Conservationist honoured with top award

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A Nelson woman with a passion for conservation has been recognised for more than 30 years of services to Forest and Bird.

Julie McLintock has recently been awarded with the ‘Old Blue Award’ at a Forest and Bird meeting in Wellington, in honour of her dedication and hard work to help protect native wildlife and restore their habitat. The award is presented annually to a handful of members who have done outstanding work in conservation.

The Cable Bay resident, who is also a founding member of the Nelson Botanical Society, joined Forest and Bird in the 1980s and has been involved in everything from organising planting days, monthly public meetings, weeding, and picking up rubbish on the beach. “I just do the organising,” she says, “everybody else involved deserves this award just as much as me.”

One of the major projects Julie has been involved with is the Paremata Flats restoration. The project, which started in 2007, involves the major trapping of stoats and rats in the estuary.

Now the area, which was once derelict of native bird life, flourishes with the rare South Island Fernbird and Banded Rail.

“The bird population has exploded and I’m so proud of the fact we have all these birds,” she says. “There used to be nothing.”

Another project she has played a key role in is the Pelorus Bat recovery project, which began in 2011. They have been trapping mice, rats, weasels, stoats, ferrets and possums, in order to save the struggling long-tailed bat population. “If we don’t do something they are going to disappear like in other parts in New Zealand. That’s why Forest and Bird gets out there.”

Julie’s passion for all things native started later if life, after growing up in native-barren mid-Canterbury.  “When I did get involved my whole outlook changed and I could see all that work that needed doing. Now I want to show people things that I missed when I was younger,” she says. Julie says the award is something that will stay with her forever, as a reminder of her passion for all things native.

“I’m just so proud to have it,” she says.