that some of you have put a lot of effort into developing a new solution, and it's understandable that they don't want to see their idea to be "stolen". There are cases when it makes sense not to disclose intellectual property - for example when you have developed a new technology. In this case my advice is: don't mention the details of your technology, and focus on what you are trying to achieve. People will still be able to give you valuable feedback, but they won't learn enough about the details to steal anything. We have had thousands of participants in online challenges, and we have never had an issue with "theft"!

Some of you may have ideas that can be stolen relatively easily. This risk is greatest if you have developed a social innovation. Publishing such an idea here could theoretically increase the risk of idea theft. However, the "thief" would probably hear about your idea anyway, once you start implementing it. So you can't really avoid this problem. What you can do, however, is to think about it differently: if people like your idea, they are likely to interact with you via comments. This is a great way to get to know like-minded people who might end up working with you on your project. And the more people support you, the more likely you are to create a lasting impact. And the more people you have on your team, the more difficult it will be for somebody else to "beat" you.

This is why I believe in online challenges: the potential to benefit from this format is much greater than the risk!

Have fun, and feel free to get in touch with me (holger.hoffmann-riem@wwf.ch) if you have any questions!

Best wishes from the other side of the planet

Holger

 

 

An expert in the flora of Germany is one of the leading submitters to the 2015 Conservation Innovation Awards. Ines Schoenberger has worked around the world cataloguing, preserving and identifying botanical samples and making them available for research and public interest.

She is currently the collection manager of the Allan Herbarium at Landcare Research in Christchurch, and her idea “Getting to know the enemy before you can fight it” proposes to digitise the herbarium’s collection to improve access to information on New Zealand weeds and how they are spread.

Ines has a PhD in New Zealand plant identification, and says, “Despite attempts to keep new weeds out of New Zealand, some species still find their way into the country the exact way species arrived decades ago. Many weeds occurred first around ports where they were brought in on ballast of ships. Ports still seem to be a portal for weeds  - for example a new weedChilean rice grass was discovered in Camp Bay in Lyttelton Harbour on Banks Peninsula discovered in 2011. This shows that more vigorous controls should be put in place and people living near ports should keep an eye out for new plant species popping up!”

 In her post, Ines says her idea to give everyone access to a huge catalogue of images and data about existing and new weeds  means that the public, biosecurity officers, farmers, horticulturists and ecologists will be able to determine when our already well-known weeds were first recorded, and will also be made aware of new potential weeds.

“Community initiatives, such as The Weedbusters, might use this information to monitor likely areas for high-priority weeds, and eradicate new weed arrivals earlier than otherwise might be the case,” she writes.

We asked Ines about her experience of the Awards so far:

WWF: How did you hear about the Conservation Innovation Awards?

Ines: My manager at Landcare Research told me about it – she had been contacted by WWF to see if our staff had any good ideas to put up. Mine was actually one of the first ideas posted – so I helped to test the system a little bit too!

WWF: This online open application process is new for everyone. How have you found it?

Ines: The entire experience with the Crowdicity site so far has been very exciting and motivating. I have never done anything like that before and I don’t use social media or blogs or anything, but the Crowdicity site and being a part of it, being challenged by questions, being able to see other ideas and their progress is real fun! 

WWF: Have you experienced any problems using the site?

Ines:  It all worked very well and is very interactive. I received emails at each milestone with clear instructions. I have also received notification whenever somebody voted for me or when someone commented.

WWF: You are now up to the last Milestone which involves refining your idea. Are you clear on what to do next?

Ines: I do have access to the additional questions and will fill them in asap, I think I know what to do next!

 Read Ines' idea here

 

 

 

All about milestones

Posted by Lee Barry Sep 8, 2015

Our Conservation Innovation Awards here on Crowdicity are a little different to other competitions - not only can everyone see your entry, but there are a few hurdles to pass after you enter, but before your entry is eligible for final judging.

These are called 'milestones'. Its a common term - you've heard it before. It means a significant stage or event in the development of something.

Our challenge has four milestones that ideas must pass:

  • submitted
  • support
  • originality
  • refine

 

Two milestones are determined by gaining a certain amount of votes from other users and one requires idea authors to answer some extra questions. We may add more milestones as the challenge progresses.

Gaining votes is a way of the community confirming  that the idea meets certain standards - its not a popularity contest; that's why the votes are capped at a low number. These milestones tap into the knowledge of the community. We want to hear what you think will work as the next new idea for nature!

Above every idea post you'll see this line of green, red and grey dots. This shows where the idea is on the milestone journey:

The box of text underneath tells the user who is viewing the idea (or idea author if it is their own post) what standard the idea should meet to pass that milestone. For example, users will see the box above for  Milestone 2 'Support'.

Users are asked to consider "if you can see this ideas really taking off, give it your vote". It also suggests users consider if the idea solves a conservation problem they have experienced before. It asks users to apply their knowledge and check if the idea meets the criteria. 

For idea authors they will see a different message in the box. Their message reads : "This is a brave step!... Finding out if others think your idea could work. Just 10 votes from the community are needed to verify that your idea could take off."

By mousing over any milestone icon, you can see a summary of what the milestone requires:

 

Here are the criteria for all the milestones currently set up:

Milestone 1: Submission

- Creat an idea, and hit submit

- Posted ideas automatically meet this milestone!

Milestone 2: Support -  Will this idea fly? Is this a common conservation problem with a workable solution? 10 votes from the community are needed to achieve this Milestone

- Users are asked: "If you can see this idea really taking off, give it your vote. The idea needs to be, in your opinion, a viable solution to the stated problem. Is this a problem you have experienced? Can you see this solution working for you? Then give it your vote!"

- Once ten votes are gained, the idea meets this milestone

Milestone 3: Originality  - Is this idea new, unique or a clever twist on an existing idea? 20 additional votes are needed to pass this Milestone

- Users are asked: "Is this idea taking a new approach? Have you seen this somewhere before -  or is there a similar idea in this challenge? Use the comments function to find out if the idea authors have done their homework! If you think the idea is truly original - give it your vote!"

- Once the idea gains an additional 20 votes, it meets this milestone

Milestone 4: Refine - Idea submitters are asked to improve their idea based on feedback from the community, and through scoping other ideas

 - Idea authors are asked: "You have great support for your idea already - people think it is viable and original. Have you received any comments or seen any other ideas here that have made you think differently about your idea? What could you improve? Who could you collaborate with?"

- Once idea authors have answered these two additional questions, by filling out new form fields which are displayed in their updated post, their idea will pass this milestone

- This is not a 'vote' milestone, it requires the idea authors to take stock of what they learned from the community's feedback and consider if they can do better.

 

THIS is crowdsourcing!

 

WWF’s conservation innovation awards open

 

The search is on for new ideas that will enhance the conservation effort in New Zealand.

With WWF’s Conservation Innovation Awards now open for a second year, the nationwide quest for the next big thing in environmental protection runs until Friday 2nd October 2015.

Kiwi innovators from all walks of life—from research labs to garden sheds and everywhere in-between—are encouraged to apply their creativity and come up with new tools, gadgets and concepts to aid the work of frontline conservation volunteers throughout the country.

Designed to help innovators fast-track their ideas to development, the awards fall into three categories—product, community project and research—and offer $25,000 prize money to each category winner.

Entry this year is via a new crowdsourcing website. To take advantage of this, entrants need to submit their ideas as soon as they can at wwf.org.nz/innovation.

Lee Barry, WWF’s Conservation Innovation Awards Coordinator, explains: “Entries are posted onto the crowdsourcing platform, registered site users then comment and feedback on the ideas. Entrants can then take these comments on board and refine their submissions.

“The power of the crowd is gaining momentum and for the Conservation Innovation Awards this collective approach means that ideas for furthering conservation work, which will ultimately benefit all New Zealanders, can be fine-tuned to their full potential.”

Entries will be judged by an independent panel which will look for entries that have practical application and clear benefit for grass roots conservation groups. Judges include Silicon Valley entrepreneur Matthew Monahan and conservation visionary Devon McLean.

Last year’s award winning ideas included: Trap Minder - a mobile phone predator alert; Cat Tracker- aresearch tool enabling owners to monitor their behaviour and impact on wildlife; Energise Otaki – a community-wide initiative to reduce the town’s emissions and promote renewable energy.

 

How do I load a photo to my idea?

You can load photo files (JPEG, GIF, PNG), video files, PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc to explain your idea in more details. Please note the maximum file size is 100MB. The file library can be a little slow to load, so please be patient. 

Here are some instructions to help load files:

1. At the bottom the 'post an idea' page, click on Attach Files. 

2. Click on Choose File (top left) which will then provide you with the ability to browse your computer.

3. Choose the correct file and press open. This closes your computer’s browser. The title of the image you  have chosen should now appear next to the Choose File button.

4. Click on Upload File to add to the library. Your image will now appear in the File Library. 

5. Check (tick) the box next to the image you want to display with your post

6. Click on 'Save choices'

7. The File Library will close, returning you to the Attache Files window in your idea post, where the image/s should be displayed

6. Repeat steps 2 - 4 to load more files to your File Library, repeat step 5-7 to attach them to your current idea 

 Your File Library is available to you for any future posts you make.

Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by Lee Barry Sep 4, 2015

Do you have a question about the awards, or how to use this platform?

You won't be the only one!

This is the first time a "Crowdicity" ideas sharing platform has been used in New Zealand - and the first time WWF-New Zealand has run the awards in an online collaborative community - so we are learning as we go!

Bear with us while we experiement with this novel approach - we are not experts but we are here to help make your experience a great one. 

Read our Application Guide first. You can also use the HELP icon top right of every screen. Still have a question? Find some answers in the following posts. Or contact awards co-ordinator Lee Barry.

 

Our intention is to harness the power of the crowd to contribute to, comment on, share and improve new ideas to solve conservation challenges ... with a bit of healthy competition and a nice big reward thrown in.

The users of this community will make new connections, discover shared interests - perhaps even meet a potential collaborator.

At the same time, a bunch of crazy and great ideas will be peer reviewed by the collective knowledge of this online community. The community will judge if an idea has legs, if it is well scoped and truly original. The cream of the crop will make it through the Milestones for the judges to assess. But the entire pool of entries will be a resource for the conservation community to build on.

We hope you enjoy this challenge!

Picture this – you’re sitting in front of the TV when an alert pops up on screen; there’s been an incursion at one of the predator traps you’re monitoring. Instead of pulling on your boots and jacket you quickly swipe to pause Coronation Street and prepare to launch a drone. Later, as you settle back down, another alert pops up; the incursion is now dealt with. Sounds like science fiction? It could be closer than you might think.

In 2014 WWF launched New Zealand’s first ever Conservation Innovation Awards, with the tagline of finding ‘new ideas for nature’. The product category and $25,000 were awarded to TrapMinder, the brainchild of inventor Gian Badraun. TrapMinder is an automated trap monitoring system that could one day feature drones to remotely control predators in isolated locations, saving countless hours of leg work.

    

New Zealand conservation is currently at a turning point. Despite our best efforts nine out of 10 kiwi chicks born in the wild will not survive. This decline is not unique to kiwi. New Zealand species are among the most endangered in the world.  With our Department of Conservation woefully underfunded, the scale of the challenge is escalating. Voluntary groups are being asked to do more, yet funding and other support is not keeping pace. If we are to turn this around, we must work smarter; we need to innovate.

New Zealanders are known for doing just that. One such famous innovator was Timaru’s Colin Murdoch, a prolific inventor who produced over 40 patents before he died in 2008. 

Colin’s most important invention was the disposable hypodermic syringe, a revolution in healthcare. But he also had a passion for conservation, and while working to control wild goat and deer populations, he had the idea that the animals would be easier to handle if a dose of tranquillizer could be administered from a distance. The result was the tranquillizer dart, now a vital tool in wildlife conservation around the world.

Image of tranquilized rhino attended by wildlife conservation staff    

Colin’s ideas were not developed in isolation; he knew that for ideas to blossom, they must first be fostered through collaboration.

WWF’s 2015 Conservation Innovation Awards will seek to harness this very spirit of working together in the search for our next Gian Badraun or Colin Murdoch. For the first time, inventors, conservationists, inquiring minds and ideas people will be able to propose, critique and refine ideas in real time through this online ideas platform. It’s a 21st century way to answer our most pressing conservation problems, and might just be one small step towards a drone you can launch from the couch.

Get involved in the Conservation Innovation Awards – post your new idea for nature, or comment and vote to help others improve theirs.

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