Long time conservation supporter, Linda Campbell of Feilding, is a recipient of a 2011 Conservation Award from the Department of Conservation.
“This award recognises the efforts and achievements of people like Linda who work quietly behind the scenes, but are really making a difference on the ground,” said Department of Conservation Manawatü Rangitïkei Area Manager Jason Roxburgh.
In her private life, Linda has helped DOC with long-tailed bat surveys, the Te Potae O Awarua stoat trap line and supported many and various plantings and public events.
But it is her work as a role model for students and the wider community that really stands out. “As a school principal, I want to develop good citizens, and that is partly what school involvement in conservation is about,” explained Linda.
It began at Okaiawa School in rural Taranaki, where Linda involved the school in worm farming, recycling and water studies. She arranged field trips and camps with environmental themes. Linda’s most memorable camp was a trip to Waitomo, where staff from DOC taught the students about native bats and led a night trip in the caves.
Linda became principal of Kimbolton School in 2003, and soon involved the students in a variety of conservation activities, achieving Gold (Level 3) status in the Enviro-School programme. The school adopted the Kimbolton Scenic Bush Reserve, where they combat weeds, grow eco-sourced plants, carry out insect studies, and help with pest control, fencing, and track development.
Linda and students of Kimbolton School refuel after planting spinifex at Tangimoana Beach with DOC in 2010
But their conservation efforts extend beyond this. In 2009, students restored the old library in Kimbolton. The school holds annual clean-ups during Keep New Zealand Beautiful week. They are part of the ‘Paper for Trees’ and ‘Trees for Survival’ programmes and grow native sand binding grasses to plant at Manawatu beaches with DOC. They are also strong advocates for recycling in the wider community.
Like many of the unsung heroes of conservation, Linda is reluctant to accept responsibility for this - “These things only happen if there is a team working together,” she said. “I am really surprised to be getting a Conservation Award, because I don’t think it is deserved. I haven’t really done a lot of hands-on stuff compared to some people. I’m more about getting children and other people involved.”
“You don’t have to be hands-on to contribute,” comments Mr Roxburgh. “Thanks to Linda’s enthusiastic leadership and persistence, the Kimbolton community is now very aware of conservation and parents are actively involved with the school’s environmental efforts. This kind of support is invaluable.”
Linda Campbell’s award will be presented at an afternoon tea for the school community during the last week of term.