World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has announced the recipients of The 2015 Russell E. Train Fellowship. As part of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN), Train Fellowships provide funding to rising conservation leaders to pursue graduate degree studies in conservation-related fields anywhere in the world and conduct research in their home countries.
“Building a critical mass of conservation leaders around the world is absolutely essential,” Andrea Santy, Director of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program, told The Source. “To preserve and protect the world’s most biologically important places we need committed, well-trained individuals, at all levels that are capable of fully engaging in the management of their country’s natural resources. There is currently a significant imbalance in the generation of new scientific data and research by individuals from developed countries versus individuals from the Global South.”
To address this, WWF invests more than US$1 million a year in education and training through the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program to support conservationists from Africa, Asia, and Latin America to pursue degrees and attend short-term training courses anywhere in the world. But supply far exceeds demand, and unfortunately only ten percent of individuals that apply to WWF receive funding.
This year’s 24 recipients were selected through a competitive, merit-based process from a pool of 200 applicants. An independent, interdisciplinary panel of external experts evaluated applicants on the potential impact of their proposed research, professional and academic qualifications, demonstrated leadership in their community, and commitment to contribute to conservation in their home countries.
THERE IS CURRENTLY A SIGNIFICANT IMBALANCE IN THE GENERATION OF NEW SCIENTIFIC DATA AND RESEARCH BY INDIVIDUALS FROM DEVELOPED COUNTRIES VERSUS INDIVIDUALS FROM THE GLOBAL SOUTH
“With a graduate degree in hand, many Train Fellows go on to assume leadership roles in conservation in their home countries,” added Santy. “In Mexico, Judith Morales earned a master’s in integrated watershed management to understand the interconnectivity of fresh water and marine systems. After finishing her studies, she helped regional stakeholders and local authorities develop a regional vision for conservation of water resources and ecosystems resulting in the creation of the Tulum Watershed Council and the protection of the second largest underground river systems of the world.”
WWF has six overarching conservation goals focused on wildlife, forests, oceans, food, climate and fresh water.