On 13 December, as the snow fell over Heidelberg, Germany participants gathered in City Hall to attend the Quarry Life Award Ceremony. The time had come to reward the best ideas to enhance biodiversity in the quarries of HeidelbergCement. The winners would in total be rewarded over 200.000 EUR.
After a field work period of six months, a total of 80 projects from 18 countries developed by university students and young researchers were evaluated by the Quarry Life Award jury members, out of one was Angelo Caserta, Director of BirdLife Europe.
First prize was awarded to the project “Sand Pit for Biodiversity at CEP II Quarry” whose authors are researchers from the University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic and from the environmental organisation “Calla”. The project mapped a variety of habitats at the CEP II gravel pit near the city of Trebon and recorded the species diversity of numerous groups of organisms. Their research showed that undisturbed, natural development of open areas on or around the shorelines of the extraction zones allows a considerably greater abundance of species development than reforestation with trees reaching all the way to the edge of the pit. Based on this finding, new restoration concepts were produced.
Further reading: Details about the overall winners of the first international Quarry Life Award.
The award ceremony was opened by Dr. Jane Goodall, the globally renowned primatologist and conservationist. The Jane Goodall Institute is an official partner of the Quarry Life Award and she is a member of the International Jury. Dr. Goodall opened by stating that “Tarzan married the wrong Jane”, referring to her adventurous life in the Tanzanian jungle, where she made her ground-breaking discovery in 1960 by documenting that chimpanzees use tools. Her mother has offered her the book Tarzan when she was 5 years old and she credits her mother for the support and encouragement she received as a child and which pushed her to become the scholar and adventurer she is today. She
continued by saying that “HeidelbergCement is a corporation that really walks its talk” and she had witnessed the fine work the company does in the quarry in Dar-es-Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, where Roots and Shoots, an initiative that provides young people with the knowledge, tools and hopeful inspiration to improve the environment and the quality of life for people and animals, conducts a project to plant trees around the quarry.
On the following day BirdLife Europe and HeidelbergCement hosted a Partnership meeting at the company headquarters, with the purpose to discuss the results of the first year of the Partnership, which included a biodiversity strategy and a set of conservation priorities. Based on this, a programme for local conservation actions will be launched in 2013. Special emphasis was put on national collaboration and examples were provided by speakers from RSPB, UK, the Czech Ornithological Society in the Czech Republic and by Natagora in Belgium.
The meeting was followed by a field trip to the HeidelbergCement quarry Leimen.