Conservation award finalists named

| 18/06/2019 | 0 Comments
CNS Local Life
Cayman’s endangered blue iguana

(CNS Local Life): The National Trust has announced the 14 finalists for the fourth Governor’s Conservation Awards, which are presented every two years to recognise local people and businesses involved in historic preservation and environmental conservation across all three Cayman Islands within the last ten years. The winners in the various categories will be named at an invitation-only event at Government House Thursday, 20 June.

Contenders for Conservationist of the Year, awarded for implementing or contributing to a conservation project aimed at protecting biodiversity, wildlife, endangered species or places of environmental significance, are:

Bill LaMonte, a secondary science teacher at Cayman International School (CIS), who has been “instrumental in the coming together of the youth activist group Protect Our Future Cayman”. While at CIS, he has put in compost bins in the staff lounge, started a school recycling programme and launched a student’s green team; he is also a member of Plastic Free Cayman.

Cruise Port Referendum Cayman, a grassroots organisation created in response to the government’s decision to build a cruise-berthing facility in George Town Harbour, which threatens the livelihood of coral reef and aquatic life in the area and will forever change the underwater landscape. CPR implemented a petition campaign to trigger a referendum on this environmental issue. With about 5,500 signatures collected, representing more than the requisite 25% of the electorate, the Elections Office is now verifying the names on the petition, after which the people-initiated referendum will be drafted for a public vote on the proposed facility .

Dwayne Frederick, a native Cayman Bracker and a licensed volunteer with the Department of Environment in turtle conservation on the Brac and Little Cayman. His consistent patrolling of the beaches is believed to be a major factor in the prevention of turtle nest poaching in the Sister Islands. He is also involved in the Sister Island Rock Iguana research and a founding member of the Cayman Brac Wildlife Rescue, providing support for injured indigenous species.

Joe Avary, who was an active member of the two-year-long Cayman Magic Reef Recovery project following the damage of Hog Sty Bay’s coral reef caused by cruise ship Carnival Magic’s anchor in 2014; he also extensively documented volunteers’ efforts and progress of the project. In 2015, he became involved in the Cayman United Lionfish League, making significant contributions to the fight against the invasive lionfish in Cayman’s waters; he is a board member of the non-profit organisation, responsible for its overall public communications. Throughout his career as a journalist, Avary has covered important environmental and conservation topics.

The other awards to be announced are for:

Corporate Conservation, which recognises organisations that have made major strides to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint (finalists: Caribbean Utilities Company, Health City Cayman Islands and Hurley’s Marketplace).

Tourism Industry, for organisations or individuals who offer environmentally friendly visitor services and easy access to outdoor nature activities (finalists: Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Programme, Cayman Turtle Centre).

Heritage Preservation, which honours organisations or individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the preservation of built, written or cultural elements of Cayman’s history (finalists: Anne Stafford, Bodden Town Heritage Committee, Gordon Solomon and John Doak).

Lois Blumenthal Youth Conservation, which recognises a young person between the age of 15 and 25 for conservation work with native species. Protect Our Future Cayman, sole finalist in this category, is an environmental advocacy group led by four CIS students – Richard Weber, Olivia Zimmer, Jack Paolini and Mikayla Corin – who started with a photo campaign to protect environmentally-sensitive land and native species that were most important. Since then, the group has organised a school “walk out” to send a message to the Cayman Islands government – and the world at large – that their young voices matter.

The 30 submissions for the awards were assessed by a panel of judges made up of key people in the tourism, conservation, environmental and heritage industries.

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Category: Environment, Local News

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