Gough and Inaccessible Island World Heritage Site work highlighted at Alaskan event

Tristan represented at US Marine World Heritage Site Meeting

Report and photos from
Tristan Government Environmental and Conservation Policy Officer Stephanie Martin

Marine World Heritage Site Meeting held at Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska USA
held on 4th-9th September 2019.

It was an honor to represent Tristan da Cunha for their UNESCO marine World Heritage Sites (WHS) Gough and Inaccessible Island last week. Representatives from 50 sites from all over the world gathered in Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska, USA. There were three full days with discussion sessions about climate change, marine litter, and the idea of a blue carbon market.

The Tlingit Tribal House, where the meetings took place.

Throughout the meeting, there were "Speed Dating" sessions where each site representative had three minutes to talk about the site, successful projects, and challenges. It was challenging, but I focused on; how committed Tristanians are to conservation; the Blue Belt program and deciding on a marine protection strategy for the EEZ; and partnering with the RSPB for the Gough Restoration project. Many people were impressed at the commitment to the Gough restoration project, and everyone asked lots of questions about the Tristan community.

We experienced amazing weather including stunning sunsets!

We spent a day cruising deep into Glacier Bay where we saw whales, sea otters, black and brown bears plus massive calving of the Johns Hopkins Glacier. There were many opportunities to share similar experiences and develop partnerships.

Killer whale in Glacier Bay National Park with the Fairweather Mountain Range in the background.

The last day there was an extraordinary cultural performance by the local Tlingit tribe in their tribal house. One of the young Tlingit drummers came up to me and said: "Say hi to Kieran". Her name is Lea, and she was at the UN with her family when Kieran Glass and his family attended the World Oceans Day event in 2017. Her mom and her fondly remember their time with James, Felicity, and Kieran Glass in New York.

Networking in front of Johns Hopkins glacier.

The Tlingit tribe has adopted Philip, the Glacier Bay park superintendent, who hosted the meeting. All of the WHS reps were expected to give Philip a gift from their site. I choose to give him a bag made by Desi Repetto as I shared the story of how her family adopted me when I was on Tristan. That so touched Philip, and he said he would include the bag in the new Glacier Bay WHS site exhibit next to the UNESCO medal. It's lovely to know that a bit of Tristan will be there for all the visitors to see.

Tlingit drummers along with Fanny Douvere, Coordinator, UNESCO World Heritage Marine Programme.
Her drum was a gift specially created for the meeting.

Lea and her mom say hi to James, Felicity, and Kieran Glass!

All representatives received a hand carved canoe paddle necklace
made from wood used in building the tribal house.

It was such an honor to represent Tristan da Cunha in this special place.