The Council of Australasian Weed Societies (CAWS) is now accepting entries for its 2007 Awards to recognise the most weed-wise plant nurseries in New Zealand and Australia.
The CAWS Award, introduced last year, has been expanded to include an Award each for Australia and New Zealand, acknowledging nurseries who pro-actively educate the public about plants that pose environmental risks.
CAWS New Zealand representative Ian Popay said the Awards encouraged a shift to safer alternatives to those plants that could escape from gardens and threaten native plants, wildlife and environments.
“Invasive garden plants are a major environmental problem in both New Zealand and Australia. It costs both countries millions of dollars to control them and arrest the immense damage they cause,” Dr Popay said.
“CAWS, through these Awards, wants to encourage nurseries to be more responsible about the plants they promote and sell, and to help educate the public about the plants that pose weed threats,” he said.
“Many serious weeds in New Zealand and Australia were introduced as garden ornamentals. CAWS hopes these Awards will provide positive publicity for retail nurseries that refuse to sell well-known invasive garden plants, and who support education for their customers.
“We hope that these Awards will also encourage more awareness of the high-risk plants, and good alternatives people can use in their gardens,” Dr Popay said.
Last year’s inaugural winner, Zanthorrhoea nursery in Western Australia, said publicity from the Award resulted in greater awareness, not only for invasive plants, but for its business.
Nominations for the New Zealand award should be with The Secretary of The New Zealand Plant Protection Society, PO Box 11094, Hastings, by 30 April.
New Zealand and State/Territory winners in Australia, will be decided by 31 May, and announced in June.
The criteria for and other details about the award are detailed on the NZ Plant Protection website at www.nzpps.org.
Dr Popay said winners would receive a certificate, with the two over-all winners for New Zealand and Australia receiving a trophy. All winners will be publicised through their local media.
CAWS is an independent group that seeks to inform, encourage and promote effective weed management to minimise the high economic, environmental and social impacts of invasive plants.