Overall winners of the international Quarry Life award are known!
With the Quarry Life Award, HeidelbergCement has established a competition with the aim of discovering new ideas for the promotion and protection of biodiversity at its quarry sites. A total of 80 projects from 18 countries competed at both national and international levels. The three best projects of each national contest received prize money of €1,500, €3,000 and €5,000. The three overall winners were awarded with €10,000, €20,000 and €30,000.
To close this first edition, the Award ceremony welcomed Dr Jane Goodall, the world famous primatologist. In her speech, Dr Goodall highlighted ...
The overall winners of the first international Quarry Life Award are:
First place was attributed to the project “Sand Pit for Biodiversity at CEP II Quarry” whose authors are researchers from the University of South Bohemia in Budweis, Czech Republic and from the environmental organisation “Calla”. During their project, contestants 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. This project is more than an outstanding example of scientific research. It also corroborates the results of other studies – underscoring that quarries left to recover on their own can serve as important sanctuaries for rare and endangered species. The CEP II pit thus plays a significant role as a shelter and ‘stepping stone’ biotope in the region’s overall conservation plan.
The second prize was awarded to a project in Ghana led by Paul K. Nsiah lecturer at the Sunyani campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. His project focused on “The potentials of Pennisetum purpureum as a biological geotextile in stabilizing slopes to promote biodiversity in reclaiming quarry sites”. Paul and his team conducted experiments in the Yongwa quarry in Ghana, which proved that surface erosion caused by heavy rains can be contained by using mats woven of ‘elephant grass’. The key to the success of this concept is that the grass grows abundantly and the erosion control mats can be produced by the local populations – resulting in new income streams for people living nearby the extraction sites.
The third place went to researchers from the University of Hull in the UK for the project “Restoration of quarry silt lagoons for wader conservation at Wykeham“. Philip Wheeler led the team in studying the constellation of wading bird species in England’s Wykeham pits. The focus was on the question of how the makeup of species diversity is tied to the composition of the sand deposits. Because water-filled former quarry sites are important stepping stones for bird migration, the habitat improvements derived from the project can bring about an enormous increase in their significance as foraging grounds for resting migratory species.
In his welcome address, Daniel Gauthier, HeidelbergCement Managing Board member in charge of Environmental Sustainability, said “The first Quarry Life Award was a complete success. We are proud of the acceptance and enthusiasm with which we were greeted in every country by contestants and participating environmental organisations, as well as our own employees. Through the Quarry Life Award and the results of the many projects, we are striving to contribute to a sustainable increase in knowledge – across national boundaries – about the biological value of mineral extraction sites. That is our aim, which is why we will continue to carry on the competition as we move into the future."
As member of the international jury, Daniel Gauthier also took this opportunity to highlight 3 other outstanding projects:
For best design, Mr Gauthier congratulated Mats A. Larsen in Norway for his project “Reclaiming BjØrntvet - A Sustainable Afterlife for a Hard Rock Quarry”.
As ambassadors for biodiversity, Mr Gauthier rewarded the pupils from the Heinrich-Kaim School in Schelklingen, Germany and their project “Herbal Tea from the Quarry”.
And finally for best community outreach, a Belgian team of researchers were highlighted for their project “Green Quarry” and for the fantastic outreach to the local community. The Erens family completed an extensive survey of the known biodiversity and listed the actions that are needed in the short and long term for recovery and conservation.
The German Award ceremony also took place on that same evening. The names of the winners were revealed by General Manager Mr. Knell member of the German QLA jury:
1st Prize: “Wild bee pasture” project at the Burglengenfeld cement plant quarry, for excellent combination of biodiversity promotion in mineral extraction sites, species protection and environmental education.
2nd Prize: Project “Hellweg Sheep” at the Geseke cement plant quarry, for outstanding insights in the field of nature conservation, species-specific knowledge, demands for quarries and surrounding sites, as well as grazing methods.
3rd Prize: "Conserving valuable biotopes” project with school-age participants at the Nußloch quarry (Leimen cement plant), for an outstanding educational programme.
Thank you to all contestants and followers form the QLA community for your involvement in making this competition a real success.
Thank you for making Nature the biggest winner of this competition!