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 Michelle Haywood MHK
Member of the House of Keys with responsibility for Environment in DEFA; Scuba diver
Organisation (if applicable):
Isle of Man Government
How does living and working in a UNESCO Biosphere inspire you?
The Biosphere designation captures everyone’s attention and it acts as a short hand for environmental and cultural protection. It becomes infinitely easier to make decisions that support ecosystems and biodiversity when there is a clear principle to follow. Making policy and encouraging others to make sustainable policies is easier as a consequence.
What do you gain from being involved in your Biosphere?
I’m immensely proud to be working to support Biosphere. There’s a real buzz in discussing the fact that we are a whole nation Biosphere. It signifies a commitment to protecting our environment, heritage and culture which others struggle to match. The high level of community involvement shows that this approach is very much what our businesses and families want too, and I love attending Biosphere events and hearing about all the exciting projects that are going on and meeting the people driving them.
How would you encourage others to get involved in the Biosphere, too?
There’s a real strength in coming together to take action and celebrate our Biosphere. The natural world has so many amazing flora and fauna to discover and the Isle of Man has some incredible ecosystems to explore.
What’s your favourite natural place in the Biosphere and why?
Of course I’m going to pick a dive site. The Burroo at the south of the Calf of Man is an amazing site. Deep rock gullies are lined with colourful anemones, hydroids, sea slugs and sponges. Crabs and lobsters lurk under rocks. Seals swim down to check out divers and the occasional diving guillemot swims past. The tides here are wicked so careful planning is needed. But those tides bring a huge amount of water flowing past all the filter feeding life and make this site so beautiful. Divers can only access it for about an hour a day, but what a magical hour it is.
What’s the one thing visitors to the Biosphere should experience and enjoy, and why? Can be a location, activity, cultural experience, food, etc.
Obviously I think they should dive or snorkel in our crystal clear water. Most of the Manx territory is under the sea and years of excellent fisheries management and marine conservation means that we have so much to be proud of and to show off about.
What makes you proud of your Biosphere?
An active collaboration between Government, charities, non-government organisation and the community that are all working together to support and improve our ecosystems.
Sum up what Biosphere means to you in one word?