What would you do if you got a video call from the Queen?
The once in a lifetime opportunity was given to turtle conservationist Len Peters who had to quickly settle his nerves as he shared his story of volunteerism with royalty.
Two years ago, Peters’ name was etched in the history books for being the first to receive the Commonwealth Points of Light award from the Queen.
The award recognizes outstanding volunteering work by individuals and initiatives in communities and beyond.
For over 30 years, the chairman of the Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association has been working to transform communities which are home to the leatherback sea turtles and their nesting sites.
Last week Wednesday Peters’ name would again go down in royal records as he and two other awardees were lauded for their efforts and work from her majesty, who told him:
“I’m delighted to have heard your stories and I think it’s wonderful work that you’re all doing and volunteering so much, thank you very much.”
Speaking with Guardian Media yesterday, Peters explained how much the acknowledgement from the Queen meant to him. “Probably if it wasn’t for COVID-19 it might have been a face-to-face conversation, so myself from Trinidad, a lady from Cyprus and a gentleman from Mozambique, we were the three persons who had the honour of having that high noon conversation from Windsor Castle concerning the work we have been doing and how the work has been going thus far.”
While sharing his decade’s long journey as a conservationist, the Queen’s interest was particularly piqued by Peters’ works which have been featured by natural historian Sir David Attenborough.
He said, “Sir David spent two weeks with us in Grande Riviere for a sequence of Planet Earth 2 and we took him to a school where he inspired children to dream, to be the next conservationist, the next biologist.”
Peters said the experience would resonate with him for the rest of his life.
“It was humbling because everything was decorum, you had to be there on time, she came in at 1:30 UK time and you were sitting there and I actually had to speak first, she began speaking to me and she was very cordial.”
According to Peters, however, if he is to continue championing the leatherback turtle conservation cause, it will take more than the Queen’s endorsement.
He said a financial impetus is needed to continue recovery works which now stands to be eroded.