Erin Cowham will be responsible for leading an education programme funded by Jersey Electricity that complements the school science curricula and encourages children to reconnect with nature.
The focus of the new programme ‘We Have the Power’ is on biodiversity loss, recognising its causes and impacts, and how to prevent it by raising awareness of the causes of climate change and the carbon reduction steps needed to curb it.
Miss Cowham, who joins existing education officer Chris Siouville, worked in finance before following her passion for nature and the environment, specifically reptiles and amphibians. She gained a First Class degree in Natural Sciences (Environmental Sciences) through the Open University while working full-time and is currently completing her MSc in Island Conservation and Biodiversity, with JICAS.
A volunteer at Durrell’s reptile department, she has been involved in the night-time agile frog and toad surveys for the department of the Environment. She also volunteered as a youth worker at Grands Vaux Youth Club.
Overseas, she worked for ASVO, a conservation charity in Costa Rica, assisting with the maintenance, environmental monitoring and public relations of Tortuguero National Park.
When current lockdown measures are eased, her work will involve visiting schools to lead assemblies and holding events at Le Moulin de Quétivel which the trust hopes will become a learning centre for climate change education.
Trust chief executive Charles Alluto described the education programme as an important part of its varied work. ‘Engaging young people in nature is vital for the future protection of our natural environment which is under threat more than ever,’ he said, adding that the trust was delighted that Jersey Electricity had agreed to sponsor the work.
‘The utility and its employees have supported the trust on many initiatives, including, of course, this year our woodland restoration of Mourier Valley and our #LoveNature Festival,’ he said.
Jersey Electricity chief executive officer Chris Ambler said: ‘As a company, our own vision is to help inspire a zero-carbon future for Jersey and for that we need our children to be informed, engaged and passionate about protecting our wonderful Island and to play our part in the global fight on climate change and its impact on biodiversity.’