To celebrate 30 years of WLI, we are profiling some of the key people who have made the network a success. Ms. Molly Gaskin was at the very first meeting of WLI, and has supported us ever since. She is co-founder of the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust in Trinidad and Tobago.
In 1987, Molly Gaskin was awarded the Hummingbird Gold Medal for her commitment to environmental education in Trinidad and Tobago. Together with Karilyn Shephard – the Vice-President of the Wildfowl Trust – Gaskin pioneered the hands-on programmes for schools that focussed on educating persons of all ages about local wetland habitats and medicinal plants.
Working with the Trusts, Gaskin introduced turtle patrols to protect endangered species of turtles at Matura Beach in 1983. In Trinidad, she was also the first person to practice and encourage aviculture, which is caring for and breeding of wild birds. Under her care, the first Scarlet Ibis chick was successfully hatched in captivity in 1991. Since then, the Wildfowl Trust has become a veritable repository of local, endangered flora and fauna, included the Scarlet Ibis and 86 other species of birds.
In addition to advocating for laws that protect the endangered species at Wildfowl Trust, Gaskin was instrumental in encouraging the Government to become part of the Ramsar Convention in 1993. Under this international treaty for the protection of wetlands, the Nariva wetlands became recognised as a protected site.
In 1997, Gaskin was honoured as one of twenty-five "Exceptional women leaders from around the world for outstanding effort and dedication to the environment" by the United Nations Environment Programme.