Case Studies.

Lee Molkenbuhr

Shearing contractor and farmer Lee Molkenbuhr manages Johnson’s Harbour farm with his wife, Martha.

My family links with the Islands on my father’s side go back to Jacob Lee, one of the first settlers to come down from the UK in the 1850s; my great-grandfather on my mother’s side was an Irishman who was shipwrecked here and then chose to settle.

My father bought a piece of Green Patch farm when it was subdivided in the late 70s and we all moved to the Murrell when I was six years old. I had a travelling teacher and was among the first kids to start up radio lessons using two metre sets. I moved into Stanley to the hostel for the last few years of secondary school then headed straight back to the Murrell before starting an agriculture training year at Blue Beach farm; this training carried a prize at the end for the top two trainees, of which I was one, who got to go to Australia to gain experience working on farms.

I started shearing here in the Islands for Neil McKay in November 1995, before heading off to the UK and New Zealand the following year. I also shore in America for a season in Wyoming and I worked for many seasons in Australia and Italy.

I have taken on the organisation of shearing in the Falklands and in the last three summers we have worked with a few young lads who were keen to learn to shear and are now doing well. There is a good career available for young shearers and also a great opportunity for them to travel the world to gain more experience and see lots of things as I have done.

I have been involved in competition shearing and have been lucky enough to shear for the Falklands at three world events (in Scotland, Norway and Wales). In Wales in 2010 our team made it into the final to secure us sixth place overall. We really got to promote the Islands and it was one of my proudest moments, being on the stage in front of thousands of people representing my country; I have been lucky enough to be selected to attend the 2012 world championships in New Zealand.

I have just taken on a farming lease at Johnsons Harbour farm with my wife Martha (who is from Cumbria in England) so my days of travelling around the world have ended. I have chosen to come home as I feel it has a safe and free environment in which to bring up a family and also the future seems to look good for the islands.

Dr Rebecca Edwards

Part time GP Dr Rebecca Edwards lives at Port Howard with her husband, Christopher Lee, and four children, Jessica, Daniel, Oliver and Peter.

My home, the Falklands, is an extremely special place to me. Growing up here as a child was a wonderful experience, and I am very lucky to be able to bring my own children up in the wide open, clean, healthy environment of Camp.

I live at Port Howard on West Falkland, where my husband and his brother run Port Howard Farm, a sheep station of 39,000 sheep and 270 cattle. My children have an idyllic time on the farm with a menagerie of pets, a big garden and lots of fishing and messing about on the beach to keep them happy. I look at them and hope and pray that their future here will be secure.

I work as a part-time GP in the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital in Stanley. I read medicine at University College London, qualifying as a doctor in 2001 and after my hospital jobs were finished I trained to become a GP so that I could come home again. I always wanted to come back to the Falklands to work, not just because it is home, but I knew that I wanted to raise my children here, and because the work of a GP here is hugely varied and challenging. We are not only the GP but the A&E doctor, the obstetrician, paediatrician, hospital doctor, flying doctor, etc. It is a fantastic job, but not without the difficulties that come with working in an isolated place far from the nearest specialist advice.

The last 30 years have flown by. The Falklands have changed beyond all recognition ̧ but still retain their charm and beauty. We have a democratic government who have maintained excellent finances in the current world recession. We have excellent health and educational facilities. I am proud to call myself a Falkland Islander.

I wonder what the next 30 years will bring. I hope my children’s children will still be living on West Falkland in all its beauty and safety and most importantly I hope they will live free from the aggressive neighbour, Argentina, we know today. The conflict was 30 years ago, surely Argentina must want to move on and forward from the dark memories of 1982?

I pray that Argentina will wake up and realise that we aren’t going to vanish or give in to their bullying, and that they accept us as a nation of people in our own right, choosing to live the life we want to, quietly, in our home, the Falkland Islands. I hope that soon we will see the Falklands and Argentina living peacefully, and respectfully, side by side.

Georgina Strange

Photographer Georgina Strange is the manager of the New Island nature reserve, owned by the New Island Conservation Trust – a non-profit charity.

For around seven months of the year, I live and work on one of the most remote outlying islands of the Falklands, New Island, on the extreme western edge of the archipelago. My work on this tiny island wildlife sanctuary is centered on environmental research and eco-tourism – New Island is a nature reserve, and my main job is management of the island and its small team of seabird biologists. My role also includes taking care of cruise ship visitors and hosting wildlife film teams, but on the less glamorous side, I am responsible for all aspects of island-upkeep here, including those where you really have to get your hands dirty. The feeling of freedom on New Island and its incredible wildness and isolation are what I really love about it; not to mention the people that you meet and the opportunities that come your way. The island has only four houses and at most might be home to ten individuals at any one time, but bizarrely you often meet more people here than you would living in the main town.

In my spare time I indulge in my photography and design and for the rest of the year, I divide my time between Stanley and travelling to new destinations – for me, taking time away to explore other parts of the world only reminds me how special the Falklands are, and being away from them reinforces my desire to return. Travel and experience living abroad is important in my mind; it’s easy to become ignorant and forget about the rest of the world when you live in such an isolated corner of it.

I was born in Argentina in 1981 to an English father and an Argentine mother, both of whom proudly call the Falklands home. I came home at just two weeks old and I have lived, schooled and worked here ever since, just taking time out for college in England when I was 17 years old, and then moving to Australia to complete a Photography degree at university. Australia was a life-changing experience for me – a totally different life to my home in the Islands, but another world of big skies and open coastlines which I became really connected to. I spent four years there, but always knew I’d return home.

Often the question is asked, “What do you love about the Falklands?” and “what would you change about the Islands?” Quite simply: “everything”, and “nothing”. For all its scars and flaws, and for all the things we complain about, there’s still simply no place like it.

When I think of the Falkland Islands, I think of a wild and free place where the wind roars and the open skies go on forever; a place of close-knit community and life-long friendships that will last no matter how much time you spend away; a place that is truly unique and where I feel very privileged to have grown up.

Ben Cockwell

Artist and designer Ben Cockwell lives at Fox Bay with his wife Clare. He runs a small printing and embroidery business with his sister, Kerri.

Fox Bay East, one of the old ‘big’ settlements on West Falkland, is my home; my earliest memories are of Fox Bay and it’s where I still live. For the first six years of my life my brother Adam and I lived here in the rustic setup that was life in the Camp in those days, no television, phones, roads and precious little contact with the outside world. From a very early age I loved drawing, never mind all the soldier, astronaut, racing driver sort of aspirations that boys of that age usually have, I wanted to be an artist and to live in Fox Bay, these were my ambitions.

I returned to Fox Bay after deciding the Civil Engineering degree I had embarked on at university in Brighton was the wrong direction for me and was fortunate in that my parents had recently started, as a sideline to my mother’s knitwear business, a small printing and embroidery business. My skills in computer graphics and art were of use in this so I turned to at Warrah Design in 1997. In 2000 Clare and I married and over the next five years, as we could find the time and money to do so, we built our own house at Fox Bay overlooking the islands and hills to the north.

In recent years I began to draw and paint again, it just felt like it was time to try to realise my old ambition to be an artist; from a tentative start this developed in leaps and bounds from doodling with a biro to producing large, ambitious paintings in my favourite medium, pastels. In 2011 I hosted my first solo exhibition at the Jetty Centre in Stanley to coincide with the launch of my own website, this was a great success and now art is a significant part of my life and provides a growing contribution to our income.

Looking back at what’s shaped the course of my life I see events that have influenced me, choices I’ve made, some bad, some excellent. However it all comes back to 1982, there was no choice involved in the huge events of that time. Before 1982 and as it was the Falklands would have slowly stagnated as the economy and population dwindled. Eventually there would have been nothing but a tiny fragment of the community left, dependent on the economic support of Britain for its existence. But then the conflict happened, Britain liberated us and put the means in place for our economy and community to flourish.

Whatever people of our generation have made of our lives in the Falklands is only possible thanks to the action taken by the British Government of the time and to the efforts and sacrifices made by the British forces that fought for our freedom. I for one will always remember that and be grateful for it.

Ros Cheek

Ros Cheek is Principal Crown Counsel, one of the Falkland Islands Government’s top legal advisors. She lives in Stanley with her partner Ian ‘Sparky’ Ewen.

A clear benefit that the war gave to my generation of Falkland Islanders is a sense of certainty that we are very fortunate to be able to call this place home. That has given us a drive, purpose, and pride in our country, and has enabled us to make progress that we couldn’t have dreamed might be possible in the context of the political uncertainty and economic stagnation that was the background to our childhood before the war.

But even if we hadn’t had to suffer the invasion, I still think that I would just know that I was lucky to live here. Despite the worries of my parents for the future, my childhood gave me a sense and understanding of our community and environment that formed the basis for my passion for the Falkland Islands.

I love that, despite the progress that we have made to a modern living, our culture remains some way off the material consumerism that dominates other modern societies; our quality of life is based on something quite different.

I am at my happiest enjoying the Falklands the way I have done since I was young; in camp with my partner and family; or having a river completely to myself (catching a fish being a bonus). And now going for a run is my favourite way of absorbing my surroundings. The view of the hills to the west as I run home – Tumbledown, Two Sisters, Longdon – is a thought provoking reminder, if I ever need it, that I have so much to be grateful for.

Most particularly I am grateful for the education I had, which was a direct benefit from the economic stability provided by the British presence in the Islands following the war and which has enabled me to come back to the Islands to work as a lawyer for the Falkland Islands Government.

Having seen how hard both my parents worked for the Falkland Islands, there was never any doubt for me that I would do something of a public service nature for a career; and to give something back in return for the education which I received but which Dad never had the chance of.

Of course life here it isn’t always idyllic. The sense of guilt that so many went through so much for us can be hard to keep in perspective. The continued, unwarranted and egotistical aggression from our neighbours could be wearing if you let it get to you.

But it seems to me that the best way that we can honour those who worked, fought and died for our freedom is to put those difficulties aside and forge a future where the Islands continue to flourish economically and to mature as a democracy. As a proud Falkland Islander, I hope that one day the sacrifice of those who fought for us will be truly honoured by an international recognition of our right to self determination.

Ian Betts

Ian Betts is a self-employed plumber who lives in Stanley. He coaches the Stanley football team and is a sergeant in the Falkland Islands Defence Force, the locally maintained volunteer defence unit.

I always wanted to do an apprenticeship and was among the first three Falkland Islanders to go to Chichester College in the UK for further education after I had spent five years working for a local company.

I came home with my NVQ Levels 2&3 in mechanical engineering and worked for another plumber for two years before deciding I had had enough of being an employee and wanted to work for myself. I hadn’t really put much thought into it, I think I was just having a bad day. But it has worked out well and business is good.

I now employ one other person and we work on jobs right across the board in Stanley and Camp, from new builds to renovations, to fixing basic leaks and maintenance.

Being self-employed brings challenges but also benefits. It means I can take a day off when I want to which is important to me as I manage the Stanley football team, I’m the wicket-keeper in the Falklands cricket team and I’m a sergeant in the Defence Force (FIDF).

We have a football league which runs throughout the summer months, roughly from November – March. There are four teams in the league and they all have a wide age range; each has at least three 14 year olds playing in them which is great as the young players get valuable experience.

The best players in the league get picked to play for Stanley, which is basically also the national side. They have fixtures against players from the British Forces and also get the opportunity to travel overseas – we try to send a team to the Island Games every two years. Normally the training for the Games is a last six month push but we now know we need to work all year round and we’ve started training already for the Bermuda Games in 2013. I played in the team at the 2011 games in the Isle of Wight; we took beatings from some of the bigger islands but we managed to pick up the Small Island Cup. In previous Games we’ve not yet managed to take a big scalp but we’ve come close.

I’m also wicket keeper in the Falkland Islands cricket team. This is a relatively new sport here but we’re now a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and have been to tournaments in Mexico and Costa Rica, competing in the ICC’s Americas divisions. We are there to fly the flag for our country among the other North and South American nations.

A lot of my time is dedicated to being a sergeant in the FIDF. Essentially we are an infantry company-sized force, trained and prepared in the same skills and arguably more than the average British infantry company; in other words, we get to do things they don’t, such as working on the water with our boats and having training from a Royal Marine instructor. We have a Search and Rescue capability too.

The FIDF is something I’m passionate about; I’m proud to be a Falkland Islander and I’m proud to be British and I would want to play a part in the defence of the Falkland Islands if it ever came to it. My brother, who works for a local fishing company, is also a member. I think everyone is in the force for the same reason, to do our bit.

Lucinda May

Teacher Lucinda (Cyndi) May lives in Stanley with her husband Jonathan. She teaches children at the Infant and Junior School.

I have taught at the Infant and Junior School for around fifteen years, teaching children between the ages of 5 – 11 years. I am now a member of the senior management team which includes a local Deputy Head, Karen Steen.

The school has grown in size tremendously; it currently has 260 pupils and has had three extensions since I was a pupil there. We follow the English National Curriculum which is modified to include local History and Geography. As History co-ordinator the teaching of local history is something I am passionate about; for example children now learn about the Stanley peat slips of the late 1800’s and they visit a peat bog where they are shown the Falklands traditional peat-cutting method. (Very few households in the Falklands use peat for fuel as opposed to the majority 30 years ago.)

I was born in the Falkland Islands and enjoyed an idyllic and carefree childhood growing up in Stanley in the 1970s. I recall long summer days, many of which were spent on the beach with my sister and aunt, as well as playing at the ‘peat-bog’ whilst my father spent many hours cutting hundreds of cubic yards of peat.

At the age of 15 I attended Peter Symonds College in Winchester, gaining 3 ‘A’ levels. At this point overseas education was still being funded by the British Government. I went on to read History at Reading University from where I graduated with a BA Honours degree. This was funded by the Falkland Islands Government which was by then benefiting from the revenue of the newly-created off-shore fishing zones. A further one year Post Graduate Certificate in Education course qualified me to teach Primary School children.

Having lived in Britain for a decade and been away from my home and family I was keen to return to the Falklands and begin my teaching career. Living and studying in Britain was a valuable experience but I had never had any doubts that I would return to the Falklands to live.

Despite being away for so long I always knew my real home was in the Falklands. My ambition was also to ‘re-pay’ the Government which funded my university education and also to encourage and motivate other young Islanders to achieve their potential.

The events of 1982 made me determined to succeed and help build a better future for the Falklands. The sacrifice, given by the British Servicemen, was a great inspiration to us all. It ensured a more positive and secure future for all the inhabitants for which we will be eternally grateful.
I hope the Falklands will continue to progress in the way that it has over the past 30 years but will still retain its unique identity.

Paul Phillips

East Falkland farmer Paul Phillips runs Hope Cottage farm with his wife Shula and daughter Bekka.

The Phillips family first came to the Falklands in 1862, with the first child born in 1876, and we have worked in farming since then.

My parents bought Mount Kent farm in 1980 when the larger farms around the Islands were subdivided giving, for the first time, Falkland Islanders an opportunity to own a piece of their own country. Family-size farms were born and a new farming era began.

In 1989 my parents sold Mount Kent farm and bought Hope Cottage Farm, a better piece of land, which was more productive and a greater opportunity.

My wife Shula and I bought the farm from my parents on January 1, 2009 continuing many of the farming changes made by my parents.

The Falkland Islands Meat Company (FIMCo) has introduced the biggest change in the modern farm, with opportunities of an income from meat to enhance our wool revenue. For many years reliant only on a wool income, Falklands farming went through very hard times with the collapse of wool prices in the late 1980s, and now with a dual income we should be able to sustain a fall in either enterprise without falling into times of poverty again. We will have an income split of 66/33, with wool still being our main income, but farmers do not have the same confidence in wool as they did many years ago.

We plant crops and grass to finish our stock for FIMCo to boost our meat income, as they pay on quality and weight; FIMCo also gives us the ability to increase production with the export of meat from the EU-approved abattoir. We do an artificial insemination programme with both our sheep and cattle to improve our genetics, providing a better income from both meat and wool.

Farming has never been in a better position, and we firmly believe we have a great future to look forward to. I remain committed to living off the land we own, and we will always feel indebted to all involved in liberating the Falklands in 1982.

We have a six year old daughter who loves being out in the Camp, she is an absolute animal lover. There are three girls in the area all around the same age, with a travelling teacher moving on a weekly basis from farm to farm; Bekka day-trips for two weeks to the other farms for her schooling and the other girls do the same when the teacher is at Hope Cottage. I think its really good that we can give her the chance to live in the Camp if she chooses to when she is older.

Stephen Luxton

Stephen Luxton is the Falkland Islands Government’s Director of Mineral Resources. He lives at Mullet Creek, just outside Stanley, with his wife, Sue.

Oil and gas development will be a quantum leap for the Falklands and it is vital that it is correctly controlled. At present it is unclear what the extent of possible development might be; we have a single oil field working towards development but in two to five years we could easily be in a completely different position with far more activity.

Current intentions are to keep most of the major engineering activity offshore, with onshore support bases and facilities as required. The main focus for the Falkland Islands Government will therefore be to ensure that the activity is a safe and thorough exploitation of the resource in the national interest, involving local business wherever possible, to build a firm foundation for the Falklands economy and government revenues for many years to come.

I was born in Stanley and grew up with my parents Bill and Pat at Chartres. Early schooling was at Chartres, plus the occasional visits to “big school” in Stanley. I moved in to Stanley House to boarding school in 1981, aged eight, sharing a cramped dormitory in the top floor of the main house with about 16 others, which ended rather suddenly with the outbreak of conflict. We returned to a much-changed Stanley House in early 1983, living in mobile homes on an old tennis court. I was the last year to do the old ‘O’ levels in 1988, went on to do ‘A’ levels at Cranleigh in Surrey, and finished my education in 1995 graduating with a B.Sc. (Hons) in Geology from Durham University.

I was always keen to return home during school holidays and after a number of years the well trodden path up and down the Atlantic became second nature. I have considered living elsewhere on the odd occasion but the reality is always that about three weeks away from the Islands is enough to refresh the memory as to why we live here and I am always ready to come home. There is nowhere else in the world that offers the same blend of quality of life and career or business opportunities as the Falklands.

The conflict undoubtedly shaped everything that is the modern Falklands. We owe it to those who liberated us and especially those who lost their lives, to make the most of the freedom they gave us back and to look to the future while pausing to remember the past. The Falklands has a great future ahead of it despite the ongoing political threat from Argentina, and there are a great many people who, like me, are proud to call it home.

James Wallace

James Wallace is the European representative for Falklands 
fishing company, Fortuna Ltd, of which his father is Managing
 Director. He was born and grew up in Stanley and now splits his time between the Falklands and Amsterdam, where he lives with his young family.

Fortuna was one of the first locally owned companies to fish in Falklands waters following the declaration of the economic exclusion zone after the conflict. More than twenty-five years on, it is the leading producer and marketer of sea-frozen white fish and squid products in the region. Fish is processed and packed on board its fleet of factory freezer vessels and transported to markets around the world.

My responsibilities include regional marketing and sales of the company’s products in Northern and Eastern Europe, the USA and Asia. I carry out my duties from my home in Amsterdam and the Falklands where I am resident for part of the year working from the company’s headquarters in Stanley. My parents, sister and her family live in Stanley.

The reliance of the Islands’ economy on the fishery resource makes conservation and rational use matters of national importance. The fishery’s rights-based quota system (ITQ) encourages everyone to take the long term view and gives greater economic relevance to preserving the stock. As a result of the modern measures and policy in place and the high quality of scientific work carried out in the Islands the fishery is internationally recognised as one of the best managed in the world.

The developments of the local fishing industry are equally impressive. The small unsubsidised sector has managed in difficult circumstances to advance at a rate well beyond that of any other of the world’s small coastal states. The natural variability of stocks of the main target species, Loligo and Illex squid, the remote location of the fishery, a lack of local capital, skills and experience, and fisheries policy based for the first twenty years on annual licences with no guarantee of renewal were all significant obstacles to growth. The high risk investments made during those uncertain times are today generating returns for the Islands and the rights-based quota system introduced in 2008 is encouraging more local investment in fishing assets and expertise.

In a remote fishery like the Falklands one of the first challenges is logistics, transporting the fish to market. Operators have coped well by transporting fish aboard fishing vessels and co-ordinating exports with European-based intermediaries. The recently introduced container service operating from the Islands enables exporters to make direct exports from the Islands and integrate further into the global seafood business.

Falkland fish is internationally recognised as premium quality wild-caught seafood and the prominence of the Falkland’s brand provides an excellent platform for the export of new species of previously unexploited fish that are currently under study.

The fishing industry and the seafood trade are dynamic and fast-paced sectors to work in and being part of a primary industry during such a fundamental stage of growth is exciting. The sense of advancement and expansion into new territory brings a personal satisfaction that is exceptional in most careers.

Nick Rendell

Nick Rendell is the Environmental Officer for the Falkland Islands Government. He lives in Stanley with his partner, Teslyn.

The Falkland Islands holds some of the most beautiful, important and accessible seabird and marine mammal populations in the world, as well as being home to unique habitats and breath-taking scenery. I have been fortunate to experience the awesome wildlife and environment of the Falkland Islands first- hand from a young age, and to compare it with that of many other parts of the world.

The economy of the Falklands is built on fisheries, agriculture, tourism and, looking to the future, potentially hydrocarbons. All are dependent or closely linked to the exquisite and unique environment of the Falkland Islands. My passion is this environment and I, like many Falkland Islanders, hope to be able to help preserve and enhance it for the benefit of future generations.

The Falkland Islands environment faces many challenges. Pressure from the development of our economy is perhaps the greatest threat to our environment. The diverse biodiversity found in the Falklands must be better understood and preserved into the future despite these pressures.

I grew up in Stanley, but spent a lot of time in the Camp as a child, particularly on Pebble Island as my father ran Pebble Lodge for several years in the mid 1980s and I also visited Camp settlements with my mother when she worked at Camp Education. In the late 1990s my parents bought Bleaker Island and I have spent a lot of time there subsequently.

After attending school in Stanley I attended Peter Symonds College in Winchester for two very memorable years to take my A-Levels before studying for four years to gain my bachelors degree in geography and politics at the University of Sheffield. After a year working as a graduate trainee in the Falklands I returned to the UK to read my Masters degree in Environmental Management at the University of Manchester. I then spent a year working in an Environmental Consultancy in Manchester before I returned to the Falklands in 2009 to take up my current position as Environmental Officer with the Falkland Islands Government.

I have not found anywhere else in the world that compares with the unique lifestyle and culture of the Falklands. The opportunities here, considering our size and population, far outweigh the geographical isolation. For one of the smallest countries on the globe we have a huge amount going for us – not least our environment, culture, and individuality.

The Falklands is continuing to grow economically and the future looks bright. We are at a crossroads and have the opportunity to develop our society as a model of progressive, sustainable and green growth while further improving our special quality of life.

Nyree Heathman

Nyree Heathman combines her role as mother to Kai with running a family tourism business, Estancia Excursions.

It was purely by chance that I started to work within the tourism industry covering for another driver one day. This eventually led to regular driving/guiding and I enjoyed meeting new people and telling them about our unique Islands. It has also provided some rather amusing moments with unusual questions, and some very entertaining days when the tracks are wet. Luckily having grown up on the family farm I learnt to drive off-road at a young age, although this hasn’t excused me from my fair share of embarrassing ‘sticky’ moments.

With the number of tourists visiting the Falkland Islands now considerably higher than ten years ago, more and more people are becoming involved in this industry. It provides valuable income at a time of worldwide financial instability, and we endeavour to ensure that visitors receive a warm welcome and enjoy their often brief time here.

Working throughout the summer within the tourism industry means that since having my son Kai in 2009 I am fortunate enough to be able to be a stay-at-home mum for the majority of the year. My sister Tara is also able to benefit from this seasonal work, regularly driving visitors to Volunteer Point, whilst still being able to spend considerable time at home with her young son and daughter.

My childhood was spent enjoying the freedom that my parents’ farm Estancia had to offer. Growing up in Camp also meant that schooling involved a daily “radio lesson” with a teacher in Stanley via 2-meter, and routine visits from a travelling teacher throughout the year, a system that worked well and provided me with an excellent primary education.

Eventually moving to the boarding hostel in Stanley I attended secondary school until the age of 16 where I completed my GCSEs. This was followed by a year in Devon at Agricultural College where I gained a Certificate in Agriculture.

Despite thoroughly enjoying my time in the UK I was keen to return to the Islands to work, and after some time spent working for the Government Air Service I transferred to the Department of Agriculture. Whilst working there I completed a long distance Diploma in Agricultural Business Management, and undertook training in artificial reproduction techniques and embryology in Australia. It was a job that I very much enjoyed, and no two days were the same.

Living in the Falkland Islands means that our children benefit from the freedom and safety, education and opportunities that life here has to offer, none of which would be possible without the sacrifices made by the British forces in 1982. These sacrifices have meant that our beautiful Islands have been able to develop into the thriving community that exists today, and ultimately mean that we can proudly call ourselves British; that will never be forgotten and appreciated more than words can say.

Dan Fowler

Daniel Fowler was born in Stanley on April 13th, 1982, while the Falklands were under occupation. He is currently working towards a Master of Research degree in sustainable aquaculture and fisheries. He lives in Stanley with his wife, Zoe.

Like many Falklands students I went to Britain to continue my studies, spending six years away in total. If I’m honest, I hadn’t planned to return to the Falklands immediately after university; I thought the Islands were too small, too quiet; “Maybe in ten years” I told myself.

But I came home anyway to do a year’s contract working at sea on fishing boats as a biologist. Six years later, I am still in the Falklands and have just bought a house with my partner. I’ve never regretted coming back. I might head off and see the world for a few years and get some work experience elsewhere, but I have little doubt that I’ll be back before too long; this is home.

I work on land now, looking at the freshwater environment and the interaction between the introduced and invasive brown trout and our critically endangered native fish. Many people think the Falklands’ rivers are just about sea trout, but we should do what we can to protect all the species for which this place is home, in the same way that we would like others to respect our right to live here. I think environmental stewardship is very important for the Islands; the environment is one of the things that make this place great. There is a lot to learn, and a lot to be done, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be working right now.

Away from work I like to be active and outdoors, either with the Falkland Islands Defence Force and the fire service, or on my own time, walking, camping or doing sport (I’m a second-rate windsurfer and a beginner kite-surfer/buggier). Mostly though, I’m pretty happy just having the time to do a bit of gardening and watch the chickens scratch around, or walk the dog on the beach. All these things make the Falklands a cool place to be: freedom, space and nature.

I suppose I’m fortunate that for me (and my age group) the conflict is a reference point, a history lesson, and not a living memory. That doesn’t make me less proud to be British, or less grateful for the sacrifices made to protect us, but the conflict itself is almost an abstract concept. What is tangible though is the sense of freedom and opportunity bestowed up on us. These are interesting (some would say difficult) times for the Islands, but we’ll pull through; we owe it to ourselves, and to others.