The Manx Wildlife Trust is delighted to announce that financial support has been secured to allow its key Education Officer post to continue. Following the Department of Education and Children’s decision last year to cut the annual grant for the post, the nature conservation charity issued a plea for help to the local community and Nedbank Private Wealth responded with a very generous offer of assistance.
As a long-standing supporter of the Manx Wildlife Trust, through the charity’s Corporate Membership scheme, the Bank was keen to see the Education Officer’s valuable work with local children continue as this had been seriously under threat due to funding issues. Since September last year, the Trust has been charging schools for the services provided by Kath Smith, the Trust’s Education Officer for the past 10 years, in an attempt to cover costs. Unfortunately, though, whilst the charges were very competitive and schools were still keen for their pupils to benefit from Kath’s expertise, the Trust has seen a considerable reduction in bookings.
The 12 months’ financial support provided by Nedbank Private Wealth will now allow the Trust to once again provide the Education Officer service to schools free of charge which, in turn, will allow more than 3,000 local children to benefit from a range of environmental education sessions this year.
Over the years, Kath has made regular visits to local schools, youth clubs, Brownie packs and many other organisations for young people running a variety of wildlife-related activities and taking the children on field trips to allow them to experience, for example, rock-pooling, bird spotting and pond dipping in a fun and safe environment. During the main school holidays, Kath also organises similar activities for the public at various coastal and countryside locations around the Island. In addition, Kath is also responsible for running Manx Wildlife Watch – the junior arm of the Manx Wildlife Trust.
Janet Taylor, Senior Executive to the Managing Director at Nedbank Private Wealth, commented, “During these times of austerity, it is vital that the education of our Island’s children does not suffer and the understanding of our impact on the environment must continue to grow. The Education Officer role is crucial in fulfilling both these objectives and therefore we are delighted to support the post and look forward to seeing increased school bookings as a result.”