On Tuesday 26 October, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands recognised some of the individuals and companies who are doing outstanding work in the fields of historic preservation and environmental conservation across all three Cayman Islands.
The biennial Governor’s Conservation Awards was hosted by the Governor Mr. Martyn Roper, as finalists and well-wishers gathered to learn who would be the recipients of the various awards.
Governor Roper said well done to all the winners, including Tanja Laaser, who won Conservationist of the Year for her outstanding work on Little Cayman protecting Rock Iguanas.
“We are fortunate to have so many people in our community committed and passionate about our environment and biodiversity,” Governor Roper said.
He congratulated the National Trust and thanked them for all their hard work.
At the event, the following recipients were announced:
1. HERITAGE PRESERVATION AWARD. The finalists were Ms. Ally McRae (for her efforts to save the Clayton Nixon house which is now located by Mission House) and Mrs. Julia Hislop (for her restoration of Aston and Ruth Rutty home in Cayman Brac). Recipient: Mrs. Julia Hislop
2. TOURISM INDUSTRY CONSERVATION AWARD. Recipient: Cayman Kayaks for their sustainable practices and preservation of Bio-Bay and the mangrove wetlands that they visit.
3. LOIS BLUMENTHAL YOUTH CONSERVATION AWARD. The finalists were Dinara Perara (for her mangrove conservation work) and Ms. Estefania McDermot (for her work with Plastic Free Cayman, Sail for Change Caribbean and Central Caribbean Marine Institute). Recipient – Estefania McDermot
4. CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR – The finalists were Mr. Bill La Monte (who has inspired, co-founded and participated in several youth conservation groups) and Ms. Tanja Laaser (for going above and beyond in her conservation work for the Sister Islands Rock Iguanas). Recipient: Tanja Laaser
Recipient for the Heritage Preservation Award, Mrs. Julia Hislop, shared how humbled she was to have received this recognition from the National Trust.
“My parents took a keen interest in the upkeep of our family estate, and I felt this should be carried on for the future generations. Now my parents’ great grandchildren are enjoying their heritage. I thank those who recognised and appreciate the efforts put into the restoration,” she said.
Conservationist of the Year, Tanja Lasser, said: “I feel very honoured and happy to have received this award. All the work I was able to accomplish with the Sister Islands Rock Iguanas was only possible thanks to the support of the Little Cayman community.”
The Chairman of the National Trust, Mr Olsen Anderson, shared in his remarks how excited he was, particularly in seeing the youth advocates who were motivated to make positive changes in their community. “They understand the value of speaking up and acting now,” he said.