The South Georgia Association is delighted to announce the award for the second year of its newly struck medal for 2019 to Mrs Sally Poncet, “For outstanding contributions to the study and conservation of wildlife and heritage of South Georgia“. The medal was presented to Pat Lurcock, representing Sally, at the annual spring meeting of the Association in London.
The Citation from the Proposers:
In recognition of her substantial contribution to knowledge and understanding of South Georgia ecosystems and heritage over an unparalleled period of time. Her dedication, often in highly uncomfortable situations, is exemplary. Her almost annual field trips to South Georgia are too numerous and diverse to list. For 40 years Sally has been at the forefront of wildlife and human interest surveys on South Georgia. Field projects include island-wide distribution and abundance survey of bird species and their habitats, elephant seals, historic sites and invasive plants. South Georgia Environmental Baseline Surveys and Albatross Survey, commissioned by the South Georgia Government, including monitoring wandering albatross populations. She was Project Leader for the South Georgia Rat Eradication Feasibility Trial (2000-01). In no small way, this drove the proposal to rid the island of rats. She subsequently took part in the South Georgia Heritage Trust’s rat eradication programme. This tapped into Sally’s extensive knowledge of the island by employing her as an advisor guiding activities on the ground. An example is her role in the production of low-flying avoidance maps for South Georgia. These were vital for guiding the operation of the helicopters during the rat eradication. Sally’s work has proved invaluable to scientists and visitors as well as government agencies formulating policy. Publications include The Land and Visitor Management Report and Baseline Survey. She was also co-author of the South Georgia Site Visitor Management Plan and the South Georgia Visitor Guide. Sally has been very active in providing information for other bodies. These include the acquisition on the ground of invaluable heritage data for South Georgia Geographic Information Services (SG GIS), also the provision and interpretation of aerial imagery for UKHO hydrographic cartography. Sally has also participated in logistical support for a number of wildlife documentary filming expeditions to South Georgia, including “Life in the Freezer”. Sally Poncet’s continued involvement through fieldwork and interaction with visitors (both scientists and tourists) over so many years has contributed an unparalleled amount to the world profile of the remarkable island of South Georgia; something we should all be grateful for. It would be fitting therefore to thank Sally Poncet for four decades of field work in South Georgia and so much more by the South Georgia Community that is the South Georgia Association members awarding her the Morag Husband Campbell Medal.