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Biodiversity Education Officer has been appointed

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Thursday 25 January 2018

Julia Henney has been appointed as the Biodiversity Education Officer, a new role which has been created to deliver the education and communication aims of the Island's Biodiversity Strategy.

The States of Guernsey approved the Biodiversity Strategy in 2015; the policy letter outlined the need to protect Guernsey's natural environment and the ways in which this could be achieved. One of the key aims of the Strategy is to increase public awareness and encourage communities and individuals to be involved in the conservation of local biodiversity.

There are many environmental organisations in Guernsey already doing great work, however the Biodiversity Strategy identified a need for better co-ordination, awareness and promotion of this work so that school children, decision makers and the wider community can all have a better understanding of the environment and the threats that it faces.

In order that this important aspect of the work receives the boost needed, a significant portion of the Strategy's funding has been put towards supporting this new post. While this new post is fully funded by the States, Julia is employed by Environment Guernsey

Julia will be working with schools, charities, community groups, businesses, parishes and States services to build knowledge and understanding of our unique and fragile environment, and to develop initiatives to protect and enhance it.

Deputy Barry Brehaut commented:-

"We are delighted that Julia has agreed to join the wider biodiversity project by taking on this supported contract post with Environment Guernsey. Julia will be working to deliver the challenging, but important, elements within the Biodiversity Strategy that was agreed by the States in 2015.

Julia is not only an effective and skilled communicator, but has the perfect background for the demands of this role not least from her links to local conservation groups. Julia will be known to many already from her spare time work helping to manage our coastal grasslands with the Guernsey Conservation Herd development which has been a wonderful summer sight on the west coast for the last two years. Now able to apply her talents on a full time basis, my Committee is confident that Julia 's work will be effective in increasing public awareness and understanding of the environmental challenges we face, and what we can all do to help the Island's wildlife."

Julia has been in post since the end of November and is already working on a number of projects which aim to engage the public in conservation. For example, in conjunction with the Pollinator Project, Julia will be developing a citizen science project to encourage schools and the wider community to record the butterflies and bees they spot. These records can then be passed onto the Guernsey Biological Records Centre, where they can help monitor and inform the conservation of pollinators in the island.

Julia will also be working with local schools to develop:

  1. A programme of educational resources for school children of all ages to learn more about Guernsey's wildlife, from woodlands to the seashore.
  2. Local conservation projects so pupils can get hands-on experience of working in our environment and see the positive impact of getting involved.
  3. Environmental surveys which GCSE, A-Level and further education students can undertake as part of their coursework - enabling them to study on island whilst also contributing to our knowledge of Guernsey's natural history knowledge, which will have real world applications.

Comment from Julia:-

"Our environment is under real threat. In the past century we have lost at least 80 species from our island; such as breeding skylarks, small pearl-bordered fritillary butterfly and early marsh orchid. Many more are on the brink of being lost, such as puffin, mole-headed cricket and house sparrow. This is due to loss of habitat and changes in how we look after our land - from agricultural fields or our own gardens.

There is already so much great work being undertaken in schools and by local conservation groups. What I hope to achieve is to bring all this work together to make the environment and our local wildlife integral to curriculums and open up conservation projects to Guernsey's community."

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