INDEPENDENT NEWS

Forest and Bird appoints seasoned campaigner

Published: Mon 11 Aug 2003 09:11 AM
Forest and Bird appoints seasoned campaigner to lead role.
Forest and Bird has appointed seasoned campaigner and conservationist Kevin Hackwell to be Forest and Bird's Conservation Director, President Dr Gerry McSweeney announced today.
"Kevin combines a strong natural sciences background with the desire to involve more people of all ages in celebrating and protecting New Zealand's unique plants, animals and natural landscapes," Dr McSweeney said.
"Forest and Bird has a proud 80 year history of championing the protection of nature. At a time when many land management organisations are appointing people from outside NZ to lead their staff, we think it is fitting that Forest and Bird has found a talented and committed New Zealander to maintain our commitment to safeguarding New Zealand's natural heritage," he said.
"Kevin's special interest has been the conservation of native forest ecosystems. At a time when the future of blue duck, yellow head, kiwi and kaka has never been more in doubt because of the impact of predators, Kevin's conservation campaigning skills will be crucial," he said.
Mr. Hackwell is a trained ecologist and worked for the former Department of Scientific and Industrial Research's Ecology Division as a scientist. In 1999, with economist Geoff Bertram, he co-authored the report "Pests and Weeds: The Cost of Restoring the Dawn Chorus" on behalf of the New Zealand Conservation Authority. The report found pests and weeds were costing the economy nearly $1 billion a year.
Mr. Hackwell has been active in the conservation movement including spending 19 years on the Tongariro/Taupo Conservation Board, active involvement with Forest and Bird and campaigning to protect the forests of the South Island West Coast. Mr. Hackwell is a previous chair and deputy chair of Greenpeace New Zealand.
"It's a chance to go back to my roots. I trained as an ecologist to work for conservation so it's a great opportunity to work in conservation, which is one of my passions," Mr. Hackwell said.
"I intend to build on the work that Forest and Bird does well - a strong and active membership base combined with excellent and committed professional staff," he said.
Mr. Hackwell is currently director of Wellington's Downtown Community Ministry.
Note:
Mr. Hackwell replaces Eric Pyle who has taken a position with the Ministry of Research Science and Technology. Mr. Hackwell will start working in the position in September.

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