Media release

ECO Fund recipients for March 2021 funding round announced

Thursday 27 May 2021

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) approved funding for ten projects totalling nearly $125,000 through its ECO Fund today.

The ECO Fund (Environment, Community, Otago) is a contestable fund supporting community-driven projects that protect, enhance and promote Otago’s environment. $250,000 is available for community projects over two rounds of funding per year, in March and October.

To date, the ECO Fund has supported 65 community projects to the tune of nearly $630,000.

There were 25 applications seeking nearly $300,000 in this round. Including the November round, the 2020/21 year has seen the most applications since the ECO Fund was established in 2018.

Chair of the ECO Fund Decision Panel, Cr Michael Deaker, said there was huge enthusiasm in the community for environmental projects.

“We’ve seen the ECO Fund consistently oversubscribed, with high numbers of quality applications, and the same is true of similar funds in this part of the country. People in Otago are hugely invested in their environment, and we’re immensely proud to support their initiatives.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see so much diversity and creativity in the applications, which range from trapping programs and plant nurseries, to educational projects using old undies. The eleven projects selected for funding will have real benefits all around the region, for biodiversity, environmental enhancements, and water quality,” Cr Deaker said.

For more information on the ECO Fund and past successful applicants, visit

The ten projects approved for funding today are:

Applications under $5,000

  • Chain Hills Restoration Trust – Chain Hills Restoration Project (CHiRP)
  • Central Otago Ecological Trust – Green Skink Translocation
  • New Zealand International Science Festival – Outside Inside Forest
  • Dunedin Environment Centre Trust – Kaikorai Estuary Track Marking & Planting


Applications over $5,000

  • North Otago Sustainable Management Group – Soil Your Undies! Stretching the Elastic
  • WAI Wanaka – Farmers as Kaitiaki – Farming for the Environment
  • ECOTAGO Charitable Trust – Identifying and Addressing Contaminant Inputs into Tomahawk Lagoon
  • The Open Valley Urban Ecosystems Project – Open Valley Urban Ecosystems (VUE) and Backyard Ecosanctuaries Programme
  • Centre for Science Communication, University of Otago – The Nature Show with Karthic SS
  • Glenorchy Community Association, Inc. – Glenorchy Community Nursery