UNESCO has declared 3rd November ‘International Day for Biosphere Reserves'. We are meeting some of the people who make our Biosphere special and speaking to them about their contribution to it and how it inspires them.
Dr Breesha Maddrell
Organisation (if applicable):
How does living and working in a UNESCO Biosphere inspire you?
Every day, I find a new way to enjoy the Isle of Man, from the natural beauty of its coastline, hills and glens, to its rich culture and heritage. Being able to walk the hills and see the edges of the Island make you more aware of its strengths and fragilities. I love being able to move quickly from one place to another, to move easily from work or home to the hills or coast.
What do you gain from being involved in your Biosphere?
I have gained a deeper sense of place, and a deeper connection with the communities around me. To know your Biosphere is to know your Island, and that is incredibly rewarding. I can’t imagine my life without the cultural community around me – the music, dance, folklore, language, customs, all bring me such joy and inspiration, and help me to make connections and friendships internationally.
How would you encourage others to get involved in the Biosphere, too?
The Isle of Man has so much to offer, sometimes too much all at once! The Manx community is amazing and welcoming. Why not set yourself the challenge of trying one new thing – whether it’s taking a particular footpath, watching a show at one of our amazing arts venues, visiting a museum, or taking part in a cultural activity? There really is something for everyone if you take that first step.
What’s your favourite natural place in the Biosphere and why?
My favourite place is swimming in the sea – looking back at the Island’s coastline gives you a fresh perspective on where you live, and on the Biosphere as a whole. When I am immersed in the water, I feel part of something larger, I feel more closely connected to nature, and to my fellow swimmers. In a way, it helps me understand both my place in the Biosphere and the wider world.
What’s the one thing visitors to the Biosphere should experience and enjoy, and why? Can be a location, activity, cultural experience, food, etc.
The one thing visitors should experience is a Manx Celtic festival like Yn Chruinnaght, Shennaghys Jiu or the Cooish, or an event linked to one of the Manx calendar customs like Oie Voaldyn (May fire festival), Hop tu Naa (around Halloween) or Hunt the Wren (St Stephen’s Day).
What makes you proud of your Biosphere?
The Biosphere Isle of Man team and community make me proud of our Biosphere. It’s amazing to think that a small island can be part of a worldwide network of Biospheres. We have such precious culture and heritage here, not to mention outstanding natural beauty – together we can nurture them.
Sum up what Biosphere means to you in one word?