October 21, 2020

Cayman Islands governor recognises contribution to conservation

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Governor recognises individuals and companies for their contribution to conservation
Finalists and distinguished guests gathered at Her Excellency the Governor’s Residence on Tuesday, November 8th for the biennial Governor’s Conservation Awards. Judges sought candidates who have implemented or significantly contributed to a conservation project or activity aimed at protecting biodiversity, wildlife, endangered species, places of environmental significance.
“I am delighted once again to host the biennial awards ceremony for the Governor’s Conservation Awards 2016” said HE Governor Kilpatrick “It is vitally important that we continue to preserve our landscape, our waters, and our historical buildings for future generations.  While it is not possible to give awards to all those nominated, it is encouraging to see how much work is being done to improve and support conservation efforts in the Cayman Islands.”
Author or three field guides, a BOU checklist and numerous contributions to Caribbean ornithology Patricia Bradley won the prestigious title of ‘Conservationist of the Year’. With over 30 years of tireless devotion to the birds and the environment of the Cayman Islands, Bradley was instrumental in establishing Cayman’s Important Bird Areas, developing the nature tourism project in the Sister Islands, designing the interpretative signage at lookouts on and Little Cayman and has served as the co-chair of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds.  Dr. Carrie Manfrino, pioneer of the Little Cayman Research Centre and Isabelle Brown, keen birder, and advocate for nature conservation particularly in Cayman Brac, were among the shortlisted finalists.
Arch and Godfrey received the Corporate Conservation Award for fully embracing the highest standards of sustainability within an organization.  Spearheaded by father and son team, Heber and Garth Arch, the transformation of their office building not only entailed the careful preservation and renovation of a 100 year old cottage but also resulted in a fully integrated environmentally conscious work ethic amongst its staff and clients.  Awarded the first LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council in the Cayman Islands in March 2016, the Arch and Godfrey project includes the best elements of sustainable design, technologies and practice. Environmental stewards PwC and were also recognized for their contributions as finalists in this category.
Crystal Caves took home the title of Tourism Industry Conservation Award winner with accomplished diver, strategist, hotelier and marketer Mr. Keith Sahm as runner up.  Christian Sorenson has spent 20 years developing the North Side caves into one of the island’s most popular tourism attractions.
 In addition to hiring locals to meticulously and carefully hand-clear a few of the caves, Mr. Sorenson purchased a mile of forested land (which will remain undeveloped) from the north coast road to the caves to make it accessible by car, clearing only what was necessary for vehicles to pass through and no more.
The Heritage Preservation award went to local artist Chris Christian who has been a member of the collective group “Native Sons” since 1996. Christian started Cayman Traditional Arts (CTA) in 2004 and through CTA, teaches children and adults alike traditional Caymanian pastimes such as making peppermint candies and creating rope from silver thatch, now implemented in the National Curriculum.  Runner ups in this category included young Caymanian entrepreneur Kimberley Conolly of “The Wick Candles and Scents” and unique Caymanian treasure Grand Old House.
Local sustainable development advocate, Gabriella Hernandez received the Lois Blumenthal
Youth Conservationist Award which recognizes a young person between the ages of 15 and 25 for conservation work with native species including marine .  Hernandez’ concerns for Cayman’s local marine life lead her to champion the proposed Marine Parks expansion and raise awareness about issues of environmental sustainability participating alongside local advocacy groups.
For more information on finalists and winners please visit www.nationaltrust.org.ky or email [email protected] .
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