2024 Bailiwick Conservation Awards Winners Announced

Today, we announced the winners of our 34th Conservation Awards in the Bailiwick at a special ceremony held at Les Cotils, attended by the Deputy Bailiff.

Established in 1990, the Conservation Awards honour local projects dedicated to environmental efforts and nature conservation across the islands. This year’s Best Conservation Project Award in Guernsey was presented to the National Trust of Guernsey and Guernsey Conservation Volunteers for their exceptional Restoration of Coastal Grassland project.

Over the past 20 years, Guernsey has witnessed a loss of 16% of its coastal grasslands, leading to a decline in biodiversity. The National Trust of Guernsey & Guernsey Conservation Volunteers aim to counteract this through their project to preserve and restore coastal grasslands.

At the National Trust of Guernsey's site on the L'Eree headland, this project seeks to re-establish the coastal grassland that once thrived there. The work involves removing scrub (bramble, blackthorn, bracken, and invasive non-native sourfig) and allowing flora to regenerate from the native seedbank. The area is then cut once or twice a year, with cuttings removed to enhance the flora that thrives in grassland. In the six months since the project's commencement, over 30 plant species have returned following the scrub removal, enhancing Guernsey's biodiversity and helping preserve the island's limited coastal grasslands.

Michelle Steele, HR & PR Executive for Insurance Corporation and Chairperson of the judging panel, said....

Our native plant species are vital for insects and wildlife throughout the Bailiwick, and it is wonderful to see such a proactive restorative approach to recreate the natural grassland habitat around Guernsey’s coastline.’

This year’s runner-up prize for the Best Conservation Project was awarded to Richard Lord for his dedicated mission to tackle illegal shipping litter washing up on the Guernsey shore. This issue is particularly significant in Guernsey due to its proximity to international shipping lanes. Richard, with the support of the ‘Found on the Beach in Guernsey’ Facebook Group, has collected and documented photographic evidence of plastic debris from over 80 countries. This evidence will be presented to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to advocate for stricter regulations addressing litter pollution.

PHD student Joshua Smith was named Young Conservationist of the Year, for his project Moo vs Mow, which examines if removing native herds from global grasslands has harmed biodiversity and soil carbon levels. His project examines whether reintroducing herds to Channel Island grassland could help mitigate climate and biodiversity crises regionally, assessing conservation grazing’s impact through ecological and soil carbon surveys.

The School & Youth Group Green Award was proudly presented to Les Beaucamps High School Gardening Club. This dedicated group have transformed their outdoor space into a thriving, sustainable area, focusing on recycled materials and green spaces to enhance the lives of both students and staff. Their efforts have resulted in the addition of fruit trees, a wild meadow walk, and rose and vegetable gardens. Notably, the new Fairy Ring outdoor classroom and patio seating area provide a relaxed environment for teaching and relaxation, surrounded by nature.

Islanders were also invited to vote for their favourite entry through an online poll to win The Peter Walpole People’s Choice Award. The award was created in honour of the founder of Insurance Corporation. Michelle said....

This year we were delighted by a record-breaking number of votes received and interest from the public. I am pleased to announce that this year’s winner was Elizabeth College’s Eco Team, who consistently champion conservation and ecology."

For the past 5 years, the Eco Team has been working on a wide variety of projects including sustainable gardening, community work promoting the island's wellbeing, and organising Eco and Botanical Art Clubs within the College. The team takes every opportunity to understand the wider impact of issues such as global warming and takes a proactive approach to conservation, lessening the impact of the College on its environment and educating its pupils for the future.

Michelle summarised...

Our awards have been running for 34 years and yet we continue to be amazed and delighted by the diverse and exciting range of entries we receive. There are so many islanders committed to protecting and enhancing the natural environment within the Bailiwick, and this must be a wonderful thing for our community and the future of the Bailiwick. Our congratulations go to all our winners and finalists in this year's competition.’