Towering out of the storm-tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean, St Kilda’s cliffs and sea stacks clamor with the cries of hundreds of thousands of seabirds.
Internationally recognized for its birdlife, St Kilda is no less famous for its human history. A community existed here for at least 4,000 years, exploiting the dense colonies of gannets, fulmars, and puffins for food, feathers, and oil. The final 36 islanders were evacuated in 1930. Now uninhabited, visitors can brave the weather to sail to the ‘islands at the edge of the world’ for the experience of a lifetime.
To ensure proper management of this dual World Heritage site, we must undertake urgent repairs to the pier, which has been damaged by storms over the past two winters. Phase 1 of our three-year pier repair program will include application of new non-slip surfaces and replacement of the metal treads, railings, and signage.
We also want to increase knowledge of species and ecosystems on St Kilda, contributing survey data to national and global datasets to improve our global understanding of climate and environmental change. The effects of changes in sea temperature and marine environment are impacting seabird populations across the globe. To understand these effects more fully it is vital that we continue monitoring these important seabird colonies. Working with A Focus on Nature, a group aimed at connecting and inspiring young people to develop interest in nature and conservation, we will offer four young people the opportunity to participate in an all island Great Skua count.