Photograph by Mark Thiessen
The National Geographic Society is currently soliciting nominations for the 2014 Buffett Award for Leadership in Latin American Conservation. This award honors the unsung heroes of conservation by celebrating the recipient’s past achievements and supporting ongoing work in conserving nature or culture in Latin America. The award includes a $25,000 grant.
In 2013 the award was given to Alberto Yanosky for promoting biodiversity conservation through Guyra Paraguay, one of the strongest civil-society organizations in Latin America.
Yanosky developed one of the few voluntary market REDD+ projects in Latin America with major private investment; built the capacity of Paraguay’s research and conservation community; conserved lands in Dry Chaco, Chaco-Pantanal, and Atlantic Forest; and developed the socio-environmental condominium, in which lands claimed by indigenous people and important for biodiversity are purchased jointly with Guyra Paraguay and designated for perpetual sustainable use.
In 2012 the award was given to Pati Ruiz Corzo, founder of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG), a grassroots organization aimed at preserving the Mexico’s Sierra Gorda bioregion from unregulated development. GESG has set the standard for “conservation economy,” establishing a new paradigm in natural protected area management with widespread local community participation. Thanks largely to GESG and Ruiz Corzo, the Sierra Gorda - comprising a third of Mexico’s Queretaro State and considered one of Mexico’s most diverse ecosystems - is now a UNESCO and federal Biosphere Reserve and the largest federal protected area with participatory management in the world.
In 2011 the award was given to Moi Enomenga for his work to protect and defend the traditional culture and land of his Huarani Nation in Ecuadorian Amazon’s Yasuni National Park. Enomenga developed the Huaorani Ecolodge, a sustainable tourism project in his Quehueri’ono community, as a means to strengthen traditional culture and generate employment; worked tirelessly to establish the 55,000 hectare Yame Forest Reserve; and demonstrated how conservation, support for local cultures, and ecotourism are critical to preserving the Amazonian forest.
The award was established in 2005 through a generous gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Mr. Buffett is a farmer, businessman, conservationist and photographer. He serves on the NGS Council of Advisors and in 2007 was named Ambassador Against Hunger by the UN World Food Program.
Recipients of the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award are chosen from nominations submitted to National Geographic. After nominations are screened by advisors and other experts in conservation, a selection of names is forwarded to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation for review. Final selection is made by National Geographic.
To submit a nomination, please complete a nomination form including a description of achievements that merit the award. Be sure to include details of the nominee’s conservation successes in the face of unique challenges. Please return the form by January 15, 2014 to Dr. Catherine Workman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The award will be presented at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. in summer 2014.
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