Heidelberg Materials and more than 100 guests celebrated the winners of the fifth edition of the Quarry Life Award in Brussels on 17 October 2022. 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 is an integral part of the company’s sustainability strategy. Building on the award, Heidelberg Materials develops 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.
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. 76 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 € 10000 each, and € 30000 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 the Achères quarry staff.
One highlight of the ceremony, which took place as part of the European Business & Nature Summit in Brussels, was a message by primatologist Jane Goodall. Partners of the competition included the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) and BirdLife International.
BirdLife and Heidelberg Materials have initiated more than 40 biodiversity projects worldwide since the start of their cooperation in 2011.
The QLA categories and the respective 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 Achères quarry staff convinced and excited the jury. All games aim at raising awareness about restoration of biodiversity in quarries and climate change. The collaboration between the team and the quarry staff is a great proof of the strength of cooperation and partnership. Of particular importance to Heidelberg Materials is the fact that all novel games can be easily adapted to other quarries worldwide.
The Habitat & Species Award went to a team from Bath Spa University, 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, Tanzania, won the Biodiversity Management Award for their study of soil seedbanks, aboveground vegetation and species regeneration in the 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 (L. raniformis) in the Hanson Wollert quarry.
The Spanish organisation 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 the Santa Giustina quarry.
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 the Nußloch quarry.