Preserving the island’s past and creating a better future for South Georgia
The South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) was established in 2005 to raise funds to support its two primary purposes:
- To help efforts to conserve and protect those species of indigenous fauna and flora that breed and grow on South Georgia or in the surrounding seas and to raise awareness of South Georgia’s threatened species
- To assist efforts to preserve the historical heritage of South Georgia, including selected historical sites of importance, and increase international awareness of the human history of the island through the South Georgia Museum.
SGHT is registered as a charity in Scotland, with a branch in Norway and representation in the USA. It has a board of twelve international trustees, who administer SGHT funds in pursuit of SGHT’s primary purposes. The main SGHT office is in Scotland, located within Dundee’s industrial museum, Verdant Works.
The Wandering Albatross is one of a number of species that are in danger – and for which South Georgia is a vital refuge.
South Georgia is also a critically important breeding location for king, gentoo and macaroni penguins.
Addressing the challenges faced by South Georgia
The island of South Georgia is governed by the Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) from its administrative base in Stanley, Falkland Islands. Government income comes primarily from two sources: the fishing industry (its major source of income) and from visitor landing fees. However, this income is limited and cannot possibly be expected to manage the range of challenges that confront South Georgia. Therefore, a charitable – and international – entity like SGHT is essential to ensure ongoing support to address these challenges.
Highlighting projects supported by SGHT
SGHT seeks to enable projects that contribute to the conservation and protection of the island’s natural habitat. The groundbreaking SGHT Habitat Restoration Project resulted in South Georgia being officially declared rodent free in May 2018.
Restoring the island’s habitat used by its threatened bird species for breeding will help to save South Georgia’s native birds from extinction and increase by millions the numbers of endangered seabirds that live there. Importantly, the Project will help to increase international awareness of South Georgia and its threatened species.
Preserving the rich historical heritage of South Georgia is a priority for SGHT, ensuring that artefacts from the island’s sealing and whaling industries are conserved to illustrate the lessons to be learned from this period of history. The Norwegian branch of SGHT has played a important role in raising funds and undertook the restoration of the whaling manager’s villa at Husvik, completing the work early in 2008. Scientists and expeditions now use the villa as a base for research and exploration of the island’s interior.
In addition, SGHT has played a pivotal role in preserving the heritage of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s connection with South Georgia. SGHT staff at South Georgia Museum maintain Shackleton’s grave, which is found in the cemetery next to the whaling station at Grytviken. A replica of the James Caird, the lifeboat used by Shackleton and five of his men to traverse the Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia, was purchased by SGHT and brought to the island, where it is now a much-visited exhibit in the new Carr Maritime Gallery at the South Georgia Museum.
Show your support for South Georgia
Importantly, SGHT relies on your generous donations to continue its work to preserve the island’s past and to create a better future for South Georgia’s wildlife. Join the donors who are helping to make this happen. Please make a donation today.
SGHT is not a membership organisation; however, you can also show your support for South Georgia by signing up to receive the SGHT newsletter and other updates. To join a membership organisation connected with South Georgia, visit the South Georgia Association website at www.southgeorgiaassociation.org.