THE 25th anniversary of Hongkong's oldest green group may be less a testament to local concern for the environment than to the tenacity of its members. The Conservancy Association was founded in 1968 by expatriates but it is now almost completely a Chinese-run organisation. Its ups and downs have mirrored shifting public concern about environmental issues and have etched a pattern that other green groups have unintentionally copied in organising their own movements. The Association had a peak membership of about 8,000 in the 70s, but this was mostly students and numbers fell sharply when they broke off to form a schools-linked club in 1980. Today there are 350 individual members, about 25 corporate members and about125 supporters who contribute funds regularly. The loss of a dynamic leader, although one who was a poor administrator, also threw the group off its stride. Mr Wan Shek-lun, who joined in 1971 at the age of 16, and within a few years was head of the organisation, provided a strong public face to the Conservancy Association, in much the same way Linda Siddall did for Friends of the Earth before she resigned two years ago, and Simon Chau Sui-cheong does today for Green Power. Mr Wan was outspoken in calling attention to the territory's worsening pollution problems and was awarded a Badge of Honour in the 1987 Queen's Honours List for his commitment. But his administrative abilities weren't as sharp and he quit in the mid-80s. The association re-organised to take the focus off one personality and devote more energy to serving its members. But it has been a long slog. Mr Fung Shui-wing has restored some stability to the Association since he took over in 1988, setting up committees, getting programmes running, sorting out finances (which reached a crunch-point two years ago but have since recovered) and re-focusing thegroup's priorities. Conservancy Association spokesman, Mr Gordon Ng Ting-leung, said the group was working towards four goals: to lobby the Government on green issues, to help other organisations such as community groups with environment programmes, to educate the public, and to develop links with other green groups in the region. ''In the past we advocated nature conservation and in the mid-70s we started to be concerned about pollution problems,'' he said. ''Now, after the Earth Summit [sponsored by the United Nations last June], we are starting to look at more sustainable policies. It's not enough to look at environmental protection on its own - it should be incorporated with social and economic development, too.'' It is also hoping to attract more working-class members to balance the top-heavy representation of educated and white-collar workers - a trap other green groups have fallen in to. ''We are not very successful at recruiting people from factories and it's strange because they are usually the victims of environmental problems,'' Mr Ng said. ''Maybe they don't have the time or the knowledge to get involved. But another factor is the political indifference of people in Hongkong, particularly workers, to join any club unless it's a welfare association with its own discount shops.'' The group has sought to emphasise its Chinese-ness by changing its name from a direct translation of the Conservancy Association, to the more figurative Cheung Chun Say meaning Everlasting Spring Association. Unlike other green groups, it has no plans to expand its work into China. Mr Ng said it would remain focused on local issues and developing regional links. Activities to mark the anniversary started on the weekend with a seminar on indoor air pollution and continue this week with a seminar on rubbish disposal and a tree planting. Also planned for later this year are exhibitions, carnivals, concerts and a fund-raising walk. The group will also send members around the region to establish links with other green groups and will propose an environment policy for Hongkong to coincide with the Government's environmental policy review later this year. STAR TV will run several environment-orientated series over the next couple of months, starting tonight with the British youth programme Green Pages. The documentary series Race to Save the Planet starts on April 24 and Battle for the Planet on May 3. If you have an environmental project of interest or wish to call to attention to an environmental problem in your neighbourhood, please fax the information to Ecowatch on 811-1278, or mail it care of the South China Morning Post.