A tourist lodge which combines wildlife recovery programmes with art galleries has been awarded the Department of Conservation’s annual Conservation in Action Tourism Award for 2010.
Lochmara Lodge Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre in the Marlborough Sounds was described as “innovative” when it was revealed as the winner at last night's Tourism Industry Award celebration in Auckland.
The centre features breeding programmes for yellow-crown kakariki and Marlborough green gecko as well as a sculpture trail, artists’ retreat and four hectares of native bush.
Lochmara co-creator Louise Bright said: “We are still wowed by what we have done at Lochmara, but we’re so happy that the judges were wowed by it too.”
Fellow co-creator Shayne Olsen said: “It’s a big achievement for the centre and very satisfying knowing that our work here will make a difference. The opportunity for us as members of the public to work alongside the Department of Conservation is great. We think that Lochmara is an example of the progress that can be made when private groups are able to support the work of DOC and be involved actively in conservation and restoration work.”
DOC Director-General Al Morrison said: “DOC supports this Award because it celebrates the role of business in maintaining the health of New Zealand's environment.
“We want to encourage tourism operators to continue to invest in conservation. As a result of successful tourism operations many more people have the opportunity to experience what is so special about New Zealand."
The award recognised the innovation behind the lodge’s Wildlife Recovery Centre, which is funded through art sold at Lochmara and visitor entry fees.
The lodge was also a finalist in the Small/Medium Attraction and Activity category for its innovative day trips.