Monday mornings are supposed to make us feel nostalgic for the weekends that have passed. On the morning of September 17th, as I made the left turn towards Strakka, nostalgia was definitely in the air. Not for the weekend that has passed, but for the years that I had served as BirdLife Cyprus’s Natura 2000 Officer in the past.
I couldn’t be happier to be the 12th and newest member of the BirdLife Cyprus team and I am very excited to serve an organisation so near to my heart as its new Policy Officer, especially during these interesting and challenging times for nature. While Europe finds itself at a turning point as regards the future of the continent’s nature, notably with the new Common Agricultural Policy which will define the state of our farmland birds for the next decade, the revision of the Water Framework Directive which will dictate how we will manage our precious freshwater in the future, and the upcoming European Parliament Elections, our island is at its own critical point. With all the tools at hand – known as the EU Nature laws – to save our island’s nature from overexploitation, the political will to move forward and properly implement these is yet to materialise. I am looking forward to contributing towards BirdLife Cyprus’s important policy work on achieving proper implementation of the EU Directives in Cyprus and on influencing EU policy through the BirdLife network. I am also very happy to be given the chance to coordinate a new project, funded by the LIFE programme, aiming to raise awareness and build capacity against bird crime in priority flyway countries.
In the four years that have passed since I left Strakka, I was fortunate enough to be given many opportunities for professional and personal development. I got to work as Terra Cypria’s Policy and Education Officer, expand my academic training by studying for an MA degree in ‘Learning in Natural Sciences’ at the University of Cyprus, author a book about the Avakas Gorge published by the University of Cyprus and, most recently, become the first Cypriot to complete the Colorado Trail after hiking through the Colorado Rockies. Four years and 800 km later, I am very content to be back at BirdLife Cyprus, and ready for the new challenges ahead!