Dr. Karen Eckert
Dr. Karen Eckert is one of the most important figures in conservation and grassroots community empowerment in the fields of endangered species in the Wider Caribbean Region.
She is the Executive Director of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) which seeks to restore depleted sea turtle species and promote sustainable co-existence between Caribbean peoples and their marine resources.
Through Dr. Eckert's efforts WIDECAST seeks to integrate both government and non-government groups in establishing scientifically-sound resource management policies in 36 Caribbean states and territories. Under Dr. Eckert's direction, the project has resulted in a comprehensive series of nationwide Sea Turtle Recovery Action Plans. The WIDECAST model conceived and designed by Dr. Eckert, consists of a regional recovery team of senior sea turtle scientists who volunteer their time and expertise in training local country coordinators. These individuals, in turn, work with residents in defining a national agenda for the recovery of sea turtle stocks.
The direct involvement of in-country grassroots networks is the heart and soul of the WIDECAST programme. It educates the local network about marine resource management and creates an advocacy body, which will ensure implementation of the plan. These plans are locally generated and are customized to local needs, culture and regulatory systems.