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Earthwatch at 50: Professor Mark Huxham's story

There aren’t too many mangrove forests off the coast of Scotland.

So Earthwatch scientist Mark Huxham, Professor of Teaching and Research in Environmental Biology at Edinburgh Napier University, splits his time between the cooler shores of Scotland and the warmer waters of Kenya, among other research sites.

Mark recalls “The decision to partner with Earthwatch – to write that simple research proposal all those years ago – was one of the most important in my career. It opened the doors to a different way of doing science, one that was more joyful, more sociable, and more committed. Earthwatch helped to put people at the heart of what I do. They had the faith in our work and our vision to pledge their support for the years that it can take to really make a difference with local communities and with natural ecosystems."

Professor Huxham combines research into coastal ecology with teaching and the scholarship of teaching.

He has spent almost two decades working with local communities dependent on mangrove resources to gain a better understanding of their ecosystems, and how these insights can be used to help restore the crucial habitats as well as bring community benefits.

"By recruiting hundreds of wonderful volunteers, from dozens of countries and professions, they demonstrated to me how all sorts of people have the drive and the skills to make a difference.  By allowing me to learn, from my volunteers, from Earthwatch staff and from other Earthwatch scientists, as well as the local Kenyan partners with whom we worked to make our expeditions successful, Earthwatch showed me how lucky I was to do the work I do. They helped give me the resolve to keep going through the hard times and work to establish our successful mangrove conservation and carbon projects Mikoko Pamoja and Vanga Blue Forest”.

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