Young Conservationist of the Year

3 February 2012

Cory Meister, from Island Bay, who turns 17 this month, is very clear about what he wants to do now he has left Scots College.

Cory Meister, Young Plant Conservationist of the Year

Cory Meister, Young Plant Conservationist of the Year

He plans to get a horticulture apprenticeship and eventually own a nursery where he will grow native trees. It's a goal he has been working towards for some time as a committed volunteer at our Berhampore Nursery.

Cory was recently named 'Young Plant Conservationist of the Year' for 2011 by the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network and has been volunteering with environmental planting and restoration groups since he was nine years old.

And before you think he tagged along with his parents, he didn't. He does remember planting carrots with his Dad, Clark, when he was four, but it really started when he took himself off to an open day at the Southern Environmental Association.

He started working with the group at weekends and he says they taught him all about native plants. Last year he studied horticulture at Scots College and he's now doing full-time work experience at Berhampore Nursery, sowing and pricking out seedlings, bagging plants, weeding and general maintenance work.

Cory has also worked on restoring the Paekawakawa Bush Reserve in Island Bay, at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay, and he is now working as a volunteer in the weekends with Forest and Bird in Highbury.

And, in any spare time he might have, Cory looks after the home garden on the top of a hill in Frobisher Street. And that might be his greatest challenge yet.

"We have a really good view - we see the ferries go past. It's very exposed. It's hard to grow things up there."