Three young adults will represent the Isle of Man with pride at the first ever UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Youth Forum.
The event, being held in Italy from 18-23 September, will bring together 18 to 35-year olds from UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) regions throughout the world to discuss sustainability.
The Island was welcomed to the MAB world network of Biosphere reserves last year, in recognition that it is ‘a special place for people and nature’. Other members include such iconic areas as Ayers Rock (Uluru), Yellowstone in the USA, the Cape Winelands in South Africa, Mount Kenya and Central Amazon.
Maximising the Biosphere accreditation will enhance the Island’s economy, environment and community, the Programme for Government emphasises.
The local delegates were chosen from those who applied to the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA).
Ruth Keggin, 28, from Port Erin, is a Manx Gaelic singer, musician and teacher and Gaelic speaker who has flown the Manx flag abroad while performing and has lectured about her homeland overseas.
Alfie Leach, 21, from Andreas, is studying for a Masters in earth science. He has a keen interest in farming, has conducted out a geological mapping project of the Island and is passionate about bees, having tested the genetics of the Manx native black bee.
Graihagh Hardinge, 28, from Cranstal, is completing a PhD in marine biology, has organised and participated in many events celebrating the Island’s biodiversity and is a keen diver. She works in e-gaming.
On their return from the forum, the trio will help establish a UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Youth Forum, which will ensure the younger generation has a major voice in Biosphere Isle of Man.
Peter Longworth, Project Lead for Biosphere Isle of Man, said:
‘It’s fantastic that we have such strong representation from the Isle of Man at the first global Biosphere Youth Forum.
‘Ruth, Graihagh and Alfie have demonstrated their commitment to the Biosphere principles and, at interview, spoke passionately about their Island and the role of the younger generation in ensuring we maximise all that our Biosphere status offers.
‘Such was the calibre of applications, we have invited all those who applied to join our Youth Forum,’
‘We hope this will be a powerful platform for younger people to have their input on the Biosphere’s role in underlining we are a special place to live, work and visit.’
Visit Unesco Events for further details of the young forum.
For information on Biosphere Isle of Man, visit their site, follow UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man on Facebook and @BiosphereIoM on Twitter and Instagram.
*Photo of Ruth Keggin, Graihagh Hardinge and Alfie Leach.