LOCAL marine advisor Karen Hall has been awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship – an appointment given to people researching the “world’s best ideas, innovations and practices”.
Hall, who works for Scottish Natural Heritage, is assessing ways to enable remote communities to develop and manage marine protected areas in Canada, Fiji and the USA.
She will share her findings to pilot a new project in the UK.
Hall said she was “shellshocked” to learn that she had been successful in receiving the fellowship, which is given out by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust in the aim of funding people to travel the world and bring back new ideas that can be implemented in the UK.
A total of 141 people across the UK have been given the fellowship this year.
They will receive grants totalling over £1,050,000 and will travel to 51 countries across six continents. The average grant is £7,500.
“Now that it has sunk in I’m really excited – it’s such an amazing opportunity to learn about how marine conservation works in remote communities,” Hall said.
“I’ll be visiting areas of Newfoundland and the west coast of Canada to see how communities in these northern areas manage their Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as well as Fiji with its many small islands, with fishing communities that are diversifying into tourism – very similar to Scotland just warmer!” she added.
“I’ve been working with the Fair Isle community on marine conservation issues for over 15 years. The community is so supportive of its MPA and through this trip I really want to help them realise its full potential and be at the forefront of developing novel community-led management of MPAs in Scotland.
“As one of the directors of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory I’ll also be hoping to make links with other bird observatories and interpretation centres along the way.”
Chief executive of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Julia Weston said: “This year we have awarded Churchill Fellowships to 141 inspiring people from all areas of UK society, who will travel the world in search of the best solutions for the UK’s most pressing problems.
“They will explore innovations in a wide range of fields and bring back new ideas to strengthen their communities and professions across the UK. This is a crucial bridge of people and ideas between the UK and the world.”
The next chance to apply for a fellowship opens on 30 April for travel in 2021.
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