Cayman Islands: Governor Awards Conservationists


Bird field guide author Patricia Bradley was awarded the title of “Conservationist of the Year” in the 2016 Governor’s Conservation Awards.

Ms. Bradley, author of three field guides and a British Ornithologists’ Union checklist, was given the award for her contributions to Caribbean ornithology.

“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 Cayman Brac and Little Cayman and has served as the co-chair of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds,” organizers said in a press release.

Dr. Carrie Manfrino, pioneer of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s Little Cayman Research Centre, and Isabelle Brown, keen birder and advocate for nature conservation, particularly in Cayman Brac, were also shortlisted for Conservationist of the Year.

Finalists and guests gathered at the governor’s residence on Tuesday for the biennial awards.

Judges sought candidates who had implemented or contributed to a conservation project or activity aimed at protecting biodiversity, wildlife, endangered species or places of environmental significance, according to a press release.

“It is vitally important that we continue to preserve our landscape, our waters, and our historical buildings for future generations,” said Governor Kilpatrick. “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.”

Father and son team Heber and Garth Arch, of Arch and Godfrey, received the Corporate Conservation Award for the “careful preservation and renovation” of the company’s office building – a 100-year-old cottage. PwC and Cayman Islands Brewery were finalists in this category.

Christian Sorensen’s Crystal Caves in North Side took home the title of Tourism Industry Conservation Award winner. Diver, strategist, hotelier and marketer Keith Sahm, of Sunset House, was runner-up.

The Heritage Preservation award went to artist Chris Christian, who, through Cayman Traditional Arts which he started in 2004, teaches children and adults 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 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 life. Ms. Hernandez’s concerns for Cayman’s local marine life led her to champion the proposed Marine Parks expansion and raise awareness about issues of environmental sustainability, participating alongside local advocacy groups.

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