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Heidelberg Materials celebrate QLA winners

QLA winners

Company honours seven outstanding biodiversity projects in its flagship Quarry Life Awards competition

HEIDELBERG Materials and more than 100 guests celebrated the winners of the fifth edition of the Quarry Life Award in Brussels yesterday. The company’s own nature-based competition was first established in 2011 and has since been generating hundreds of innovative ideas to promote and protect biodiversity.

As a unique flagship initiative in the building materials industry, the Quarry Life Award (QLA) is an integral part of the company’s sustainability strategy. Building on the award, Heidelberg Materials develop best practices for quarry management which are then applied on a global scale, amongst others supporting the company’s contribution to the EU restoration agenda.

‘Given the massive global decline of biodiversity, now is a crucial time to be at the forefront of nature conservation,’ said Dr Nicola Kimm, chief sustainability officer and member of the managing board. ‘My thanks go to all participants for their commitment and exceptional work. The quality and variety of the projects – covering a range of aspects from habitats and species protection to biodiversity education – is truly impressive.’

In the current edition, more than 200 teams of researchers, students, local community and NGO representatives, and nature lovers from around the world had pitched their ideas for sustainable quarry management projects. Seventy-six were then selected to implement their ideas at the company’s quarries, competing for national and international prizes.

The best projects in six categories were awarded €10,000 each, and €30,000 went to the best project overall. This year, a French team from the Bird Protection League of Normandy won the Grand Prize for co-developing seven educational games on biodiversity and climate protection together with staff at Achères Quarry. A highlight of the awards ceremony, which took place as part of the European Business & Nature Summit in Brussels, was a message by primatologist Jane Goodall.

Dr Kimm said: ‘As a company in the extractive industry, we have a responsibility to protect and support nature while using natural resources sustainably. Biodiversity is a key component of our sustainability efforts and we’re proud to be a leader in our sector in this area. Through initiatives like the Quarry Life Award, we can drive positive change.'

QLA categories and winning projects
A French team from the Bird Protection League of Normandy won the Grand Prize. Their idea of creating a kit of seven versatile educational games together with the staff at Achères Quarry convinced and excited the jury, providing proof of the strength of co-operation and partnership. All the games aim to raise awareness about the restoration of biodiversity in quarries and climate change, and of particular importance to Heidelberg Materials is the fact that they can be easily adapted to other quarries worldwide.

The Habitat & Species Award went to a team from Bath Spa University, in the UK, who have been assessing habitat quality parameters and sand properties on sand lizard breeding sites.

A team from the University of Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, won the Biodiversity Management Award for their study of soil seedbanks, above-ground vegetation and species regeneration in Wazo Hill Quarry.

The Beyond Quarry Borders Award went to the Darebin Creek Management Committee (DCMC) from Australia for their collaborative citizen science project monitoring endangered growling grass frogs in Hanson’s Wollert Quarry.

The Spanish organization GISARTE received the Nature-Based Solutions Award for assessing the capacity of quarry biodiversity and ecosystems to cope with climate challenges.

The Italian project CUORE (Italian acronym for ‘caring – observing – breathing – impressing’) won the Connecting Quarries and Communities Award for establishing a nature classroom in Santa Giustina Quarry.

And last but not least, a group of geographers and geo-rangers from Germany won the Biodiversity & Education Award for creating a sustainable experience of biodiversity in the orchards of Nussloch Quarry.

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