Science alumna wins prestigious conservation award

28 April 2022

Dr Beverley Clarkson and Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan with the Loder Cup.

Science alumna, wetlands expert and advocate Dr Beverley Clarkson, has been awarded the Loder Cup by Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan. The Loder Cup was first donated in 1926 to encourage and honour New Zealanders who work to investigate, promote, retain and cherish our Indigenous flora – an ethos resonating throughout Dr Clarkson’s life and work.

From a young age, Dr Clarkson had a desire to protect and care for the native flora which led her to completing a Bachelor of Science (1974), Master of Science (1980) and a Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences (2005) at the University of Waikato. Throughout her 35-year career, she has demonstrated a passion and commitment to Indigenous plants and ecosystems, particularly those of New Zealand’s threatened wetland ecosystems.

Dr Clarkson is a plant ecologist based at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research in Hamilton. She is nationally renowned for her knowledge and championing of the value of New Zealand’s wetlands, and has written or co-authored dozens of research papers, guides and handbooks on wetland care and restoration.

Since 1995, Dr Clarkson has successfully obtained government funding for and led the national terrestrial wetland research programme.

As a founding trustee of the National Wetland Trust, she continues to connect science with the public through symposia, field days, restoration projects, events, articles, policy input, and advice.

“Dr Clarkson’s investigations into the ecology and functioning of terrestrial freshwater wetlands, and other rare and threatened ecosystems, has greatly assisted those working to improve the state of New Zealand’s wetlands. We need more like her,” Kiri Allan said.

Dr Clarkson was also a recipient of the Kudos Lifetime Achievement Award (2020) and the Hamilton Kirikiriroa Medal (2021) for her lifetime of commitment to understanding and protecting New Zealand’s unique landscapes and ecology.

Professor Bruce Clarkson, Dr Clarkson’s husband, was also a recipient of the Loder Cup in 2006. Professor Clarkson is an ecologist at the University and leads the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment-funded research programme People, Cities, and Nature, which focuses on restoring damaged or depleted Indigenous ecosystems in cities.

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