As a growing company with strong ties to the Canterbury community, Meadow Mushrooms are committed to the support of quality research driven education. Since 2012, Meadow Mushrooms has donated $50,000 per year to the University of Canterbury Foundation to support PhD and masters level students undertaking study and research in environmental sciences and related disciplines at both the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University.

Each year, $15,000 of this money is set aside for students studying under the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management. In a rapidly changing landscape of regional and national policy and decisions relating to water management, the need for coordination of research and teaching effort was clear. The Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management was established in 2009 as a joint partnership between Canterbury and Lincoln Universities. It is the first such centre to be established in any New Zealand university. It was the outcome of consultation with the Department of Labour, Environment Canterbury and other major stakeholders and agencies involved in water resource management and research.


Over the past 5 years, the Meadow Mushrooms sponsorship has supported 17 students in Postgraduate studies with a strong emphasis on Environmental Science. We look forward to continuing this working relationship with these Canterbury Institutions who are performing such important work for the future of our region, and beyond.

Phil Clunies-Ross is the recipient of a Scholarship in 2015 and 2016:

My PhD research examines New Zealands glacier-fed rivers and lakes. The primary focus is to examine the properties of glacial flour. This is the fine sediment produced by glaciers as they grind up huge amounts of rock in the mountains. The tiny particles produced in this process give many of our rivers their characteristic bright blue colours. They may also interact with pollutants in the water as they travel downstream. In the same way that a sponge can soak up water, the glacial flour can soak up a number of environmental contaminants. My goal is to determine what kind of protective effect it has as our glacier-fed rivers respond to increasing pressures from agricultural pollution and climate change. To do this I am using a mixture of laboratory experiments and computer simulations which will help to provide some insight into how these glacier-fed systems will respond to these pressures now and in the future.

Tara McAllister is the recipient of a Scholarship in 2016

Degradation of water quality as well as increased demand for water are key environmental issues that New Zealand is currently facing. Toxic algal blooms are an escalating threat the health of our rivers and a symptom of environmental degradation. Phormidium is problematic worldwide, but is particularly prevalent in Canterbury, in catchments draining agricultural lands. My research investigates how changes associated with agricultural intensification, particularly increases in river nutrient concentrations and changes in flow regimes are likely to affect the growth and toxicity of Phormidium. My approach to disentangling the effects of nutrients and flow on the Phormidium growth is very novel and the first of its kind. I have conducted a series of experiments in streamside channels to explore Phormidium growth under different nutrient and flow regimes. My research is absolutely vital to understanding the drivers of Phormidium and will be fundamental in informing future water management both in New Zealand and worldwide.

Mark Yungnickel is the recipient of a Scholarship in 2015

Dear Donors of the Meadow Mushrooms Waterways Masters Scholarship,

Most peoiple will know that New Zealand iconic whitebait catches have undergone declines in recent decades. Up to 5 species make up the whitebait catch, but we have little idea about their contributions and how this may vary nationwide. I have taken on the important task of sampling whitebait catches nationally. Last year the 2015 data collection was one of the busiest years of my life but the the help of whitebaiters throughout New Zealand, and my research group, thoursands of fish with over 500 whitebait samples from 100 rivers throughout the country were obtained to make up the largest widespread whitebait survey ever undertaken. This work will provide knowledge both on the fishery itself and also on formulating better management nationwide. Its amazing how little we really know about whitebait species and I believe there is a lot to be gained from this much needed knowledgte. The support from Meadow Mushrooms and Waterways will allow me to have the best chance to achieve everything I have out to do. It will also allow me to set up this dataset for other students to continue on from me. I will continue to make every effort to prove myself worthy of the large contribution you have made.