A CHARITY created in memory of a teenager who died while diving off Portland has funded a project studying how best to protect critically endangered sea turtles in the Caribbean

The Oscar Montgomery Environmental Foundation is working alongside the University of Plymouth and two organisations in Grenada on the new project inspired by Oscar's love of the marine environment.

Now, a partnership of organisations and universities in the UK and Grenada has launched a new project looking into the challenges and threats facing two endangered marine species.

Marine conservationists in the two countries will be working to understand more about hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) and green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas).

This will include using a variety of field techniques to fully appreciate their behaviours and habitats, and ultimately, the partners hope to develop a series of measures that can be used to support the sustainable conservation of the species now and in the future.

The research is being funded by the Oscar Montgomery Environmental Foundation (OMEF), a charity launched in 2020 as a legacy to a young man who was passionate about the marine environment.

The 17-year-old, from Birmingham, had travelled to Church Ope Cove, Portland on May 27, 2020 to take part in water activities.

An experienced snorkeller and spearfisher, he was last seen entering the water around 9.30am, but failed to return. His body was recovered from the water on June 17.

The charity set up in his memory aims to support, advocate and raise awareness of environmental issues, largely marine, and support projects and research which work to conserve and enhance the global environment.

This project is particularly poignant, with Oscar having visited Grenada and the turtles with his family.

It will be managed collaboratively by the University of Plymouth (UK), St George’s University, School of Veterinary Medicine (Grenada, West Indies), and Grenada-based marine conservation NGO Ocean Spirits Inc.

Hannah Limberger, Founder and Secretary of the Oscar Montgomery Environmental Foundation, said: “We are honoured to be supporting a project crucial for the future of critically endangered hawksbill turtles and endangered green turtles. We are equally thrilled to be funding Naomi Westlake in her ResM, our first student funding, supporting young people who are passionate about environmental conservation is truly special and so important to our future. We are excited to see the outcome of this work and as we grow as a charity we look forward to building these relationships and supporting more young people on their environmental journeys.”

Professor of Marine Ecology Martin Attrill, from the University of Plymouth, will oversee the project alongside Associate Professor of Marine Ecology Dr Clare Embling.