Renowned wetland expert receives University of Waikato Medal

In recognition of her substantial and exemplary contribution to understanding and protecting New Zealand’s landscapes and ecology, Dr Beverley Clarkson has received the University of Waikato

16 May 2024

Hamilton-based wetlands expert and advocate Dr Beverley Clarkson has received the University of Waikato Medal for her work on wetland care and restoration.  

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, Dr Beverley and Professor Bruce Clarkson.

University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, says Beverley has made substantial contributions to indigenous plants and ecosystems, particularly New Zealand’s threatened wetland ecosystems. 

Beverley’s early interest in botany was sparked and supported by her parents who took her on trips into the bush to study and collect plants throughout her childhood. 

An alumna of the University of Waikato, Beverley embarked on her academic journey in 1974 and completed a Bachelor of Science, followed by a Diploma in Education at Christchurch College of Education.  

Beverley returned to Waikato in 1980, obtaining a Master of Science and Doctorate in Biological Sciences in 2005. Her doctoral thesis was titled ‘Restiad bog development and nutrient dynamics of the dominant species’. 

She is a Research Associate at Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research in Hamilton, having recently retired as a senior researcher in plant ecology and has written more than 100 research papers, guides, scientific journal articles and handbooks on wetland care and restoration.  

In addition, as an Honorary Lecturer in Te Aka Mātuatua School of Science, Dr Clarkson has positively impacted the lives of countless students and colleagues over her 40-year career. 

Dr Beverley Clarkson receives the University of Waikato Medal

Many of our natural wetlands have been drained and remaining areas are still threatened by human activity. Since 1995, Beverley has successfully obtained government funding for and led national terrestrial wetland research programmes and established the New Zealand National Wetland Database, a vital resource for conservationists and researchers.  

Clarkson is also a founding trustee of the National Wetland Trust and works on connecting science with the public through field days, restoration projects, events and articles.  

She provided advice to the Science and Technical Advisory Group for Essential Freshwater reforms, the Science Review Panel for the Ministry for the Environment's Freshwater National Objectives Framework, and the Waikato Conservation Board. She is also a member of the New Zealand Botanical Society, the International Mire Conservation Group and the International Society of Wetland Scientists. 

Beverley has received prestigious accolades, including the Loder Cup, the Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal, and the Kudos Lifetime Achievement Award. 

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