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Environmental Initiatives Fund important for start-ups

Waikato Regional Council’s Environmental Initiatives Fund is helping Taupo’s Robyn Ellis do what she loves best – and that’s encouraging residents, landowners and businesses to help Taupo become predator free.

Predator Free Taupo was awarded $20,000 from the fund last year for a dedicated coordinator to support community efforts in trapping, particularly at sites of high ecological importance.

Robyn, who has taken on the job, says people are really keen to get involved, “they just need help and support to get going”.

“I love to talk to people about what they can do to help. The funding has really given me the opportunity to do that.

“I help people apply for funding so they can get set up with their own traps. I’m helping encourage people to trap in their backyards, or gullies, and we’re getting tourist businesses involved.”

Waikato Regional Council is currently seeking applications for the Environmental Initiatives Fund, one of its Natural Heritage Partnership Programme funds.

This year there is approximately $300,000 to give to projects that directly enhance and/or benefit the environment or provide environmental education. Grants can be multi-year with a total limit of $40,000.

Waikato Regional Council biodiversity project manager Judy van Rossem says the fund isn’t just for pest management or biodiversity work. “It can be used for waste minimisation, energy efficiency and environmental education; it can be used to pay for people’s time to coordinate projects, or to fund workshops – it’s not just for materials but labour, too.”

Ms van Rossem says Taupo Predator Free’s grant is an excellent example of how community groups or organisations can use the council’s Natural Heritage Partnership Programme funds to get environmental work, which is largely voluntary, off the ground.

“We funded project coordination of predator free groups in the Taupo area as a start-up. The idea then is that individuals and groups develop their own project plans and apply to Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund (SSCIF) in the future to purchase traps.

“This kind of coordination is really valuable. A lot of environmental work is voluntary, but it still takes time, effort and money to get results.”

Applications to the Environmental Initiatives Fund close on June 15 and can be made online at https://waikatoregion.smartygrants.com.au/EIFJuly2018(external link)

For more information on the Environmental Initiatives Fund see https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/community/funding-and-scholarships/environmental-initiatives-fund/

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