The National Trust has announced the finalists for the fourth bi-annual Governor’s Conservation Awards. The 14 individuals and organisations were chosen from 30 applicants.
The winners will be announced at an event at Government House on Thursday.
The awards feature a number of different categories.
The Conservationist of the Year is given to individuals who have implemented or significantly contributed to a conservation project aimed at protecting biodiversity, wildlife, endangered species or places of environmental significance. Finalists this year are science teacher Bill LaMonte, turtle preservationist Dwayne Frederick, reef recovery activist and journalist Joseph Avary and the Cruise Port Referendum Cayman group.
The Corporate Conservation Award recognises organisations that have made major strides to reduce their environmental impact and carbon footprint. This year’s finalists are Caribbean Utilities Company, Health City Cayman Islands and Hurley’s Marketplace.
Finalists for the Tourism Industry Conservation Award are the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment Programme and the Cayman Turtle Centre. The award is for organisations or individuals who offer environmentally-friendly visitor services and easy access to outdoor nature activities.
The Heritage Preservation Award is given to organisations or individuals who demonstrate a commitment to the preservation of built, written or cultural elements of Cayman’s history. Historian and curator Ann Stafford, folk artist Gordon Solomon, architect and preservationist John Doak and the Bodden Town Heritage Committee are the finalists in this category.
Finally, the Lois Blumenthal Youth Conservation Award recognises a young person between the ages of 15 and 25 years old for his or her conservation work with native species. In this case, the single finalist is the organisation Protect our Future Cayman, an environmental advocacy group led by four Cayman International School students – Richard Weber, Olivia Zimmer, Jack Paolini and Mikayla Corin. The group began as a photo campaign with powerful messages which appealed to the local community 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 awards recognise people and businesses within the local community that have demonstrated an active role in the fields of historic preservation and environmental conservation across all three Cayman Islands within the last 10 years. They are backed by Governor Martyn Roper in partnership, this year, with Greenlight Re.
The submissions were assessed by a panel of key people in the tourism, conservation, environmental and heritage industries.