T wo ‘‘local heroes’’ have had their hard work and dedication looking after Alexandra’s surrounding environment recognised nationally.
Retired Alexandra couple Jo Wilson and Joe Sherriff have each been given a ‘‘Local Hero’’ award in Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s 2020 Beautiful Awards. They heard the news recently and were delighted.
There is a formal dinner in Auckland on October 29 where they will receive their awards, Covid-19 dependent.
Mr Sherriff said they were surprised when nominated by Keep Alexandra Clyde Beautiful’s Bev Thomson for their work with native plantings, predator trapping and weed control.
They moved to Alexandra from Invercargill about four years ago and spend much of their time volunteering for environmental projects, including planting, clearing weeds, spraying and trapping.
They were involved in Project Gold, helping plant 30 kowhai as well as other native plants in the Lookout Reserve.
They both volunteer at the Haehaeata Natural Heritage Trust’s Clyde Community Eco Nursery and they go seedcollecting.
‘‘All the seeds are tracked, recorded from where they were collected, and where the plants go to,’’ Ms Wilson said.
They have a line of traps along the river for predators, and they spray to eradicate broom, Clematis tangutica, briar rose and invasive prickly pear in their area.
Ms Wilson is president of the Alexandra Harrier and Walkers Club while Mr Sherriff is a keen mountain biker and is the Mountain Bikers of Alexandra club president.
‘‘They were looking for a president and I got my arm twisted.’’
He is also president and Ms Wilson is secretary of the Central Otago Recreational Users Forum, which is a group representing the interests of outdoor groups, from sports to hunting and 4WD.
‘‘Doc is very supportive and set it up as a channel for communication,’’ he said.
Mr Sherriff has competed internationally at orienteering and the couple are organising the National Foot and Mountain Biking Orienteering Championships in Central Otago in April next year.