Julie Johnstone (nee Church) was born in Nairobi and is one of the world’s experts on coral fish. She has dedicated her career to the ocean and its issues over the past 15 years.
Born and brought up in Kenya visiting the coast, going on safaris and riding and hiking on the family farm in the Rift Valley, Julie developed a love for the natural environment. She followed this passion became a marine conservationist and recently established a socio-eco recycling enterprise producing and trading in household goods, accessories and childrens products made from washed up flipflops and other discarded rubbers and plastics including plastic bags and inner-tubing.
Julie completed her studies with a Masters in Environmental Science at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Then she began working as a coral monitor assistant for the Tanga Development Conservation Programme, Tanzania and science coordinator for Coral Cay Conservation in Indonesia.
This experience provided her with some of the skills to coordinate the joint Kenya Wildlife Service and World Wide Fund Conservation and Development Kiunga Marine National Reserve project, Lamu District, north coast of Kenya. She led the project for 6.5 years developing the sea turtle and dugong conservation program, leading coral reef fish studies, initiating small business enterprises with the women and children using washed up flip-flops and encouraging health and education initiatives.
Since 2004, Julie has diversified her skills. She has been involved in coordinating a regional marine project managed by the World Conservation Union; one of the founder trustees of Kibodo Trust (for the Kiunga Marine, Boni and Dodori National Reserves, North Coast of Kenya) established UniquEco Designs Ltd (socio-eco initiative) to promote the production and marketing of handmade goods from recycled plastics and rubber; led marine based training courses in conservation in Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and the Seychelles and coordinated research on coral reefs. Julie has also committed herself to the Rhino Charge since February 2004. She believes in its cause, enjoys the charge and rises to the challenges.