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The Lew Young Memorial Fellowship, World Wetlands Day 2021

March 31, 2021
The Lew Young Memorial Fellowship was launched by the South Asian Forum for Environment (SAFE) in Kolkata on World Wetlands Day 2021, as a tribute and salutation to Lew's contributions towards the conservation of globally important wetlands worldwide. We sincerely thank the Forum for their commemoration and launch, in memory of Lew.
March 7, 2021

Remembering Lew: Birthday and the WWF Mai Po Memorial Bench

November 15, 2020
On the 15th of November, we celebrate the passing of Lew's birthday as we would have done if he were here with us today. No doubt he would have enjoyed his day today here in Switzerland perhaps with a spot of biking or walk, as the sun shines brightly over the lake and Alps. There's not a day that passes where he is not remembered, however we take the day today to especially think back on the love and time we've shared.

It is with great fondness that we can also unveil Lew's memorial bench at the Mai Po Nature Reserve today, after working alongside the team at WWF-HK to set it up. Looking out over the reedbeds and gei wai, we hope that this is a place that can be enjoyed by the many visitors to the Reserve, and by ourselves when find ourselves back in Hong Kong.

We would like to thank Peter Cornthwaite (CEO, WWF-HK) for matching the sum of our donation for the creation of the memorial bench and it's commemorative plaque. We would also like to thank Xianji Wen and Wing Ng in their gracious help concerning the organisation, preparation and installation of the memorial bench at the Mai Po Nature Reserve.

Happy birthday Lew, Dad.

Moving on to work out what Lew wanted to do...

March 6, 2020
One year had quickly passed. Lew is still in our hearts. Looking back for the past year, my colleagues and I are still trying to work out what Lew had told us or shared that he wanted to do. We have fulfilled some (e.g. The Swan Goose Festival in DPRK that he initiated was held last October), some are on-going (e.g. trying to have one post a day on social media for EAAFP as he suggested), and some are yet to be done. Even though the time Lew with us was short, but we are still benetifitng from the good things he established. We will keep on to work hard for a better world as he did. 


January 1, 2020
[An email notification from the Forever Missed website has reminded me of my friend Lew today - New Year's Day, 2020. It has put me in mind of him. I wrote this tribute a few days after Lew passed away in March last year. I think it was then uploaded to the EAAFP website by Billy Hau but I guess it's okay to reproduce it here.] 

I first met Lew at the tail end of 1988, shortly after he had arrived in Hong Kong to commence his PhD study on Chinese pond herons under the supervision of David Dudgeon and Brian Morton. At that time I was working as David's research assistant and, being a recent arrival myself, it was perhaps natural that the two of us rapidly became friends. He struck me immediately as affable and hearty, with an engaging chuckle and a boisterous laugh. He was also much more experienced than me, having done work for VSO in Sierra Leone and helped in a pheasant project in Pakistan before coming to Hong Kong University. In those early months he would often enthrall me with his tales of life as a VSO worker in West Africa, relating his hardships with characteristic rueful good humour. When the field work for his PhD got going in 1989, he occasionally enlisted me as a field helper (a favour he returned when, a year or so later, I began my own MPhil field work at Mai Po), and I have vivid memories of wading through thick mangrove mud at Tsim Bei Tsui to census Chinese pond heron nests with him, followed by tasty lunches at Tai Po, where he lived. 

Back in those days Lew would regularly join social outings with the small group of postgraduates connected to the Zoology Department. He was powerfully built and, although rugby was his game, I fondly recall his enthusiastic participation in one or two Zoology vs Botany "football matches" for staff and postgrads, in which there were titanic clashes between Lew and the similarly rugby-schooled Gordon Maxwell. These thunderous comings together became the stuff of legend. But of course Lew also had his gentle side. One day, quite out of the blue, he asked me, "What do you think of Deborah?" I answered very positively (doing no more than affirming his own opinion), and very shortly after that (or so it seemed) Lew had successfully wooed her and the pair of them had formed the bond which lasted the rest of Lew's life.

When Lew became manager of Mai Po Nature Reserve immediately upon completion of his PhD, it seemed a natural progression for him. He was the obvious choice. He immersed himself in the work, conscientiously and diligently, and no doubt others will write of his huge contribution to Mai Po marshes and the establishment of the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site during the 1990s and the early years of the new century. From a personal point of view, however, one consequence of Lew's dedication to his work was that, while I still saw him quite often, increasingly these were not social occasions. At the time (and even more so now), this was a source of regret for me. Thankfully, the advent of children brought our growing families together in the few years before Lew, Deborah, Omi and Cenny left Hong Kong for Switzerland.

I last saw my old friend during a family holiday in the spring of 2013, by which time he had been living in Gland for many years. We were his and Deborah's house guests for a few precious days. I noticed he was leaner than in his youth, but still very fit-looking, although he mentioned that his work was tiring. He seemed to have adapted very well to life in Switzerland, as he demonstrated when he guided us around the nearby medieval municipality of Nyon, swaggering the cobbled streets, wearing the old town like a coat.

Now he is suddenly, impossibly, gone. Like all of us who knew and loved him, I am forced to contend with a whirlpool of unwanted emotions: bafflement, regret, grief, loss; profound sadness and concern for his family. Our meetings were few and far between in recent years, but his was a true friendship that was ever ready to spring back into life. We shall all miss him, of course: his infectious guffaw, his cheery smile, his decency, his downright reasonablenessin argument. For me personally, I shall miss the little idiosyncracies, such as his habit of prefacing his interrogative utterances with a rapidly mumbled "What-was-it". It is with a particularly poignant pang that I have just realised I will never hear him say that, or anything else, again.

Remembering Lew: New Year and Decade 2020

January 1, 2020
On the turn of the new year and the new decade in 2020, we'd like to remember Lew for his favourite places and our traditions. Lew always liked to explore and revisit Switzerland's landsccape whenever there was a chance, so we could get close and enjoy the spectacles of nature.

Creux du Van was one of these examples and we were there during the last New Year day, on the cold and crisp morning. There's always a sight for everyone in the family, whether it's the expanse of the Alps, or the breathtaking limestone cirque cliff views. Lew particularly loved Creux du Van for the birds flocking to the cliff-sides or the occasional sighting of ibex.

We're sure that if Lew was still here with us, we would be on another family hike up to Creux du Van today. Though our hikes are now incomplete without us four together, the location doesn't loose it's beauty and it exists as a place for us to revisit and remember our family times together.

Lew is deeply missed by all of us today, especially today as we ring in the new year and decade. Happy new year Lew, Dad.

Remembering Lew: 61st Birthday and Family Memories

November 15, 2019
On this special day today, we would like to especially remember Lew on what would have been his 61st birthday. It is incomprehensible to us that it has been over 8 months now since his passing, and we cannot be celebrating with him today.

Our photos together remind us of our treasured family memories from the years together, where this photo here remembers our last December at Bamburgh Castle (Northumberland Coast, UK) shortly before Christmas 2018. His love for us will always remain close in our hearts, as we will hold him close in our hearts forever.

Happy birthday Lew, Dad.

Remembering Lew: Marsh Christian Trust Awards (October, 2019).

October 19, 2019
During the AGM of the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust (WWT) on 10 October 2019 held at the London Wetland Centre, the Marsh Christian Trust delivered a series of awards in associated with WWT. Lew was awarded the Marsh Award for International Wetland Conservation - a new award which recognises those who had made contributions to international wetland conversation.

On behalf of Lew, Deborah gratefully accepted the award at the London Wetland Centre. We are touched that Lew has been remembered in this way with this award, and especially from WWT and the London Wetland Centre as a location that was incredibly special for Lew and Deborah.

You can read more about the Marsh Award for International Wetland Conservation here, and the WWT article here.

In Memory of Lew, WWF-HK Newsletter Article (June 2019)

July 13, 2019

For the June edition of the WWF-HK newsletter "About Life", an article was dedicated to Lew's contributions to the wetland management and wildlife conservation in Mai Po Nature Reserve and Hong Kong. We would like to thank WWF-HK for their touching tribute and words to Lew, and to have included the tribute in their publication.

You can read the full article here.

In 3 Months Remembrance.

June 5, 2019

We would like to thank Lew's past colleagues from Ramsar and IUCN who have gifted us flowers and a condolences book yesterday. In particular, we would like to share the poem which Delphine Brémond included in the book. It reads as follows:

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep
I am not there; I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on the snow
I am the sunlight on the ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and forever cry
I am not there, I did not die.

EAAFP 10-Year Anniversary

May 24, 2019

On 10 May 2019, the East Asia-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat cerebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Government of Korea hosting the EAAFP Secretariat in Songdo, the Republic of Korea. During the ceremony section, an award was presented to Lew by the Ministry of Environment to honour his dedicated efforts towards environmental conservation.

The Lew Young Community Contributor Award, Flying Kukris Rugby Football Club Hong Kong.

May 13, 2019

During the the Flying Kukris Rugby Football Club AGM on 5th May, the club unveiled an award renamed after Lew to mark his passing and his previous contribution to the club. The award gives recognition to someone who has contributed considerable time and efforts to the club, and gone out of their way to make the Rugby Football Club experience better for the others. Tim Woodward, the head of boys and girls youth, proudly received the first Lew Young Community Contributor award for the 2018-19 season.  

April 6, 2019

Dear Lew,

You always welcomed us to talk to you, and you always started to talk to us in a very gentle and polite manner, saying ‘hello’ first, and looking for ideas to make thinga better and effective while listening to us. Your contribution for the wetland conservation was really very great.

I couldn’t find any words to express my feelings. Still difficult to do so. I started to write here many times, but gave up writing, deleted the messages because I believe you loved the work. Instead, I write down some moments we spent together out of work.

I remember the day you arrived at the Incheon airport with a suit case. Things happened and it was not a perfect pick up, but you enjoyed the taxi ride and shopping with us, after a long flight. Your house was so big for you to stay alone, you immediately called your wife, you chose a small room to stay daily, we inspected the house to list up what to buy, you were surprised at the big vacuum cleaner in the main bed room, we discovered how to use the kitchen recalling how Judit’s kitchen was, there was a radio and an oven, washing liquid was already equipped by Yejin, the room was warm with gentle early spring lights. You told us that your wife was going to bring bed linen and others that’s why he was asking about the bed size, you laughed that wives are generally better on those than husbands.

We went for shopping and got a few things including duvet, we all were like children, discussing which to choose, and laughed a lot saying that we can buy anything today if within today, even expensive ones, with office money! However, of course you chose simple, basic and good enough ones, not gorgeous and luxury ones.

For the second time we went to your house, there was a photo of your family in front of the TV in the empty living room. You were telling us about your wife and children, while Eugene was fixing the TV. We went to the beans sprouts soup shop but it was closed. Instead we ate bibimpab and you loved the simple meal in Bonjuk.

We went to Ganghwa together to show areas you could visit later again. Mr. Kim couldn’t join but kindly shared information and we managed to see many birds including Red-crowned Cranes. We were surprised when you said, looking into the scope, that it was your first time seeing RCC! We thought you knew everything, so we were happy that we still were able to have such monent together. For Spartina, we were sure you could give good advices so that we brought you there. You went down the steep coast to see the patches closer. We couldn’t reach in the end but it made me confident that you would help this beautiful place in the future.

We also went through Songdo, Sorae and our favorite river. We wanted to bring you to other favorite places in the RoK, but there was not enough time to do so although I stayed until the last day at the end of my contract. Yet, you gave me and Eugene a lot of warm memories to cherish forever. Sorry that Icouldn’t manage to send Eugene to the Ramsar COP even you offered to share the room with him... that was one of my biggest regrets.

Thank you very much, Lew. I will try my best to contribute to what you wanted to achieve further. We miss you a lot. We hope your family receives a lot of warm supports during this very hard time.

Tomoko (and Eugene)

Knocking on the Door

April 3, 2019

I got to know Lew through my brother Graham who, like Lew, was a postgraduate student of Dave Dudgen's at the University of Hong Kong. I never realised until his memorial service that he was so close in age to me (two years younger), but that might account for the instant liking and respect I had for Lew. I can't claim to have been that close to him, being neither student nor ecologist/conservationist, but I always enjoyed his company immensely, his honesty, earnestness and subversive sense of humour. Like Graham, I enjoyed the odd football match I was invited to take part in and Lew's titanic, no-quarter-given clashes with Gordon Maxwell. I'd come away from those games covered in bruises – from Lew! One thing that struck me at the memorial service was the number of speakers who said Lew made you feel special. He had that rare ability to give you his undivided attention and genuine interest in what you were saying, even down to the kids at Flying Kukris rugby training, where the speaker from the club said Lew always spoke to the kids at their physical level. Well he certainly made me feel like a special friend, even though I was just one of many. I do remember his distress at my wedding reception, when he managed to lock himself in the toilet and break the handle. After an attempt to climb out the second-floor window (failed) it took the concerted efforts of several of us to break him out of his cell! Good old Lew. I never knew you that well but I'll miss you. My deepest condolences to Deborah, Naomi and Cennyd. You are blessed to have had such a fine man in your life.

A lifetime friend

March 19, 2019

I got to know Lew when we were undergraduates at Leeds from 1977-80, and we have kept in contact since, much due to his effort in letting myself, and others, know when he was coming back to the UK. While he was doing his VSO, we “corresponded”, as it was in those days, by air mail, and his letters telling of palm wine and other events inspired my own travels through Africa.

In London, he introduced me to the Wong Kei Chinese restaurant, which was not as up-market(!) as it now is. He later took us to eat at the restaurant part owned by his father, a much different experience. He introduced me to the Marquee club in Wardour Street, and the Thompson Twins in the early 80’s. A decade later, I visited him in Hong Kong, where he had reserved us rooms in Chunking Mansions (what a pal). During this trip, along with Deborah and others from the Swire Marine lab we went into China, to see the sights of Guangzhou.

This century, I have been lucky enough to spend time with Lew and Deborah in Switzerland… Great memories of time in the hills, of being looked after in Gland with our kids having their first ever fondue. I was lucky enough to get to have a beer or two with him at the Metropolitan Bar at Baker Street over Xmas. Lew has been a big part of my life, and I will miss him. 

March 19, 2019

(On behalf of Sandra Hails; EAAFP and RAMSAR colleague and friend)

Lew was my soul-mate at Ramsar through all the hard times we had there over several years. His calmness and friendship helped me cope with the mess Ramsar was for a while. Working again with him in his Flyway role reminded just how talented he was and as the new CE I felt confident for the first time that the Flyway was going in the right direction. Everyone felt the same way, positive and looking forwarded to his firm hand. And now this. Sadness is just not enough to express how many of us feel. 
My ex-husband has just today reminded me that we first met Lew at Mai Po in 1986 - before we arrived in Switzerland. He was young, dynamic, and smart. And he never seemed to change. I miss him already. All I can do is wish you and the family great strength in the coming days and months. 

Bon courage,

March 19, 2019

(On behalf of Dr. Leung Siu Fai; Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation in HK S.A.R. Government)

We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear of Lew’s passing. On behalf of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, I would like to extend our sincerest sympathy and condolences to you and your children during this difficult time. 

Lew was truly a remarkable person as a conservationist, friend and working partner. He was wonderfully sincere, kind and gentle, yet he inspired his friends and colleagues with his vision and passion in nature conservation. He had dedicated his entire life in the conservation of wetlands and birds in Hong Kong, Asia and Oceania. From the Reserve Manager of the Mai Po Nature Reserve to the Senior Advisor for Asia and Oceania at the Ramsar Secretariat and the Chief Executive of the East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership, he had strived to serve the nature and the people living therein. In particular, he played a pivotal role in the designation of the wetland in Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay as a Ramsar Site in 1995 and the subsequent development and management of the site for conservation and education. My colleagues and I feel very privileged to have worked closely with him and have great respect for him as a close partner in the conservation of this important wetland in Hong Kong. His enthusiasm and exemplary contributions to the amazing beauty and biodiversity of our wetlands will be long remembered by all of us and our future generations. 

Lew’s passing is a great loss to the conservation communities. He will be deeply missed by all of us, yet his spirit will continue to inspire those pursuing nature conservation. Our thoughts are with you and your children during this difficult time. 

With our heartfelt condolences, 
Dr. Leung Siu Fai 
Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government

March 19, 2019

(On behalf of Brian Morton; PhD Supervisor to Lew)

Dear Deborah,

I write to you with a very heavy and sad heart regarding the sudden and tragic death of Lew on the 5th of March.

I am so, very, very, sorry that he has died - and so young. As you may recall, I co-supervised Lew for his PhD but the reality was that he taught me more about birds and bird-watching than I could ever enlighten him about! I also liked Lew very much as a person and had the greatest respect for him as a scientist and conservationist. He was in many ways one of the founding fathers of Mai Po and, then, went on to pastures new, with you, to Geneva. I had also read with the greatest of interest about his recent appointment as the Chief Executive of the Secretariat of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership. A position I am sure, with his kindness, thoughtfulness and diplomacy he would have made a huge success of. As he was already proving

Over the last few days and today as I write this, my thoughts have been and are, especially, with you and your children at this very sad time. But I wish to re-assure you that Lew's time on this Earth was not wasted. He was a stalwart model in terms of birding and conservation (the two going hand-in-hand) that others will only be able to somewhat emulate and never progress beyond. He was also a lovely man in so many ways and will be greatly missed not just by his family but by the birding and conservation moment especially. In the years to come, his name will be mentioned with great respect, affection and admiration.

You and your children have much to be proud of. And I hope you will always remember that.
Love, Brian

March 19, 2019

(On behalf of Edward Ho, WWF-Hong Kong Chairman)

It is with great sadness that I recently learned of the passing of Dr. Lew Young. The whole panda family sends heartfelt condolences. Our thoughts are with you (Deborah), Naomi and Cennydd at this difficult time. The conservation world has truly lost a great man.

During the 17 years that Lew spent with WWF-Hong Kong as the manager at Mai Po Nature Reserve he made significant contributions that are still shaping the course of our wetland management and bird conservation in Hong Kong and the region.

Lew’s pioneering spirit to install  Mai Po’s mangrove boardwalk leading visitors to a new floating hide gave bird watchers access to the migratory birds feeding at  the tidal mudflats of Deep Bay. As Lew noted at the time, the boardwalk simultaneously broadened the scope of our conservation work inside the reserve and enhanced bird monitoring.
He worked closely with the community around Deep Bay on a whole range of projects, such as the eco-fish farming scheme, demonstrating wise-use of wetlands and helping to sustain the local pond-fish industry. Of the various projects it is the establishment of a long-term research project with the Hong Kong Bird Ringing Group that has allowed us to fully investigate the importance of Mai Po’s reedbeds for migratory birds.
Lew dedicated himself to preserve the Mai Po wetlands working with the Hong Kong government to establish the Mai Po and Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site and leading our Mai Po team to establish it as a key demonstration site of wetland conservation along the East Asian Australasian Flyway.
Lew’s work with WWF Hong Kong , Ramsar and EAAFP Secretariat has influenced and brought together people from different backgrounds to work tirelessly for wetland conservation. As a member of the Asian Waterbirds Conservation Fund committee, Lew has helped us identify sites of importance for migratory waterbirds and their wetland habitats across the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, that we have then supported with grants and expertise for conservation work.
Lew was highly respected figure throughout the wetland conservation community. Your husband has left a legacy that  will live on in the wonderful things he did.  He touched many lives and inspired all those who he came in contact with. We honour his beautiful life and dedication to conservation.
With deepest sympathy,
Edward M Ho
Chairman, WWF-Hong Kong

Manager at Mai Po Nature Reserve

March 19, 2019

“Oh no, one of the good guys…” as a mutual friend said of Lew when hearing the news.

I remember Lew in his years as  Reserve Manager at Mai Po Nature Reserve, Hong Kong.  He was always out and about on the Reserve - never a man to hide in his office. I know he had the respect of the birdwatchers of those days, and I’m certain of his colleagues and staff, too.

I was posted to Lok Ma Chau Police Station at the time, and when there were issues of mutual concern he was always calm and approachable. 

We “twitched” Hong Kong’s first White-browed Crake (at Mai Po) together in April 1991. I remember, at first light, peering at the mud at the base of some reeds, near the Border Fence at Gate 103. The Crake popped out of cover for a short walk - success ! A shared great start to another working day.

Unfortunately, we didn't see much of him after he went to work in Geneva in 2008, but that's how things work out.

His untimely death will be a loss to his profession, but an even harder loss for his family, and our thoughts are with them.

Jemi and I extend our condolences to Deborah, Naomi and Cenny.

Farewell to a wonderful friend and colleague

March 19, 2019

Personally, I was so lucky to have Lew as a colleague for 20+ years, starting from our shared connection with and interest in Wetland Centres. My very first meeting with Lew was in 2005 during a week-long visit to Mai Po Marshes. Everything about that trip was inspiring. My favourite memory is Lew in the small kitchen of the Mai Po Training Centre preparing prawns for dinner which had been pulled from the wetlands only hours before. Through all the years working with Lew in Ramsar he was a continuing inspiration. His wonderful ability to listen, to always appreciate the context and to put himself on the same plane as others won him a worldwide fan club. He had an amazing ability to bring people along. Everyone loved and admired him. He has left a huge hole in the wetland conservation field but he has left his fingerprints in many, many places around the world. We will miss him.

Christine Prietto, Hunter Wetlands Centre

Ramsar CEPA NGO Focal Point, Australia

March 19, 2019



永遠懷念你。                      June Cha

March 13, 2019

Lew 哥哥,姑丈。







我衷心祝福您在天國一切安好,後人能夠達成你保育的使命。也希望細姑姐,Omi, Cennydd ,生活過得開心快樂,一切安心順意。

March 13, 2019

My story about Lew will be a little different to most.  I first met Lew in September 2006 when we joined Flying Kukris RFC and he was coaching my eldest son Neal in the Under 8 age group.  After I had spent several Sundays standing on the side line watching and chatting with other parents, Lew approached me as he intended to enter two Under 8 teams in the upcoming Sandy Bay mini rugby festival (in November 2006) and asked if I would coach one of them.  We continued coaching together until the end of the 2007/8 season at which point he moved to Geneva.  I have nothing but happy memories of the two seasons when I coached alongside Lew.  I continued to coach Lew’s son Cenny until the end of the 2008/9 season at which point he, Deborah and Omi also moved to Geneva to join Lew.  I am still involved with coaching at Flying Kukris to this day and it’s all thanks to Lew.

World Wetland Network remember Lew

March 12, 2019

I am shedding a tear as I type, so sad at Lew’s passing. Lew worked passionately for wetland and shorebird conservation globally, and especially in Asia and Oceania. He was a friendly and approachable colleague with a wry sense of humour, always generous with his expert advice and support. There will be so many people Lew connected with who will be very sorry to lose him. Our sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues - we will miss him!

Louise Duff, Chair WWN,  Australia

Lew has always given us great advice, made time despite his busy schedule and had enormous patience, as well as a wicked sense of humour. He was a supreme diplomat, able to bring partners together and find solutions that enabled good decisions to be taken and projects to be delivered. We will miss him immensely, but his legacy lives on in his incredible achievements for wetland conservation, and he will always be an inspiration to us. With great sadness at his passing, but also great joy that we had the privilege of working with him.

Lew, you continue to be an inspiration for us all.

Chris Rostron, Deputy Chair WWN, United Kingdom

I feel it is important to spread the sad news of Lew’s passing to honour his memory. Most of us might have known Lew Young as the former Senior Advisor for Asia-Oceania at the Ramsar Convention secretariat. Such a great loss.

Jacky Judas, PhD, WWN Middle-East Sub-regional Representative, UAE

I am hit strongly with the death of Lew and have no words for this sad news. Since we met in Kushiro in 1994, he was one of the best supporters for us small NGOs, at that time as WWF-HK director, and all through his work at Ramsar and EAAFP.  He took time to meet with me, gave advice in support of works of Local NGOs and WWN. Peace,

Minoru Kashiwagi, WWN Asia Representative, Japan

Lew was a great champion for wetlands and nature. We have lost such as kind and passionate person. May the memories of his wonderful personality and many contributions be celebrated. 

Elise Allély-Fermé, Lead – Ramsar Youth Engagement Thematic Group

Huge loss! Lew had done great jobs in Asia and Oceania region for wetlands and migratory birds’ conservation.

Pyae Phyo Aung, WWN Sub-regional Representative, Myanmar

Let’s pray for peace spaces for his spirit in Heaven. We miss him and contribution for Wetland Biodiversity conservation. We have big responsibilities to continue his contribution and let’s take collective action for better conservation and sustainable use

Kamal Rai, WWN Sub-Regional Representative - Nepal

Accept our condolences. It is really an unparalleled tragedy and loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Chi Napoleon Forpah , WWN Sub-regional Representative - Cameroon

Truly a great loss. In his role as our regional Ramsar rep I recall his polite, respectful and inclusive manner in addition to his considerable scientific knowledge.  It was a privilege to have worked with him. Very sad for his family and the wetland conservation community.  I was in a beautiful wetland when I received the news, which gave me pause to contemplate his lifelong contribution to wetlands.

Karen Denyer, WWN Sub-regional Representative New Zealand

Sad news!... Lew was instrumental in our on the ground conservation actions for Fiji's first Ramsar site - the Upper Navua Conservation Area. My sincerest condolences to his family. We shall miss his sound advice. Rest in peace Lew.

Nunia Thomas, WWN Sub-regional Representative – Fiji

It is very sad to learn of Lew Young passing. Hope his loved ones finds comfort in the moments they enjoyed together. Wishing much wisdom and peace to all. 

Rafaela Nicola, WWN Sub-regional Representative Brazil

I simply have no words. Thank you for letting us know. The flyway has lost a hero and the world a wonderful person. My thoughts are with the secretariat and with everyone who shared a lifetime of passion for waterbirds and wetlands in the EAAF.

Eduardo Gallo-CajiaoFuller Lab, University of Queensland

Our Family Friend and Mentor

March 11, 2019

一晚睡得不安稳,爱人不敢相信几周前才通过电话,几个月前才一起吃饭的朋友就这么走了,突然就心脏病发。爱人神色黯然,我们都静默不语,不知道该说什么。那个温润如玉,真诚的兄长一般的朋友,陨落得如流星[流泪]。我想我是先見到Lew 的,中英混血,一口流利粤语的“鬼佬”。2003年米埔湿地的培训班,作为米埔湿地的经理,习惯性谦恭的和每个学员共进早餐,亲切的聊几句。他坐在我身边,问我的名字,从哪儿来,一双温和的蓝眼睛望进人的心底,搞湿地保护的博士居然如此风度翩翩儒雅,好难得。再见是和老公确定了关系,开始在香港居住读书。老公说Lew Young是唯一一个认真回复了他职位申请的人,那时老公还在非洲的丛林里照顾猩猩,一通电话,彻底改变了他之后十多年的命运。来到香港,对人生地不熟的一个英国小子,Lew 甚是关照,时不时周末带着老公熟悉香港,吃巷子里隐世的风味小吃,于是等我去到香港,听到最多的就是: Lew 带我来的。为欢迎老公终于找到女朋友,Lew Young 一家还特地约我们去香港一处知名的郊野胜地鹿颈行山。一家四口,可爱的两个娃,相濡以沫的妻子,婚姻家庭幸福的样儿就是这样。Lew 十年前携家离开香港,但是依然奋战在他热爱的湿地水鸟保育第一线,和老公更是从上下级变成亲密的战友朋友,事业上互相扶持,生活上不时关心,交换做父亲的心得。只要是经过香港,必然留时间和我们见面,看看孩子,吃吃饭,聊个天。爱人的工作关系,两人也时常联系见面,总能听老公提起Lew 和一家的近况,从未觉得远离。噩耗传来,点点滴滴,彷如昨日,眼前的还是那个温润如玉总是微笑的兄长,RIP Lew!

My husband kept silent and he didn't have much sleep since we received the shocking news of Lew's unexpected passing. A few months ago he went to Korea, Lew and his wife showed him around and they had a meal together. A few weeks ago they talked over the phone and joked about Lew's long-term retirement plan of coming back to UK. He is gone, like a shooting star!
I think I knew Lew before my husband became his colleague. It was January 2004 in the dining room of Peter Scott Field Studies Centre during the Mai Po Wetland Training Course. Lew kept a habit of having breakfast with the participants of each training course for years. Humble and modest as usual, he sat by me asking me where I was from, my name and lots more with a pair of gentle soft bluish eyes. A person with such charism was to me at that time, unusual among the conservationists.
We met again in 2006 when I met Bena and went to Hong Kong to further my studies. Bena told me Lew was the only serious respondent to his application and contacted him when he was still tracking monkeys in the middle of the West African jungle. One phone call completely changed his life in the following decade. Lew was such a down-to-earth, warm person. To help Bena settle down and feel more at home, Lew took his spare time on weekends or after-work hours to show Bena around and introduced him to all the local delicacies hidden in small lanes which were later introduced to me when I became Bena's girlfriend. The phrase I heard most from Bena was 'Lew brought me here’. I still remember the hiking we did with Lew’s family at Luk Keng when I came to settle in Hong Kong in October 2006. At that time, Naomi and Cenny were still small. I looked at them, a loving and happy family of four, picturing my future one.
Then Lew moved with the whole family to Switzerland for his new post in RAMSAR. He and Bena became more than just ex-colleagues; close friends and workmates on lots of flyway projects, supporting each other and sharing family stories. Whenever Lew passed through Hong Kong, he always spared time to meet us and little Lochlann. We kept in such close contact like a family and never felt apart. He will live in our hearts forever as an eternal light guiding and shining over my husband, me, Lochlann and little Eleanor. RIP Lew and our deepest condolences to Deborah, Naomi and Cenny.
March 10, 2019

Thanks for giving me the first bird watching lesson decades ago in HKU. Lew, you will be remembered and missed!

March 10, 2019

Hero of Mai Po, your effort influences thousands of people to conserve Mai Po. Thank you! 

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