Research Competition Quarry Life Award
A competition that promotes more than biodiversity
HeidelbergCement established the Quarry Life Award (QLA) in 2012. In 2014 this international research and education competition takes place the second time already. The goal of the competition is to increase the knowledge of biodiversity in quarries and to develop new ideas for ways to promote that diversity. In addition, the competition aims to draw attention to the unique flora and fauna of quarries and gravel pits. The QLA achieved these goals — and much more. In 2014 science and research experts as well as students and schoolchildren from the immediate vicinity of our locations submitted nearly 400 project proposals from 22 countries. What was common to all of the proposals was the expressed wish to learn more about the special nature of the species that live in and around quarries, and the desire to share that new knowledge.
At a ceremony in December 2012, prizes were awarded for the three best projects of the first international QLA. A highlight of the event was a speech by the world-famous UN Messenger of Peace and environmental activist Dr Jane Goodall. She spoke about the threats our planet currently faces and why, despite these dangers, she finds reasons for hope. Dr Goodall and HeidelbergCement have been involved for two years in a joint education project in Tanzania.
The winner of the first International Quarry Life Award was a team from the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, Czech Republic. The students mapped different habitats in a sand pit and studied the biodiversity of many groups of organisms. Their work revealed that a significantly higher level of biodiversity can be achieved through the undisturbed natural development of open shoreline areas than through reforestation.
For HeidelbergCement, the QLA is also a way to establish dialogue with our local neighbours. “We believe good neighbourhood relationships are important for us worldwide. It is often the case that the positive contributions to biodiversity that we’re making at our quarries are not appreciated or understood. With the Quarry Life Award, we intend to demonstrate that the extraction of raw materials goes hand in hand with environmental protection,” says Dr Michael Rademacher, Manager for Biodiversity and Natural Raw Materials at HeidelbergCement.
In addition to encouraging contact between stakeholders, the competition promotes scientific understanding that the company can use to improve its biodiversity management. “Through these extraordinary projects, we have the opportunity to study the biodiversity at our quarries beyond what’s required by the regulatory framework,” explains Ken Brown, QLA coordinator in Australia. “Our competition participants have made discoveries and observations that we have integrated into our existing biodiversity management plans.”