Speakers

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Cecilia Montauban Bats & Tech: Hidden Nocturnal Wonders

There is a hidden world out there that few people get to explore. At night, pristine
natural habitats and cities alike become alive with nocturnal creatures that reveal
some of the coolest adaptations and life forms on earth.


For the past five years I've dedicated my life to studying and conserving bats. This
has taken me on the wildest adventures of my life in places like the Peruvian
Amazon rainforest, the savannahs of Kenya, miombo woodlands of Zambia,
underground hot caves of Cuba and the wild meadows of Romania. As a bat
biologist, you get to explore these places after sunset when the nocturnal world
awakens and even the smallest sounds are magnified around you. Studying bats
means delving into a constantly evolving realm of wildlife technology and tools that
help us uncover the lives of these fantastic mammals even in complete darkness.

 

Join me to explore the wonderful world of bats. What can acoustic detectors,
cameras, tracking technologies and thermal imaging show us about these unique
nocturnal fliers?

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Purnima Devi Barman | A Female Led Community Conservation Movement: Saving the Endangered Greater Adjutant Stork by Changing Perceptions  and Empowering Women in Assam, India

 

Dr. Purnima Devi Barman globally known as Stork Sister and locally as hargila baido (Stork Sister)  is a conservation biologist with the NGO, Aaranyak, in Assam, India. She is a founder of all rural women army group called Hargila Army with 400 front leaders and comprising of 10,000 women members in villages in Assam. Purnima is the recipient of the Whitley Award 2017/Green Oscar 2017 for her crusading conservation movement to protect the highly endangered Greater Adjutant Stork locally called as hargila. Dr. Purnima has been conferred with Nari Shakti Purashkar by the President of India which is the highest civilian award for Indian women. She has been tirelessly working with communities and researching the storks for the last 15 years. Purnima was also awarded several other distinguished awards, including the UNDP India biodiversity Award 2016 from United Nations. 

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KM Reyes | Rainforests:  More Than Biodiversity

 

Rainforests are much more than exotic and wondrous fauna and flora, they are the ancestral domain of Indigenous Peoples who have safeguarded them since time immemorial.  Learn about this through our experiences in the Philippines, and what you can do to elevate Indigenous Peoples at the global level!

 

KM Reyes is a conservation lobbyist, National Geographic Explorer, and Co-Founder of the Centre for Sustainability PH.  CS is a women-led, youth, environmental non-profit from the Philippines working to conserve her country's last remaining 3% of pristine rainforest through legal establishment of national parks.

John Flynn | Can we Save the Sea Turtles of Ghana?

Coming originally from a background of marketing and graphic design and for some time as a helicopter pilot, John has spent over the last decade of his life building his experience throughout Africa, India, Asia, and Greece in marine wildlife conservation. During these years, he acquired a diploma in marine biology and gained experience in both advocacy and direct action sea turtle conservation and practical rehabilitation of injured turtles.

In 2011, he and his colleague, Neil Davis, founded Wildseas in Ghana and assembled and trained a team of local people in sea turtle conservation. Through its Safe Release Program, Wildseas has garnered the cooperation of fishermen to ensure by-catch turtles are released alive instead of being sold or consumed as had traditionally been the case with many of the artisanal fisherfolk. Through this program, John’s team has helped rescue, tag, and release over 1500 turtles to date. John and his team take a multidisciplinary approach to conservation by working to educate artisanal fishermen who form the backbone of the program, local communities, youth, and government officials.

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Celine Gamble | Restoring the UKs forgotten Oyster Reefs

 

Celine is a Project Manager at the Zoological Society of London and Visiting Researcher of the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Marine Sciences.

With oysters most commonly associated with being served on a seafood restaurant with a glass of champagne, the ecosystem services that healthy oyster reefs provide are often overlooked or simply unheard of. European native oyster populations have declined by over 95% over the past 150 years, with this vast decline a habitat that was once abundant in the UK is becoming lost from living memory. This presentation showcases some of the oyster restoration efforts taking place in the UK to restore this incredible marine habitat.

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Callie Broaddus | Reserva Youth Land Trust

 

Callie Broaddus is the Executive Director of Reserva: The Youth Land Trust, an organization bridging the gap between youth activism and biodiversity conservation, launching an ambitious initiative to create the world’s first entirely youth-funded nature reserve in Ecuador’s Chocó cloud forest. She is a photographer, youth leader, and lifelong conservationist. This fast-paced talk will run through the benefits and challenges of involving youth directly in land conservation and exploration, and why it's so worth the effort.

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R. Isai Madriz | Six-Legged Jewels of Patagonia

Isaí Madriz is an entomologist and zoologist with expertise in freshwater aquatic insects of Patagonia. As a Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow, he is telling the story of deglaciation of the Northern Patagonia Ice Field, focusing on its vanishing aquatic insect diversity through images and stories of exploration, science, and human connections. He combines hiking, bike packing, and pack rafting to transect unexplored areas and secluded fjords in search of some of the rarest insects on the planet. This low-carbon-footprint approach uses renewable energy sources to capture never-before-seen footage of remote glacial outlets and hidden valleys of wild Patagonia. 

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Shafqat Hussain | Protecting Snow Leopard with Community Participation  

I will be presenting about Project Snow Leopard (now Baltistan Wildlife Conservation and Development Organization or BWCDO) which is a community-based snow leopard conservation program in Pakistan. The project has been running for the last twenty years and it promotes conservation based on the idea of coexistence. There are three main components of the project. The first and the main component is a livestock insurance program whereby the farmers buy insurance for their livestock against snow leopard predation. Farmers pay a small premium per head of livestock, and when they lose livestock to snow leopard preda­tion, they are compensated. This ongoing project is based on the simple assumption that farmers are not irrational beings who take pleasure in kill­ing snow leopards, but rather that killing snow leopards is the most efficient and logical recourse farmers have for dealing with the threat snow leopards pose to their livelihoods. The second component is construction of predator-proof corrals to recue incidences of heavy losses due to corral invasion. The third component is snow leopard population and diet monitoring. Our latest study shows that about one third of snow leopard diet in our area consists of domestic livestock.  

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Andrew Digby | Intense Conservation: Saving the Kākāpō

The kākāpō is one of the world's weirdest birds  - and one of the rarest and most intensively managed. Assisted by a dedicated team using advanced remote sensing technology, the population has increased from a low of 51 in 1995 to over 200 today. Yet this _taonga_ (treasured species) still faces severe challenges: disease, infertility, and an urgent need for new habitat. The process of transitioning kākāpō conservation from rescue from extinction to long-term, sustainable recovery provides important lessons for many threatened species. 

Andrew Digby is a former astrophysicist turned conservation biologist. As the Science Advisor for the Kākāpō Recovery Programme, he is responsible for coordinating the science which provides  the foundation for the recovery effort. 

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Joe Cutler | The Ogooue Megatransect - Exploring Africa's Last Wild River

National Geographic Explorer Joe Cutler will share stories from his recent expedition, the Ogooue Megatransect, where he and his team rafted 1000 kilometers across Gabon on Africa's 4th largest river. Joe has a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has been studying central African freshwater ecosystems for nearly a decade. 

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Benoit Goossens | Striving Towards Sustainability in the Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain: Environmental Protection and Conservation in Action

Benoît is the Director of the Danau Girang Field Centre in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, a research and training facility co-managed by Sabah Wildlife Department and Cardiff University, where he leads projects on biodiversity responses to habitat fragmentation and degradation. Benoit is also a Professor at Cardiff University and a member of the IUCN SSC’s Asian Wild Cattle, Crocodile, Asian Elephant and Primate Specialist Groups. 

 

In this presentation, I will describe how our research at the Danau Girang Field Centre led to detailed understanding of forest use by endangered animals in Sabah, Malaysia, and provided critical evidence for implementation of new approaches designed to provide enhanced protection for the Bornean elephant, Bornean banteng, proboscis monkey and Sunda clouded leopard.

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Krithi Karanth | Rewilding India: Transforming Human-Wildlife Interactions through
Mitigation, Compensation and Education

India is a high wildlife and high conflict country, with ~ 100,000 incidents of conflict being reported. I will share how our award-winning conservation programs Wild Seve, Wild Shaale and Wild Surakshe are transforming human-wildlife interactions in the Western Ghats. Wild Seve is designed to build tolerance towards wildlife and reduce incidences of human-wildlife conflict such as crop loss, livestock depredation, property damage, and human injury/death for people around parks. Since Wild Seve's initiation in 2015, we have helped people from 600 villages file almost 18,000 claims.

 

Launched in 2018, Wild Shaale aims to increase their environmental literacy, inculcate their interest in and foster tolerance towards wildlife and wild places in rural children living around parks. In 18 months, the program reached more than 20,000 kids and 407 schools near eight wildlife reserves in India. In 2020, we launched Wild Surakshe, our public health and safety program which engages with frontline government department staff, grassroots community organisations, and leaders to understand and cope with zoonotic diseases and human-wildlife conflict. Participants learn about public health and safety as well as coping with situations. Till date, we have implemented 150 workshops and interacted with > 4000 people from several organizations. Together these large scale programs have created multiple ways in which we have enabled communities to cope with losses, protect their lives and livelihoods and inspired people to coexist with wildlife.

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Wong Siew Te | Novel Approaches for Sun Bear Conservation in Borneo

​I am the Founder and CEO of Bornean Sun Bear Consrvation Centre. I have been studying and working on the sun bear conservation issues for the past 23 years. I will be talking about the biology and conservation issue of sun bears and how are we going to save them from extinction.

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Paige Strudwick | Coral Propagation and Out-planting: What Does it Mean for the Microbiome of Corals on the Great Barrier Reef

Coral propagation and out-planting efforts are growing worldwide including on the Great Barrier Reef, to increase coral cover at degraded sites and to expedite natural reef recovery. I will talk about how microbes are integral for coral health and their role in the active management of coral reefs.

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Isabel Castro | Kiwi a Weird, Wonderful and Endangered Ornithological Relict

Kiwi birds evolved in an island environment where terrestrial mammals were not present in any numbers until about a 1000 years ago when the first humans arrived. Their existence and evolution therefore followed a very different path to birds, including their relatives, in other parts of the world. The arrival of mammals in Aotearoa New Zealand marked the decline and extinction of kiwi species with five surviving to date but dwindling in numbers. I have been lucky to study this amazing species for the last 22 years, and I will summarise some of the most intriguing and extraordinary findings my team have made on their biology. Part of my team consists of Aotearoa New Zealand native people’s (the Māori) and their contribution to the conservation of this taonga (precious) species will be another component of my presentation.

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Jonah Ratsimbazafy | Let’s Save Our Cousins (nonhuman primates) From the Brink of Extinction

​I am the President of the Madagascar Nonhuman Primate Group, the new elected President of the International Primatological Society (IPS) and the Vice co-chair of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group for Madagascar.

Primates are among the most threatened mammals in the world because of the loss of their habitats and hunting, whereas they play crucial roles as seed dispersers and/or pollinators of several endemic threatened plant species. Primate watching may also tremendously improve the livelihoods of the local communities. Therefore, we have to save them altogether before it is too late.

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Indah Rufiati | Catalysing Community-based Marine Conservation in Indonesia

Growing up in the largest archipelagic country in the world, Indah has always been obsessed with the sea that unites Indonesia. She studied fisheries science in Java’s Universitas Gadjah Mada and continued her studies in environmental science in Bali’s Universitas Udayana, focusing on coastal studies. For the last eight years Indah dedicated her career to working with small-scale fishing communities across Indonesia, from Sumatra to Papua. As Fisheries Lead with Blue Ventures, Indah works alongside communities providing technical assistance in fisheries monitoring and management. Indah is also an artist, her love of the marine environment inspires her paintings. 

 

She focuses on developing strategic partnerships with fishers, government, NGOs and increasing the sustainability of small-scale fisheries in Indonesia.

Indah’s work currently focuses on supporting small-scale fishing communities to secure their marine tenure rights, as a foundation for locally led management and conservation in eastern Indonesia. This work includes revitalising traditional fisheries management practices, and working with the government to safeguard these customary institutions. Indah will discuss how a new approach to marine management  is helping empower and inspire some of Indonesia’s most vulnerable coastal communities to take steps to rebuild their fisheries.

Rolph Payet | Making Visible the Invisible: Addressing the Drivers of Biodiversity Loss

​Rolph Payet was appointed as Executive Secretary for the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat in October 2014. He was previously Minister of Environment and Energy, and in 2008 founded the first University in Seychelles, where he also served as its first President and Vice-Chancellor. 

Pollution is one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss. Chemicals and wastes are ubiquitous in the environment and found all over the globe, they are “invisible” yet they are part of our daily lives.  Their global production as well as the distribution of chemicals-based products continues to increase. The Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm and conventions address some of the most significant chemicals and waste pollution that has been identified over the last several decades and are thus contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

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Giovanni Chimienti | When Corals Create Forests: Tales From the Mediterranean Sea

Certain corals do not have a rigid, calcareous skeleton and do not form coral reefs. The so-called sea fans and black corals, for example, can grow up to 1 m in height, showing a peculiar arborescent shape. Under proper conditions, these three-like corals can be present in large populations, forming true coral forests underwater.

At temperate latitudes, where coral reefs are not present, coral forests play a key-role as marine habitat particularly in the twilight zone, generally below 50 m depth, where the light decreases consistently. They represent a true biodiversity oasis, where a lot of marine species find shelter, food and a place feasible for their reproduction. I’ve been experiencing in person how beautiful and diverse the Mediterranean can be: a small basin compared to the vastness of the ocean, but a true biodiversity hot-spot full of colorful and astonishing forms of life. Coral forests represent one of the deep, beating hearts of the basin, supporting a lush marine life and a series of ecosystems goods and services. 

 

After the finding of a wonderful black coral forest, I am currently working with managers to protect this habitat against destructive fishing. This led me to the finding of other coral habitats all over the basin, but something worse than fishing is treating them: global warming. We are experiencing a dramatic mortality event of corals at temperate latitudes and there is no protected area that could help. The only hope is a change in the way we live.

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Tim Gordon | Songs of the Sea

Discover a new world with marine biologist Dr Tim Gordon, whose research focuses on the bizarre and enchanting realm of underwater bioacoustics. His work has taken him from the Arctic Ocean to the Great Barrier Reef, recording the amazing sounds made by whales, dolphins, fish and even shrimps. Most recently, he is developing ways of using our new knowledge of underwater sound to monitor and help restore tropical coral reefs.

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Finance for Biodiversity | Celebrating New Signatories Finance for Biodiversity Pledge

During this session we will be celebrating the new financial institutions that will be joining the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge. Philippe Zaouati, the CEO of asset manager Mirova, will welcome the new signatories, and then representatives from two financial institutions will explain why biodiversity is so important for the finance sector and why their company has signed the Pledge.

Currently, 37 financial institutions from around the globe have signed the Pledge and called on world leaders to reverse nature loss this decade. They have also committed to working together, engaging, assessing their own biodiversity impact, setting targets and reporting on biodiversity matters in relation to their own investment and financing activities by 2024 at the latest.

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David de Rothschild | Rewild Yourself

How do we reset our relationship with Nature and ourselves!

David de Rothschild's adventurous spirit, passion, and commitment to action have sent him to some of the world's most remote and fragile regions in order to bring widespread media attention and, moreover, solutions to urgent global environmental issues. In the summer of 2010, de Rothschild embarked on his most challenging and high-profile adventure yet, the Plastiki. The Plastiki set sail on an ocean adventure over 8,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Sydney. The Plastiki was no ordinary vessel. The 60-foot catamaran was built from approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and a unique recyclable technology called Seretex. This distinctive, one-of-a-kind construction demonstrated that the list of solutions available is far greater than the list of problems. The Plastiki created a platform to fuel conversation and shift public thinking and perception from plastic as the enemy to plastic becoming part of the solution. The mission: to beat waste. The adventure set the stage for a historic expedition and delivered a spectacular global "message in a bottle."

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James Thornton | Law to Save the Planet

It’s up to us to save civilisation. I use law—a thrillingly powerful tool. Used creatively, law
lets you set the rules of the game. And hold governments and companies to account.
My rule of thumb about what we need to do is this trinity : reduce, protect, restore. Reduceemissions. Protect nature. Restore nature. Here’s how we go about it at ClientEarth, the environmental law group I started in the UK in 2008, which now has gone global.

 

Reduce emissions. We stop coal fired powerplants, public enemy number one when it comes to climate. We prevent new ones and shut down old ones. Money then flows to renewables. We’ve stopped a generation of coal plants in Europe. Now we’re working on this in China and Southeast Asia.


Protect nature. Natural systems are under threat even in Europe. We’ve helped save the
Bialowieza Forest, Europe’s greatest. Working with citizen groups across the spectrum, we stopped illegal cutting, and we’re protecting the rare forest bison. We need to protect
people too. From air pollution, toxic chemicals, plastic. We’ve won dozens of cases that help protect people. We’ve also trained Chinese judges and prosecutors, who have initiated more than 200,000 environmental protection cases.


Restore nature. The Convention on Biological Diversity will be rewritten later this year at
COP15 in China. It could become the world’s most effective nature law. We are working hard to make sure it will do its job. So it will be visionary and strong. And be enforceable.

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Céline Cousteau | Interconnected - You and the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari, Amazon

​As an activist, filmmaker, author, and creator Céline Cousteau focuses on highlighting the interconnectivity between humans and Nature by leveraging the power of storytelling and collaboration through documentaries, jewelry and sculpture designing, consulting with corporations and foundations, public speaking, and co-creating AR/VR content. Her talk focuses on lives of the Indigenous Peoples of the Vale do Javari in the Brazilian Amazon who asked Céline to tell the world their story. Céline takes us on a journey to the Amazon and back to our homes revealing the common threads between their existence and ours.

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Irene Margareth R. Pinondang | The Return of Corina: Tigress of The Peatland

I am a wildcats conservation practitioner from Indonesia and have worked in this field for seven years. Currently I am pursuing my PhD with Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, Defaunation Hub, University of Kent, UK.

My talk is about Corina, a female tiger that found snared and released into the wild. Here I will present snared consequences to tigers, the release process and why we returned Corina into her initial habitat.

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Mark Rose | Our One Home: Five Breakthroughs to Protect and Restore Nature

Mark has held the role of CEO for over 25 years. During that time he has been instrumental in transforming Fauna & Flora International from an organisation with a handful of active projects into a multifaceted global conservation charity with a work programme comprising more than 100 projects in over 40 countries. He has spearheaded the establishment of innovative corporate partnerships that encourage big business to put biodiversity at the heart of the strategic planning process and developed numerous successful sustainable business initiatives in support of species and landscape conservation. Mark has been a driving force behind the establishment of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and leading, internationally focused biodiversity conservation organisations based in and around the city.

Mark is a zoologist with extensive field experience, gained predominantly in remote parts of Africa and Asia-Pacific.

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Debbie Winton | Plastic Pollution – An Untold Threat to Freshwater Biodiversity

Plastic production and pollution have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, waste disposal systems have been overwhelmed and there has been extensive plastic leakage to the environment. In 2019 our study, Plastic Rivers, identified the top ten consumer plastic items most commonly found in freshwater environments. This led to development of a citizen science research programme, RiverWatch: Plastic Pollution, through which members of the public are painting a picture of plastic pollution in river catchments across the UK. They record litter found in 5m2 of riverbank and feed results into a national database that will help us identify sources of plastic pollution and find hotspots of littering. This talk will discuss the aims and potential impact of this research for protecting freshwater biodiversity.

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Marco Lambertini | Nature Positive by 2030: A Global Goal for Nature

Marco Lambertini became Director General of WWF International in April 2014, to drive the achievement of the global conservation organization’s critical mission to save life on Earth and to lead the secretariat team based in Gland, Switzerland. With 35 years of conservation leadership, Marco Lambertini began his association with WWF as a youth volunteer growing up in his native Italy. 

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Gautam Shah | Games as the Future of Wildlife Storytelling

​Gautam, a National Geographic fellow, is the founder of Internet of Elephants, a social enterprise that tells stories about wildlife and its conservation through the channel of games and other digital experiences. Gautam will discuss the power of games as a storytelling medium and why he feels that they should be the future of how we engage the public with wildlife.

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Indira Dayang Lacerna-Widmann | Soaring High: the Plight and Success of Conserving the Philippine Cockatoo

The Katala Foundation, which Indira co-founded, uses endemic threatened species as flagships for community-based conservation to ensure species survive and ecosystems continue to provide services for dependent human populations. Indira will talk about their longest conservation program on the Philippine Cockatoo - its plight and the successes on the ground!

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John Scanlon AO | The Interconnected Nature of Things – Environment, Economy & Health

​I've worked across multiple continents, disciplines and organisations, including with African Parks, CITES, IUCN and the UN. I currently serve as the CEO of the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation, Chair of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime and Chair of the UK Government's IWT Challenge Fund. 

The world is still feeling the full brunt of a pandemic, which most likely had its origins in wildlife, we are advised that there are hundreds of thousands of new viruses that could spill over from wildlife to humans, we are struggling to combat climate change, and staring down the loss of a million species. These threats are all inter-related. 

 

Given the scale of the risks to people and the planet, we simply cannot stand by and watch wildlife continue to disappear without ratcheting up our collective response.

 

We can take coordinated actions now that will simultaneously avert the next wildlife-related pandemic, protect biodiversity, and combat climate change. These actions include reforming our international wildlife laws to make them fit for purpose in a post-COVID-19 world and scaling up our investment in wild places. 

 

I'll talk about how we must act boldly now to institutionalise the changes that are needed to our laws, funding and programmes to tackle multiple inter-related crises and pass on a healthy and prosperous planet to the next generation.

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Vreni Häussermann | Hidden Beauties - the Marine Animal Forests of Chilean Patagonia

​I have been studying the marine life of Chilean Patagonia since 1998, when my first expedition (together with my husband Günter Försterra) brought us to this beautiful place where the mountains meet the ocean. Since then, we have been exploring and inventorying the benthic organisms, of which (in some groups) 2/3 are still new to science. We have discovered cold-water coral banks and many other so-called marine animal forests, which are poorly known but already threatened. Intensive salmon farming brings lots of chemicals, antibiotics and nutrients in the semi-closed fjords, and we have been observing degradation and mass mortalities over the years.

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Dereck and Beverly Joubert | The Visual Extravagance of Biodiversity

Dereck and Beverly are award-winning filmmakers, National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and wildlife conservationists, who have been filming, researching and exploring in Africa for over 30 years.  Their mission is the conservation and understanding of the large predators and other key wildlife species that determine the course of all conservation in Africa. They are the founders of the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic, which currently funds 149 grants in 27 countries for the conservation of big cats.

The Jouberts have made over 25 films for National Geographic, published 11 books, half a dozen scientific papers, and have written many articles for the National Geographic Magazine. Beverly Joubert is also an acclaimed photographer and her international exhibitions have further helped to raise awareness for the plight of big cats across the world.

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Kehkashan Basu | Driving Change At The Grassroots: Protecting Our Mangrove Ecosystems

​Winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize, 20-year-old Kehkashan Basu is an iconic youth leader, global influencer, environmentalist, champion of women and children’s rights, TEDx speaker, Climate Reality Mentor, author, musician, peace and sustainability campaigner. A Forbes 30 Under 30 and the first-ever Winner of the Voices Youth Gorbachev-Schultz Legacy Award for her work on nuclear disarmament, Kehkashan is a United Nations Human Rights Champion, a National Geographic Young Explorer, a UN Habitat Young City Champion and the youngest ever Global Coordinator for the UN Environment Program’s Major Group for Children & Youth and one of Canada's Top25 Women of Influence. Kehkashan is the Founder-President of global social innovation enterprise Green Hope Foundation, that works at a grassroots level in 25 countries, empowering young people, especially those from vulnerable communities, in the sustainable development process and she has spoken at over 200 United Nations and other global fora across 25 countries. She is the youngest Trustee of the Parliament of the World's Religions, Council Lead of the Toronto-St. Paul's Constituency Youth Council, Canada and a UNCCD Land Hero and has tirelessly worked to amplify the voices of young people, women and girls, in decision-making processes.

The session will talk about the importance of mangroves in our ecosystems, citing Green Hope Foundation's work on protecting the world's largest mangrove forest as an example to provide concrete actions that people across the world can take to preserve this fragile ecosystem.

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Geir Nordeng | How to Address Global Challenges Through Music

​I currently work as orchestra director in the Arctic Philharmonic. Our model is quite unique as we are based in two cities, Bodø and Tromsø. Living inside the Arctic circle we are close to the visible consequences of climate changes. I met Paul Rose at a concert in Oslo, and we talked about the importance of communicating global issues via music.

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Live from the Russian Geographical Society

Speakers:

  • Vladimir Kolosov, Vice-president

  • Sergey Katikov, International Affairs Adviser to the President

  • Olga Lapina, International Affairs Coordinator

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Paul Rose | Pristine Seas

 

A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced science expedition leaders, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet. Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society, Paul is Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions. The Royal Geographical Society has awarded Paul the Ness Award and the Founders Gold Medal.

 

A broadcaster, published author and journalist, Rose presents BBC television programs on current affairs, science and the environment. He is Ambassador for the UN Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Paul was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for ten years and was awarded HM The Queen's Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he was awarded the US Polar Medal. A mountain in Antarctica is named after him.

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Osa Conservation | Obed Azofeifa: Green Farming - Conservation & Agriculture Collide

​Most people don't think of agriculture when they hear the word "conservation," but each is just as important as the other. Join Obed Asofeifa, Organic Farm Manager at Osa Conservation, on a journey to and through the conservation non-profit's regenerative farm. On the cusps of Costa Rica's ancient rainforest, Obed and the team work to restore degraded land and grow food in a healthy, sustainable and scalable model.

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Rodrigo Medellín | Bats and People

​Rodrigo has worked on the ecology and conservation of bats for over 40 years. Bats are not to blame for the current pandemic. Instead, they provide crucial services and benefits to us and to ecosystem functioning. Let's celebrate bats!!

Not a lot of people can say that their work has been documented in film and narrated by David Attenborough, but Rodrigo is on that list! The renowned Mexican mammalogist is an Explorer at Large with National Geographic and credited with saving the Tequila Bat from extinction. He's slogged through caves shin-deep in bat poop more times than he can count as he's worked on the ecology and conservation of bats for over 40 years. Join in and celebrate bats as he shares the crucial services and benefits bats provide to us and to ecosystem functioning.

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Ami Vitale | Extreme Conservation 

​Ami Vitale is a Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic writer, photographer and filmmaker. Her work focuses on the stories that show our deep connections to the natural world.  She will share incredible images and stories of hope, where against all odds, ambitious efforts have saved endangered species.

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Anand Varma | Exploring the Hidden Wonders of Our World

​I spent my childhood wandering through the woods of north Georgia, turning over logs and exploring creek beds looking for nature’s buried treasures. I learned from those adventures that the natural world is an endless source of surprise and mystery. I’m still on the hunt for new and delightful wonders, but now I bring a camera with the hope of sharing what I discover.

I’ve found photography to be just the right tool to help us notice those layers of complexity and beauty we tend to miss at first glance. I can’t help but feel if we just hold our breath and gaze a bit closer at what’s in front of us, we might just catch a glimpse of the secrets hiding in plain sight. I hope that with renewed attention to that complexity we so often overlook, perhaps we can build more respectful and resilient relationships to the natural world.

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Jill Heinerth | The Ocean Starts Beneath Your Feet

​Cave diving explorer Jill Heinerth illuminates the dark world of underwater caves in a way that reveals how all water is globally interconnected. She'll link caves in North America to the Sahara Desert through her unique viewpoint, swimming through the veins of Mother Earth.

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Rosamira Guillen | Proyecto Tití: Securing a Future for Cotton-top Tamarins and their Forest Home in Colombia

​Cotton-top tamarins are one-pound primates only found in northern Colombia and criticallen endangered due to deforestation and capture for the illegal pet trade. Proyecto Tití works to secure a long-term future for this charismatic primate conducting field research, protecting and restoring their forest home, and implementing education, awareness and income generating programs to reduce unsustainable use and exploitation of forest resources for subsistence.

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Paula Ehrlich | The Importance of Protecting Biodiversity

​“With the living world in desperate condition suffering steep declines in all levels of its diversity of life, only a major shift in moral reasoning, with greater commitment given to the rest of life, can meet this greatest challenge of the century.” - E.O. Wilson 

 

Paula Ehrlich, is President & CEO of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation and Co-Founder, Half-Earth Project®. Paula will share the ambition of the Half-Earth Project - to conserve half of Earth’s land and seas - to protect sufficient habitat to safeguard the bulk of biodiversity, and how we are identifying and mapping all life on Earth to ensure we leave no species behind.

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Pablo Borboroglu | Vote for Penguin Conservation!

​​I am the founder and President of the Global Penguin Society (GPS, www.globalpenguinsociety.org), an international science-based conservation coalition dedicated to the survival and protection of the world´s penguin species through science, habitat protection and conservation. I have spent 32 years in the field of marine conservation focusing on protected areas and seabird ecology, with special emphasis on penguins. My presentation shows why I dedicated my life to study and protect penguins. I will describe the features that make penguins particular vulnerable to the main threats they are facing: climate change, fisheries and pollution at sea, and human disturbance and introduced predators on land and how we are helping them to tackle these threats. Penguins can catalyze integrated ocean conservation allowing the protection of vast environments and many other species they coexist with. Finally, penguins are the perfect tool to inspire behavior changes in the international community while they help to garner political support to accomplish long-term conservation benefits. Vote for penguins, they will not disappoint you.

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Jamal Galves | Belize Manatee Conservation Project

Jamal has been passionate about manatee conservation since he was 11 years old, and later jumped at the opportunity to join manatee scientists at Sea to Shore Alliance to assist with manatee captures and health assessments. In his time at S2S he has risen in the ranks from Field Assistant to eventually become Program Coordinator for the Belize Manatee Conservation Program.

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Cristiana Castello-Branco | The Dark Side of Bob: Unraveling the World of Deep-sea Sponges

​Marine sponges are one of the most diverse and abundant organisms in communities on the bottom of the ocean. However, the greatest part of what we know about them has been accumulated by looking at coastal and continental shelf species. Knowledge on deep-sea species (occurring deeper than 200 m / 650 feet) is still scant, consequently leaving behind a sharper consciousness about the need for their conservation.

Sponges play a key role in the ecosystem, filter-feeding dissolved as well as particulate organic matter, thus coupling resources on the water column to the bottom of the ocean. They also play important roles in the global cycle of nitrogen and silicates, and are hosts to a multitude of associated fauna and flora, living inside or on top of them. For these and many other reasons, deep-sea sponges should be better known. We urgently need additional information on their biodiversity in general, and in particular, to figure which species stand out as important builders of complex three-dimensional structures in an environment where large and monotonous sedimentary plains predominate. Much remains to be done in order to allow us to understand all the ways in which sponges can provide the basis for ecological, bio-prospecting and conservation studies, so that future environmental management decisions can be taken on science-informed, solid ground.

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Kristine Tompkins | A Look at Tompkins Conservation

​Kristine Tompkins will be discussing the work done by her organization, Tompkins Conservation. We will do an interview with Kris and then take a look at what's happening at one of the field locations in Argentina.

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Andrew D. Corso | Antarctic Biodiversity - What is it, How is it Sampled, and is it Changing?

​Andrew, a PhD student with the Palmer Antarctica Long-Term Ecological Research (Palmer LTER) Program, is excited to talk to you about Antarctic organisms and their potential responses to climate change. He will cover crowd favorites, such as penguins and whales. However, he is especially eager to highlight less popular aspects of Antarctic biodiversity including white-blooded icefishes, sea angels, the "lions" of the terrestrial Antarctic ecosystem, and several other wonderful creatures!

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Daniel Kinka | Rewilding American Prairie Reserve

Daniel Kinka, Ph.D. is the Wildlife Restoration Manager for American Prairie Reserve. The mission of American Prairie is to create the largest nature reserve in the contiguous United States, a refuge for people and wildlife preserved forever as part of America’s heritage. Daniel will provide an overview of the project and describe efforts to preserve, conserve, and rewild a piece of the most imperiled and least protected biome on the planet, along the Missouri River in Northeastern Montana.

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Dracula Youth Reserve Power Hour

Five Youth Council members from Reserva: The Youth Land Trust will give a fast-paced introduction to Dracula Youth Reserve—the world's soon-to-be first entirely youth funded nature reserve in Ecuador's Chocó cloud forest. Learn about sloths, herps, orchids, and birds in lightning talks from some of the young explorers and scientists who have been fundraising since 2019 to protect this critically threatened biodiversity hotspot.

 

Join Lucy Houliston, Zane Libke, Ian Clarke, Sathvika Krishnan, Alice Marlow for an inspiring hour of youth making a difference!

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Manuela Dal Forno | The Secret Life of Lichens

I am a Brazilian-American researcher interested in multiple aspects of the lichen symbiosis. My research has particularly focused on the discovery of new species, especially in the Tropics, and how they are related to one another. I believe in utilizing modern and historical approaches to establish species boundaries in lichens, which is the first step towards conservation and applied research.

 

Lichens are complex symbiotic units formed by a main fungal partner, a green algal and/or a cyanobacterial partner, along with a diverse community of microorganisms. They represent an important and diverse biological group present in most terrestrial ecosystems, and a main nutritional strategy in Fungi. Despite being classic examples of symbioses, lichens remain broadly unknown systems given its multifaceted interactions and controversial definitions. Studying lichens for almost 20 years, I am constantly challenged on how to properly unveil diversity in these enigmatic multi-species symbioses.

 

In this talk, I will provide a broad overview of what are lichens and where do they grow, especially covering the fun parts of being in the field as a lichenologist.

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Murilo Pastana | How Many Fish Species Are There in the Amazon and Where Do We Find Them?

​Ichthyologist, phylogeneticist and taxonomist. Postdoctoral Fellow at the NMNH - Smithsonian Institution. My talk will provide an overview of the fish diversity that inhabits the Amazon basin, the largest hydrographic drainage on earth. I will offer recent numbers of the diversity of fishes listed to the Amazon drainage and contrast these numbers with other basins around the globe. I will briefly narrate how a fieldwork to the Amazon is organized, and what are the challenges that scientists face to reach the most remote areas of the Amazon rainforest.

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Marites Gatan-Balbas | Philipine Crocodile Conservation in NorthEast Luzon, The Philippines

​​I am the Chief Operating Officer of the Mabuwaya Foundation. A Whitey Fund for Nature Awardee in  2014 in UK, and also recieved  a Biodiversity Conservation Award  in 2017 in the Philippines. I will talk about our community-based conservation approach to save the Philippine crocodile Crocodylus mindorensis from possible extinction.

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Hotlin Ompusunggu | Healthcare Incentives to save high biodiversity Rain Forest in Sumatra, Indonesia

I am a licensed dentist, comes originally from Sumatra. In 2007 I co-founding ASRI, (Alam Sehat Lestari), a nongovernmental organization in West Borneo, Indonesia ; combines conservation and health care in the 1,100-square- kilometer Gunung Palung National Park in remote southwest Borneo by giving local people health care incentives to preserve the globally important rainforest.

My goal has always been to work together with under-served communities and at ASRI I became increasingly passionate about conservation as well. In 2019 I started another NGO in North Sumatra, Healthy Planet Indonesia (HePI) to replicate the integrated healthcare-conservation approach that was pioneered in West Borneo. This approach will be pioneered and adapted in two forest landscapes of northern Sumatra where it seeks to reduce deforestation and forest degradation; wherever biodiversity is endangered and human health is likewise threatened

 

As a dentist for more than two decades, I have always wanted to help change society for the better. Since the beginning of my career, I have practiced dentistry in underserved communities as part of my commitment to community development. I broadened my horizons beyond dentistry and gained the second title of “conservationist” as I came to believe that development is not complete without including for the environment and ensuring sustainability of life. My passion lies at the intersection of human and environmental health. I believe that “not only can we have healthy people and a healthy environment, but the two are fundamentally interlinked.

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Binbin Li | Protecting panda habitat from the encroachment of livestock grazing

Umbrella species has been an important idea in conservation. Giant pandas are one the most famous umbrella and flagship species in the world. With the vast amount of resources has been put into the iconic and endangered giant panda conservation, we asked, would this benefit the other species or not? Our work showed that 96% of panda habitats overlapped with endemic centers in forests. By protecting panda habitats, we could protect 70% of endemic forest birds, 70% of mammals and 30% of amphibians. However, livestock grazing has become the most prevalent human disturbance in giant panda habitats. In this project, we are looking at the impacts of free-ranging livestock on panda habitats, socio-economic drivers for increasing livestock in forests and potential solutions. We are seeking a balance of local community development, sustainable natural resources use and panda conservation.

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Peter Ong | Primates and Landscapes of Malaysia

​Peter is a wildlife photographer and he has been trying to photograph all of Malaysia's 25 primate apices, some of which remain Data Deficient and some have barely any photos. Peter will be talking about some of the primates he has shot as well as the unique landscapes they occupy, their role in the ecosystem and the threats they face. It will also be a brief introduction to the landscapes of the Nusantara region - Malaysia & Indonesia.

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Stuart Chapman | Bringing Back the Roar

Despite their ability to live in a wide range of habitats across Asia, tigers are now found in just 5% of their historic range. From a population of perhaps 100,000 a century ago, wild tiger numbers hit an all-time low of an estimated 3,200 in 2010. That same year, all 13 tiger range governments came together for the first Global Tiger Summit where they committed to double the number of wild tigers (TX2) by 2022, the next Lunar Year of the

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Tiger populations are now increasing in Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Russia. In stark contrast, the situation in Southeast Asia is critical with tiger populations at an all-time low, largely driven down by a snaring crisis. Investing in protected areas, tiger population monitoring programs, tiger prey management, anti-poaching strategies,

community partnerships and habitat connectivity are a few of the strategies that have either created the enabling conditions for tiger conservation or are missing from countries where tigers are in decline. Continuation of these strategies for the next 12

years are essential to either build on hard won conservation gains or to avoid the specter of local extinctions. 

 

As we approach 2022, and the long awaiting second Global Tiger Summit in Russia, a bold new vision is needed to frame future conservation strategies. Formulating a range expansion goal by identifying potential new habitat for tigers that could be re- populated through either natural dispersal, reintroduction or

rewilding is one such possibility.

Erika Woolsey | Sharing the Ocean

Dive in with marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer Dr. Erika Woolsey, who uses immersive virtual reality to share hard-to-reach underwater environments. Learn about her work at The Hydrous, which seeks to create equitable access to marine science and ocean exploration, and try out a virtual dive yourself. You will need a smart device (like a phone or tablet) with the YouTube app installed. For an even more immersive experience, you can use a cardboard viewer (if you have one).

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Kanchana Weerakoon | Gardens with Loving Kindness to Help Urban and Peri Urban Biodiversity in Sri Lanka

Kanchana Weerakoon is the founder of ECO-V, Sri Lanka. She has been conducting environmental training programs for the last 26 years and specialized in birds, wetlands, organic farming, climate change, and conscious consumerism. She has over 7 years of experience in urban biodiversity restoration and Green Youth leadership. 

Ms. Weerakoon is a trained environmental leader of Smithsonian Environmental Leadership program at Front Royal, Washington DC and Conservation Leadership porgramme, UK. She is also an Eisenhower Fellow. She co-founded Journeys for Climate Justice (JCJ) in Melbourne, Australia and the co-founder of Edible Rotes foundation in India. 

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Moreangels Mbizah | Community Based and Local Led Conservation - Key for Biodiversity Conservation

Moreangels Mbizah is the founder of Wildlife Conservation Action, an organization dedicated to conserving biodiversity, promoting human-wildlife coexistence and empowering local communities.

Besides identifying and addressing the threats to lions, other large carnivores and their habitat in Zimbabwe, Moreangels Mbizah also works to promote coexistence between wildlife and the communities that reside alongside wildlife habitats.

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Live from the Seychelles with Luke A'Bear | Recording Aldabra’s incredible green turtle recovery

Aldabra Atoll, one of Seychelles’ two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is the longest continually protected green turtle nesting area in the Western Indian Ocean, with the population increasing significantly during the last 50 years. Yet, how does an organisation like the Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) monitor turtles and keep track of the population? Join us as we explore the simple but effective monitoring techniques SIF uses to track the green turtles’ recovery on Aldabra. We’ll see how the rangers on the atoll complete beach surveys every morning and then how this data can be used to see how the population is changing over time. Our talk will take you on a journey across Aldabra’s Settlement Beach and end with discussion whereby we’ll highlight the advantages as well as challenges Aldabra’ green turtles face. We want to share the beauty of the atoll and the conservation success story that is the recovery of the Aldabra green turtle population.

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Colin Simpfendorfer | Sharks in the Mangroves

​Colin Simpfendorfer is a marine biologist with a keen interest in providing the science that informs improved conservation outcomes for sharks and their relatives. He has worked in Australia and the USA, and collaborates with scientists around the world. Currently he is an Adjunct Professor at James Cook University in Australia. He will join the Global Biodiversity Festival from Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef to talk about his research on how sharks and stingrays use mangrove forests.

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Melvin Terry Gumal | Orang-utan conservation in Sarawak – A Brief History and Conservation Interventions Towards Saving This Iconic Species

​Melvin Gumal will take us through a brief history of orang-utan conservation from the late 1980s to 2021. He will also introduce his current work on protecting the species and its habitats and this includes connecting fragmented protected areas via wildlife corridors to enable the resident orang-utans to have a long-term future in Sarawak.

 

Dr Melvin Gumal manages the Biodiversity Conservation and Research (BCR) Division of Sarawak Forestry Corporation (Parks and Wildlife).  Dr Gumal has been working on orang-utan conservation in Sarawak since 1988.   In 2014 Dr Gumal won the Whitley Award for Conservation in Ape Habitats for his work on orang-utan conservation. He also won the Whitley Continuation Award to further his conservation work on orang-utans in 2017.

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Cara Lin | Tropical Trifecta: Biodiversity in Connected Marine Ecosystems

​Cara's interdisciplinary work in conservation is driven by her passion for marine science, education, and community engagement. She is currently based in Guam serving as a 2020-2022 National Coral Reef Management Fellow. In this session Cara will be sharing her experiences exploring the biodiversity of three connected tropical marine ecosystems- coral reefs, seagrasses, and mangroves. She will also discuss her work in protecting these critically important ecosystems. Although currently in the tropics, Cara grew up in Stony brook, NY, where she explored the plankton filled waters and salt marshes of Long Island. She earned her BS in marine sciences and MS in biology.

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Maria Gavrilo | In the Heart of the Arctic, Where Atlantic Meets Pacific

​I'm ornithologist, marine biologist and conservationist. I have been working in the Arctic since 1985, thus observing major changes happening there due to climate change and human activity. I'll share some discoveries from our expedition, Open Ocean: Arctic Archipelagos - 2019, which surveyed coastal ecosystems of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago - one of the most remote and least studied place in the central Russian high-Arctic. Far away from both Atlantic and Pacific gateways, as well as from major human infrastructure, this area maintains diverse pristine habitats and supports Arctic endemic wildlife. 

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Mamy Razafitsalama | Protecting Lemurs Using Community Conservation

​Mamy Razafitsalama, Conservationist, In-Country Director of Planet Madagascar. I have worked for this organisation since 2015. I studied science at the University of Antananarivo where I got my DEA degree in Primatology. My aim is to solve humanitarian and wildlife crisis by improving local communities livelihoods and creating sustainable forests.

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Mercy Njobvu | My Conservation Story

​I'm a National geographic young explorer, conservationist and a veterinary student from the University of Zambia. I am very passionate about nature and wildlife. My talk will be based on  my conversation story.

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Luis Cunha | Soil Biodiversity Signatures in Human-made Landscapes

​Luis Cunha (LC) got a degree in Biology from the University of the Azores, Portugal (2005), with a master's degree in invertebrate biology from Bangor University, UK (2006) and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of the Azores, Portugal (2012). Currently, he works as a researcher at the Center for Functional Ecology (at the University of Coimbra). He is a ecologist specializing in soil biology and develops research in evolutionary ecology, phylogenetics and population genomics of edaphic invertebrates. His latest research project is focused on the study of biodiversity in landscapes created by the historical manipulation of human beings. He is currently co-director of the international network TPInetwork (http://tpinet.org).

LC is deeply fascinated by the diversity and function of life found belowground (unfortunately, also highly neglected). In this talk, the main results of a study developed on archaeological sites in Amazonia will be presented. Thus, with a focus on soil fauna, we will travel through a history lost since the pre-Columbian era, but which has profound implications for the current context of the conservation of this mega diverse biome.

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Prashant Mohesh | Mauritius Under the Threat of Climate Change

​Mauritius is under threat of climate change because we have less than 2% of our native forest remaining and it is leading to ocean acidification and we are also facing flash floods. Our coral reefs are bleaching and dying at an alarming rate. Human actions on land are disrupting and making this biodiversity balance unstable and as the Founder and Expedition Leader of The Oceanic Project, I am using the power of storytelling to explore, educate people about my findings and take action to protect our ocean.

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Mark Evans | The Oldest University on Earth …. How T.E. Lawrence, Fridtjof Nansen and Outward Bound Combine to Inspire the Next Generation of Planetary Caretakers

When identifying nature-based solutions to current and future challenges, it is easy to overlook the past. In his book The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, written 100 years ago, T.E. Lawrence described the humble fireplace as nature’s university, ‘around which problems have been discussed, solutions identified and disputes resolved for thousands of years’ ; my talk charts how, in today’s wired world, that same university is more important than ever.

In Oman, on the shore of the Indian Ocean and the edge of the largest sand desert on earth-the Empty Quarter-lies an isolated sand sea known as the Sharqiya Sands where Outward Bound Oman uses that ancient platform to inspire and equip the next generation of planetary caretakers with the tools to step up and make a difference. In 2021, Outward Bound celebrates 80 years of operations around the world, using challenging journeys and immersive experiences in nature to inspire the next generation of opinion formers and future leaders, an alumni that now numbers several million people.

Be it addressing mental well-being, inter-cultural peace-building and dialogue or addressing issues such as climate change, and biodiversity, that ancient fireplace has lost none of it’s magic and importance.

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Tiassa Mutunkei | The Power of the Youth

Tiassa Mutunkei is a Kenyan wildlife conservation activist currently studying Wildlife Conservation at the African Leadership University in  Rwanda.  As a self-confessed Wildlife Warrior, Tiassa is the Founder of a youth-led movement, Teens4Wildlife, which is a space for African youth, specifically Kenyan youth to learn, explore, discover and value our wildlife and commit to taking action to protect it.

 She will be discussing the importance of youth when it comes to the future and the role that the younger generation has to play. The power the youth has to make a change and stating that the young people are no longer asking for a seat at the table, we are taking a seat at the table!

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 Lillian Stewart | Gulls and Garbage: Our Trash Is Another Gulls Dinner

​Talking all things gulls, garbage and bird vomit! I spent a year in beautiful Tasmania (Australia) collecting and dissecting Pacific Gull boluses (vomit) to see what these fascinating birds are eating. What I discovered was a rainbow of all kind of items originating from human activity, many of which were single-use items from our everyday lives. If you like getting your hands dirty and want to know how you can make a difference to the birds that share our cities, join me for a visual journey into the culinary life of gulls!

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Rod Downie & Peter Fretwell | Walrus form Space

Walrus are facing the reality of the climate crisis. With the Arctic warming more than
twice as fast as the global average, their world is changing around them as sea-ice
retreats. The Arctic Ocean is vast, remote and a challenging place for scientists to
work meaning that we simply don’t know enough about how many walrus there are,
and how the climate crisis and industrial development is affecting them.  This iconic
species is culturally significant for Arctic people.


Jointly led by WWF and the British Antarctic Survey, Walrus from Space aims to use
non-invasive high-resolution satellite imagery and the engagement of  about half a
million citizen scientists over the next 4 years to give scientists a clearer picture of the
population of Atlantic and Laptev walrus. With the help of the crowd, we aim to count
the numbers and movements of all Atlantic and Laptev walrus at every one of their
their terrestrial haul-outs from space in each of the next four years.  By contributing
towards the understanding of walrus populations and trends, we hope to help walrus
so they can have a healthy future.

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 Ardiantiono | The Komodo Dragons: Adventure to the Lost World

​I am an Indonesian conservation scientist who was pretty much lucky to study Komodo dragon, the largest lizard in the world! In my talk, I will share my story of seeing Komodo for the first time and stalking the largest dragon ever! Then I look forward to showing you many (many) amazing pictures of Komodo National Park, which basically like a real-life Jurassic Park. Finally, I am excited to talk about being part of an amazing team to protect the Komodo dragons and how this experience led me to where I am today.

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Ryan Mathews | Water Sampling at the Bottom of the World

​There are very few places left on earth that we have not yet explored, uncovered, photographed, inhabited, manipulated or damaged. The Polar regions lie somewhere in-between photographed and inhabited. Most importantly, these regions remain largely untouched by direct human influence. This makes them an ideal region for long term monitoring and identification of global ecosystem changes.

The Rothera Oceanographic and Biological Time-Series was initiated in 1997 at Rothera Research Station, Adelaide Island on the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The aims of the RaTS study is to a) identify the relationship between the oceanographic parameters and biological processes, b) to understand how key ecological processes are affected by the seasonal temporal forces.

 

I am a marine field scientist working with the British Antarctic survey. My work involves collecting and processing water and biological samples in Antarctica throughout the year using small powerboats and SCUBA.

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Jeneria Lekilelei | Cultures of Coexistence: Mentoring the New Warriors

​Jeneria is a young Samburu elder, who comes from Westgate Community Conservancy in Samburu, northern Kenya. Jeneria first joined Ewaso Lions as a warrior in 2008 at just 19 years old. At that time, he spoke limited English and saw lions only as killers of goats and cows. Since then, Jeneria has progressed from Lion Scout to Field Assistant to Field Operations Manager, and is now the Director of Community Conservation. As anyone can attest, Jeneria’s knowledge of lion identification, ability to transform conflict, and exceptional relational skills are key to Ewaso Lions’ functioning. Recognising his age-set was being neglected from conservation decision-making, it was Jeneria who conceived Ewaso Lion’s flagship outreach programme, Warrior Watch. He has since been responsible for engaging dozens of Samburu warriors in lion conservation.  “Lions are in my bloodstream now,” he says. Jeneria won Disney’s Conservation Hero Award and the Wildlife Warrior Award from the Houston Zoo in 2015, won the inaugural Africa’s Ranger Award from the Paradise Foundation in 2018, was a finalist for the Tusk Conservation Awards in 2019,  and in 2021 was listed as one of the Top 100 Young African Conservation Leaders and inaugurated in the Explorers Club 50. Jeneria and his team of warriors were featured in National Geographic in 2017 and Citizen TV in 2019.    

In this talk, Jeneria will discuss the decline in the lion population across Kenya before focusing on the unique conservation programmes Ewaso Lions uses to promote human-carnivore coexistence, reduce human-lion conflict, and ensure a future for Kenya’s lions. Jeneria is now in the process of bringing on board new warriors in to the Warrior Watch programme - hear how he is doing it and learn how, as a result of engaging his community, lions have started to make a comeback in the community areas where Ewaso Lions operates.

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Nicole Stott​ | We Live on a Planet

​Sharing my spaceflight perspective that left me with 3 very simple yet powerful lessons of Planet, Earthling and Thin Blue Line.

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Live from Ol Pejeta Conservancy | Extinction

Take a trip live to Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy! We'll join Richard Vigne, Conservationist and Managing Director of Ol Pejeta Conservancy and meet the last two northern white rhinos alive on the planet and the people who are caring for and protecting them. Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 90,000-acre conservancy located in central Kenya, home to the largest black rhino population in East and Central Africa, the last two northern white rhinos and a safe haven for endangered species including rescued chimpanzees and the big 5. It has some of the highest predator densities in Kenya, and still manages a very successful livestock programme. Ol Pejeta also seeks to support the people living around its borders, to ensure wildlife conservation translates to better education, healthcare and infrastructure for the next generation of wildlife guardians.

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Osa Conservation | Andy Whitworth: Canopy Conservation - Live from the Treetops

​Dr. Andy Whitworth is a wildlife conservationist, National Geographic Explorer and Executive Director at non-profit Osa Conservation in Costa Rica. His team uses camera traps to capture pictures and videos of secretive species that spend their entire lives high above the ground in the rainforest. Join Andy and crew in the canopy for an exciting lesson about biodiversity and conservation from one of the most biodiverse locations on the planet.

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Gary Tabor | Ecological Connectivity Conservation - Bridging Biodiversity and Climate

​Gary Tabor is President of the Center for Large Landscape Conservation based in Bozeman Montana which supports collaborative landscape efforts around the world. He is also chair of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group that connects 1000 scientists and conservationists in over 130 nations.  Ecological connectivity through corridors and protected area networks is a rapidly growing conservation practice that addresses the large scale loss of habitat fragmentation and adds resilience to landscapes and seascapes impacted by climate change. 

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Elisa Sandoval Serés | How do African Wild Dogs Cope with Lions and Hyaenas?

​I am a DPhil student in Zoology in WildCRU at the University of Oxford. I am looking at the competition of African wild dogs with dominant predators (lions and spotted hyaenas) in an ecosystem with artificially pumped waterholes in Zimbabwe. I am working with Painted Dog Conservation with the aim to help African wild dog's conservation.

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Andrea Quirós Vargas | LIVE Encounters with the Toucan Rescue Ranch!

Travel to Costa Rica and learn about the rescued wildlife of Toucan Rescue Ranch! Join a biologist, Andrea, as she shares rescue stories and amazing animal facts! This is an all-access tour that will share Toucan Rescue Ranch's work and an opportunity that teaches about the value of wildlife conservation.

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Osa Conservation | HIlary Brumberg and Maria Jose Mata Quiros: Regrowing & Rewilding Rainforest in Costa Rica

​Join Hilary Brumberg and María José Mata Quirós live from a cutting-edge restoration and rewilding experiment in the Costa Rican rainforest. Hilary and María José work for conservation non-profit Osa Conservation, and dedicate their lives to conserving and restoring tropical forests. As solutions-oriented conservation scientists, Hilary and María José will share the novel techniques they use to kick-start rainforest generation, tips to facilitate the success of restoration initiatives, and advice for budding conservationists.

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Stella Diamant | Discovering a Whale Shark Hotspot in Madagascar

​Whale sharks are the world’s biggest fish, and vanishing at an unprecedented rate like most shark species. Yet they are fascinating creatures that hold many secrets still. Following an unexpected encounter with a whale shark back in 2014, I started studying whale sharks in Madagascar in 2015. A few years later, thanks to local operators, my team has identified more than 400 juvenile whale sharks off North-Western Madagascar, which have never been observed anywhere else in the world. At the same time, the Madagascar Whale Shark Project is also leading expeditions, working with communities to raise awareness, and establishing best-practise guidelines to ensure whale sharks continue to use the area.

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Mark Ofua | Ireti, A Nigerian Pangolin Story

​I am Dr. Mark Ofua a self funded nigerian conservationist and wildlife veterinarian. Ireti in one of the Nigerian languages means Hope, this is story of hope for the Nigerian Pangolins.

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Emily McKenzie | The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review

​Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. These losses pose significant risks to our economies, livelihoods and well-being. The economic consequences of biodiversity loss are, however, still often misunderstood or overlooked.

 

To help address this, in the Spring of 2019, the UK Treasury commissioned an independent, global review on the economics of biodiversity, led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge.

The Review presents a new and comprehensive economic framework that accounts for humanity’s dependence on Nature, grounded firmly in ecology and the Earth Sciences.  

 

The findings of the Review lead us to a simple truth: our economies are embedded within Nature, not external to it. In doing so, the Review sets out the parameters for truly sustainable development that protects and enhances our prosperity and the natural environment.

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Jane Francis | From Forests to Icesheets: Antarctica's Transition from Greenhouse to Icehouse

 I study past climates of the Earth millions of years ago, especially those of the polar regions - which weren't always cold. I use fossil plants (fossil wood, leaves, pollen and flowers) as my tools to provide data about past climates and how the plants responded to climate change. This helps us understand what the polar regions of the planet might look like in a future warm world.

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Sylvia Earle 

Sylvia Earle is President and Chairman of Mission Blue / The Sylvia Earle Alliance. She is a National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence, and is called Her Deepness by the New Yorker and the New York Times, Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and first Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine. She is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist, government official, and director for several corporate and non-profit organizations.

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A Conversation with Enric Sala and David Shukman

Join Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and Founder of Pristine Seas for a chat about our ocean! He'll be joined by David Shukman, one of the BBC's most senior journalists and he's been reporting on environmental issues for nearly 20 years.

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Emanuel Gonçalves | Rise Up for the Ocean - A Blue Call to Action

​I am a marine biologist, explorer and conservationist. I am a Professor at MARE-ISPA in Portugal and Chief Scientist and Member of the Board of the Oceano Azul Foundation. My talk will be about ocean conservation and sustainability and how the initiative Rise Up for the Ocean is a plan to help save the ocean and support a future Ocean Pact.

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Ashlan & Philippe Cousteau | Save Antarctica and Save the World

​Ashlan and Philippe are environmental advocates and filmmakers with a deep mutual passion for exploration and storytelling.  They have hosted award winning TV shows, written books, produced animated programs and more, all in the pursuit of inspiring people to care about and care for our ocean. 

Recently they have joined an initiative called Antarctica 2020. They will be discussing this work and why the groups efforts to establish 3 new marine protected areas around Antarctica is so important achieving 30x30 and ensuring the future health of our ocean and thus our planet.

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Mariana Da Silva | Tooth Fairy Gone Wrong: Combating the Illegal Trade in Jaguar Parts

​I am a Bolivian biologist with a MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford. I have experience in conservation research and practice, particularly in relation to human-wildlife interactions, especially mammals. I led research and behavior change initiatives for conservation in urban and rural areas. I currently work on illegal wildlife trade issues with a focus on jaguars, as Head of research to combat illegal wildlife trade at Wildlife Conservation Society-Bolivia. I am also the founder and general coordinator of Nuestros Vecinos Silvestres “Our Wild neighbors”, an urban ecology and conservation initiative.

Teeth being traded for money is real and a threat to jaguars; the traders are organized criminals instead of fairies. Hundreds of jaguar canines detected in Bolivia on their way to Asia in 2014, brought back the international trade as a priority threat. According to the systematization of illegal wildlife trade (IWT) data from 43 Bolivian institutions done by our Wildlife Conservation Society-Bolivia team, parts equivalent to at least 202 jaguars were confiscated since mid-2014, mostly canines (673), with 42% of the cases linked to Asian markets. Our investigation of online jaguar trade revealed 27 additional cases. We are collaborating with national and regional governments to strengthen the capacity, coordination and commitment of law enforcers (particularly police and prosecutors) to detect and convict wildlife criminals. We also work in jaguar strongholds and IWT hotspots with indigenous nations, park rangers, local businesses and authorities, who recently released public declarations against IWT. This is the main threat for jaguars in some areas, it can decrease tolerance towards them and reverse the conservation gains of the last decades. As seen with tigers, IWT can quickly deplete populations; it also threatens human security and health, and weakens the rule of law.  IWT is overwhelming and depressing, but jaguars give me hope and optimism as they bring people together from different continents and backgrounds to fight IWT, benefiting also other species. I celebrate these magnificent cats and the efforts to build a future where jaguars roam without the risk of being killed for their teeth.

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Peter Houlihan | Collaborative Technological Approaches for Rainforest Conservation

Peter is the Vice President of Biodiversity & Conservation with XPRIZE.  He specializes in planning and leading expeditions into understudied and threatened rainforests all over the world for conservation. Regularly operating in more than 20 countries across Africa, the Americas, and Asia, Peter is passionate about working with local scientists and communities, and inspiring others to learn about our natural world. He has lived and worked extensively throughout the tropics, where he has led nearly 50 large scale expeditions and managed long term conservation programs, particularly in Borneo, Madagascar, the Amazon, Central America, and the Congo Basin. A tropical ecologist and conservation scientist by training, Peter is a Senior Research Fellow with UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research, a frequent visiting scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, International Advisor for the Borneo Nature Foundation, and an Adjunct Professor for Johns Hopkins University instructing international graduate level field courses in tropical ecology and conservation.

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Gabby Tan & Julie Molenaar | Starting in Schools: Teaching the Next Generation to Protect Our Planet

​Gabby inspires youth in Malaysia to create change and advocates for equitable education and environmental justice with over 15 organizations, including World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council, Global Schools, Horizons of Hope and Tide Turners.

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Luis Ortiz-Catedral | Back from the Brink – Again: The Conservation of the Norfolk Island Green parrot

Luis is a conservation biologist and wildlife manager from Mexico, specialising on recovering populations of threatened island vertebrates. He has studied wild parrots in New Zealand and Australia for 17 years. In the last decade, he has also led recovery programs for mockingbirds, iguanas and terrestrial snakes in the Galapagos Islands.

 

Luis will talk about the recovery of the critically endangered Tasman parakeet on Norfolk Island, and the crucial role of partnerships to ensure the conservation of species

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John Francis | The World is your Backyard

​As a biologist turned filmmaker and leader of exploration and conservation at National Geographic, I became consumed with how we can broaden people's understanding of their delicate and potent role as part of the earth's natural fabric.  My talk will cover a personal evolution from a kid playing in the woods and on beaches to a proponent of using citizen science and reinvented tourism as tools to change the perspective of humans as global caretakers of biodiversity and cultural wellbeing.

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Jennifer Adler | Storytelling for Science

​Jennifer Adler is a conservation photographer and underwater photojournalist. Her work is informed by her scientific background, and she uses her imagery to communicate science and conservation. She has a degree in marine biology from Brown University and a PhD in interdisciplinary ecology from the University of Florida. She specializes in underwater photography and is a trained freediver and cave diver. An ongoing theme in her work is the connection between people and water in a changing climate. Her grant-funded and assignment work has taken her all over the world to document science and conservation for The Nature Conservancy, National Geographic, Huffington Post, and the International Women’s Media Foundation.

She is currently living aboard a 42’ sailboat, traveling around the world producing photojournalistic stories about marine science and conservation. Her presentation at the Global Biodiversity Festival, titled ‘Storytelling for Science,’ will give insights into communicating science through storytelling and share stories ranging from Zanzibar and Iceland to her home in Florida.

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Emma Bean | The National Kiwi Hatchery: Saving Our National Icon - One Egg at a Time

​Kia ora! I'm Emma Bean, Kiwi Hatchery Manager at the National Kiwi Hatchery in Rotorua, New Zealand. I have worked at the hatchery for over 14 years and in that time, I have seen the 500th kiwi chick, the 1000th, the 1500th and most recently the 2000th chick hatch. I am originally British, but like to think of myself as an ‘honorary kiwi’ - having become a NZ Citizen!

The National Kiwi Hatchery is New Zealand’s largest Kiwi Hatchery, hatching over 100 kiwi chicks per year - representing ~75% of all kiwi species hatched in kiwi facilities nationwide. We have successfully hatched over 2100 kiwi chicks since 1995, with an average hatch success rate of over 95%.

 

The National Kiwi Hatchery is a purpose-built kiwi incubation and hatching facility. Eggs are brought in from the wild, incubated, hatched and reared to a stoat-proof weight before being released back to where they came from as an egg this increases chick survival rates from just 5% to 65%.

 

I will give a virtual tour of the hatchery (https://www.nationalkiwihatchery.org.nz/) encompassing:

- Why kiwi need our help: the importance of species recovery programs and retaining biodiversity

- Kiwi egg incubation: how to successfully hatch kiwi chicks

- What YOU can do to help kiwi

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Paul Salopek | Walking Through the Anthropocene

​Paul Salopek is a writer and National Geographic Explorer who is walking the pathways of the first humans who dispersed across the world during the Stone Age. His multi-year project, called the Out of Eden Walk, uses boot-level storytelling to enhance cross-cultural understanding.

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Emma Camp | Building Great Barrier Reef Resilience Through a Globally-unique Partnership: The Coral Nurture Program

In 2018, the Coral Nurture Program was established – a unique partnership between Researchers and Tour Operators to develop novel “stewardship” based management of economically high value Great Barrier Reef locations, with the goal to transform both ecological and social adaptation to environmental change. I will talk about the current state of the Great Barrier Reef, our research, and our conservation efforts that have resulted in >30,000 coral out-plated to-date at high-value Great Barrier Reef Sites.

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Justine Vaz |Stone soup and Biodiversity Conservation in Penang, Malaysia

​The island of Penang, once celebrated as the 'Pearl of the Orient', is in fact an emerald isle! At The Habitat Penang Hill, it is our pleasure to introduce people to the pristine rainforest at our doorstep and through Through The Habitat Foundation, this translates to support for conservation in Malaysia and elsewhere in the region. The forest of Penang continues to hold treasures of biodiversity and secrets of the intricacies of rainforest ecology still to be discovered. Today, this forest and a representative array of the island's ecosystems have been nominated as a UNESCO Man & Biosphere Reserve. How this came to be is a conservation fable for our times. In these dark days we are gripped by the challenge of safeguarding wild places and the natural systems that support all life, including ours. This quest is daunting indeed, but sometimes breakthrough can be found in the magical intersection of individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions. Everyone has can play a role in turning the tide. Each day is an opportunity to tip the scales in favour of something better.

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Onkuri Majumdar | Wildlife Crime

I am a wildlife conservationist, working for a frontline anti-trafficking organization, Freeland. We train, mentor and equip law enforcement and civil society to disrupt wildlife trafficking syndicates. My talk will focus on the scope of the global illegal wildlife trade, and its links to pandemics. 

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William N Kostka

​Executive Director of the Micronesia Conservation Trust and Pew Marine Fellow/The Micronesia Challenge, a regional commitment to effectively manage 50% of nearshore marine resources and 30% terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2030. 

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Rohit Singh | Rangers and their role Planetary Health Service Workers 

Rangers fulfil an indispensable role in maintaining the delicate balance between humans and nature by protecting and managing natural resources, moderating human interaction with nature, and providing the primary deterrence to illegal activities within protected and conserved areas. Despite the critical role that rangers play, their importance has long been overlooked as they often operate in rural areas under harsh field conditions while being inadequately trained and equipped, poorly paid, and under threat from wildlife encounters and poachers. The talk will cover the challenges faced by rangers and how the conservation community can support them in addressing those challenges.

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Doug Woodring | When Spider Webs Unite, They Can Stop a Lion

Mr. Woodring is the Founder and Managing Director of Ocean Recovery Alliance, a non-profit organization which is focused on bringing together innovative solutions, technology, collaborations and policy to create positive improvements for the health of the ocean.  He was awarded the Prince’s Prize from Monaco for his work, is a UN Climate Hero, a Google Earth Hero, and was recently inducted into the Int'l Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.  He has an MBA from The Wharton School, and a Masters in Int'l Relations and Environmental Economics from Johns Hopkins (SAIS).   

 

His talk will take you on the journey of a spider web and the power of nature's individual species, as well as an exciting campfire chat with global explorer, Paul Rose, on the ocean, plastic and how we can prevent "The Dried Ocean" from becoming reality.

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Harrison Talarico | Using bioacoustics to Investigate the Migration of a Burrow-nesting Seabird, the Short-tailed Shearwater

My name is Harrison Talarico and I am an honours student by research at the University of Tasmania. During my talk I will give insight into the incredible life of the short-tailed shearwater and discuss how we can use bioacoustics to monitor their migration patterns. Short-tailed shearwaters are Australia's most numerous seabird and make an annual return migration from the North Pacific Ocean to their breeding colonies in southeastern Australia. The species has long been considered to be highly synchronous in their breeding timings, with anecdotal evidence suggesting you can "set your clock" to their arrival in Tasmania in the last week of September. However, in the 2019/2020 breeding season, many shearwaters were late in returning to their colonies – in some cases, by up to two weeks. To quantify these shifting migration patterns, we put out acoustic sound recorders at 8 shearwater colonies in eastern and southern Tasmania at the onset of migration for the 2020/2021 breeding season.  Our goal is to determine whether acoustic activity can reliably detect the arrival/departure of the birds at each colony and whether arrival/departure correlates with broader environmental variables such as latitude, wind speed, or wind direction. The study also seeks to address broader questions related to environmental change and the capacity of short-tailed shearwaters to adapt to these changes.

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Conservation Hour with John Flynn, Shari Gallop and  Greta F. Iora

Join for a triple header of events with some exciting scientists and conservationists!

In 2011, John Flynn and his colleague, Neil Davis, founded Wildseas in Ghana and assembled and trained a team of local people in sea turtle conservation. Through its Safe Release Program, Wildseas has garnered the cooperation of fishermen to ensure by-catch turtles are released alive instead of being sold or consumed as had traditionally been the case with many of the artisanal fisherfolk. Through this program, John’s team has helped rescue, tag, and release over 1500 turtles to date. John and his team take a multidisciplinary approach to conservation by working to educate artisanal fishermen who form the backbone of the program, local communities, youth, and government officials.

Shari Gallop is a marine environmental scientist. My research spans a broad range from coastal morphodynamics, through coastal hazards, to estuarine processes and the science of estuarine restoration. She's also a student of Te Reo Māori (Māori language) and on a journey learing how to brigde Te Ao Māori (Māori world), mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and western science.

Greta F. Iora Greta is the director of programme development for the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation. She's an Ethiopian-Italian International Consultant with extensive experience in wildlife conservation, crime and sustainable rural development. Over the last 10 years, she has delivered projects dealing with natural resource management, conflict, ecotourism, the illegal wildlife trade, and local community livelihoods from Ethiopia to South Africa and across East Africa.

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Shah Redza Hussein | Indigenous Community and Saving the Malayan Tiger: The Royal Belum State Park Experience

I am the Director of the Royal Belum State Park and other Protected Areas in the state of Perak, Malaysia. The talk is about Community Based Conservation and wildlife protection with the local Jahai indigenous community within the Royal Belum State Park, in particular saving the critically endangered Malayan Tiger.

Shah Redza Hussein is an Economist by training and a conservationist by passion. He has been involved in nature conservation and environmental protection for over 23 years. In 1997 Shah left the corporate sector to join WWF Malaysia in order to learn and contribute directly to nature conservation. He was the Executive Director of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), the oldest and largest member based nature NGO in the country and had over time served on various national and
regional technical committee on nature and environmental protection. Prior to joining the Perak State Parks he was the Special Project Director in Malaysia with Earth And Sea Observation System (EASOS) a UK Space Agency project partner in utilizing satellite and technology in monitoring, protecting and disaster forecasting of our natural environment.

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Songlin Wang | Why and How are We Trying to Conserve China's Largest Eelgrass Bed

Eelgrass beds once flourished in the Yellow Sea ecoregion, an area along China’s northeastern coast that includes the Bohai and Yellow seas. This indispensable inshore ecosystem provides indispensable habitat for hundreds of species of invertebrates and fish, efficiently capture and store carbon dioxide, improve water quality, and help protect coastal communities by reducing wave intensity and shoreline erosion.

Over the past 30 years, however, eelgrass beds have declined as a result of human activities, including coastal reclamation, unsustainable fishing and aquaculture, and pollution.

In 2015, China’s largest eelgrass bed, spanning nearly 50 square kilometers, was discovered in the Bohai Sea. Yet six years later, this habitat, known as the Bohai Bay eelgrass bed (BBEB), still has no legal protection status or systematic conservation plan despite facing various threats.

 

Wang Songlin and his team at Qingdao Marine Conservation Society will study the BBEB’s ecological and socioeconomic benefits, as well as its vulnerability to local stressors, to provide a scientific foundation for effective management of this ecologically rich marine habitat. Songlin will also work with local fishers, who rely on the BBEB for subsistence, to develop and promote eelgrass-friendly fishing practices.

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Oliver Fankem | Elephants and Great Apes conservation in the TRIDOM, the ZSL approach in Cameroon

Oliver Fankem, ZSL Cameroon’s Research Coordinator who supports the Dja Biosphere Reserve’s forest patrol teams in biomonitoring and law enforcement.

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Emma Nichols | Plastic Accumulation On One of the World's Most Remote Islands

How can a remote, uninhabited island become inundated with plastic waste? And what effect could this have on the local wildlife and marine life? I will be discussing these questions based on our recent findings from Henderson Island (South Pacific).

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Hana Raza | Conservation Optimism in the Time of War

Hana Raza was born and raised in Iraqi Kurdistan. She is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Cat Specialist Group and Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, the Ornithological Society of the Middle East (OSME) Conservation Fund Committee, and the 2017 Future for Nature award laureate. 

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Adjany Costa | Mukissi: The Guardians of the River

In the Highlands of Angola emerge a Water Tower that feed the largest cross-border conservation area in the world, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), enclosing 36 protected areas in five countries.  Home to a quarter million animals, KAZA shelters the largest contiguous African elephant population in the world (200,000+), 24% of the world’s remaining populations of wild dogs, around 4.000 species of flora and fauna and over 2,5 million people mainly living in rural areas. Though 17% of KAZA falls into Angola and benefits from a protection status, the actual sources of the Okavango and Zambezi, North of KAZA, have been kept away from any conservation efforts.

 

For the past years, scientists from all over the world have adventured in this long-hidden paradise to understand its ecological and hydrological functioning and uncover its biodiversity gems. From 24 new species to science to 16 source lakes that sustain life downstream, the importance of this area to the region and to the world has been slowly unearthed. But something just as important, or even more so, has been left ununderstood: the local people and the conservation outcomes of their cultural believes.  

 

In this intervention, we will explore the nuances of the intrinsic millenary relationship between Traditional Knowledge and believes with the protection of nature, and how important this bond is to delineate robust, long lasting and successful conservation efforts. We will get acquainted with the story of the Mukissi, the mythical guardian of the rivers, as a backbone to understanding why local people are and can continue to be the actual protectors of these important water ways. And how we can withdraw conservation lessons from the human-nature relationship.

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Jodie Rummer | What Can the Toughest Shark on the Great Barrier Reef Teach Us About Climate Change

Despite 450 million years of evolutionary history and persevering five global mass extinctions, including the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, sharks are now facing new challenges with climate change that are occurring at rates that have never been documented in human history. One tough, yet small, egg-laying “walking” shark species only found on the Great Barrier Reef – the epaulette shark – has been teaching us a lot about what it takes to endure climate change challenges. But if epaulette sharks cannot endure climate change stressors, what does that mean for other, less resilient shark species and the health and future of ocean ecosystems worldwide?

Jodie is an Associate Professor of Marine Biology at James Cook University, Australia and Chief Investigator of The Physioshark Project 

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Ghana Shyam Gurung

​Dr. Ghana Shyam Gurung, WWF Nepal’s Country Representative, has over 30 years of experience in participatory biodiversity conservation. His multifaceted conservation journey - working his way up from humble beginnings assisting park management in setting up protected areas, to managing multi- disciplinary projects in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Manaslu Conservation Area and Kangchenjunga Conservation Area, and later supporting the establishment of trans-boundary conservation landscapes as well as directing conservation programs for WWF Nepal – has established him as a known and respected figure in the local and international conservation fraternity.

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Martina Panisi | Learning With the Forest Giants (snails): A Story to be Told

​In my talk I will speak about the "Forest Giants" project, a project that aims to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation and the role of each person for its safeguard using the story of a threatened giant land snail in São Tomé and Príncipe, Central Africa. As a PhD candidate in "Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution" at Lisbon University I am studying the relationship among terrestrial molluscs, the forest and people in São Tomé Island. As environmental educator and facilitator in schools and in local communities, my aim is to highlight the value of endemic biodiversity and the protection of - often - unpopular species, such as invertebrates.

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Sarah Toumi | The Great Green Wall, A Nature World Wonder in Africa Improving People's Livelihood and Preserving Ecosystems

​Sarah Toumi is the monitoring officer of the Great Green Wall accelerator hosted by UNCCD. She is also an environmentalist, internationally renowned for her work against desertification in Tunisia where she developed Acacias for all, a social enterprise setting up agroecological value chains to restore lands, create jobs and empower women farmers and youth. She has also been an advisor for the French President Emmanuel Macron on environmental issues in Africa.

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Holly O'Donnell | Life in the Amazon: Fieldwork, Frogs and Short-eared Dogs

​Holly O’Donnell is a Scottish conservation biologist and expedition guide with a passion for  understudied species and exploration. She has fieldwork experience in Antarctica, Zimbabwe, Paraguay, Ecuador and Peru. For two years Holly lived in the Peruvian Amazon, carrying out rapid assessment surveys and collecting baseline data for large mammal populations in remote rainforest. She left the jungle to undertake a Post Graduate Diploma and three-year research assistantship at the University of Oxford’s WildCRU, returning seasonally to Peru to work as an expedition guide for Tamandua Expeditions. Recently she became the Director of Research for the ACEER Foundation which will soon see her back in the Amazon full-time.

 

In this presentation, Holly will talk about the incredible biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest and why we need to conserve it; methods used to assess and monitor mammal populations, including camera traps; a new dietary discovery for an elusive wild dog; and how her love for frogs has led to new conservation opportunities.

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Reynante Ramilo | Saving the Dugong (Mermaid of the Sea)

​I'm Reynante Ramilo, Programme Coordinator of Community Centred Conservation (C3) Philippines, a non government organization based in Palawan, Philippines. I'm also a National Geographic Explorer and member of IUCN SSC Sirenia Specialist Group.  My talk is about our dugong conservation programme in Busuanga, Palawan. I will share how we facilitated the establishment of community-driven dugong conservation areas in Calawit Island, Busuanga, Palawan.

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Daniel Hayhow | Tiny Forest – Super Tiny, Super Powerful

So far, in 2021 Earthwatch, and partners, have planted planted 16 Tiny Forests across the UK! Nearly 10,000 trees from Glasgow to London, and many places in between. This talk will tell the story of the Tiny Forest programme and the benefits of a Tiny Forests in the heart of our cities – reconnecting people with nature and raising awareness, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change, as well as providing nature-rich habitat patches to support urban wildlife. 

Daniel is the Research Lead in Urban Biodiversity at Earthwatch responsible for the monitoring and research around Tiny Forests in the UK.

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Clarine Kigoli | Using SMART to Improve Conservation Effectiveness in Kenya

Clarine Kigoli is ZSL’s capacity trainer based in Kenya. She is an international trainer and expert on the SMART software (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool). She helps train and develop conservation capacity for local and international organizations in Kenya and across Africa in the use of SMART, a Law enforcement & monitoring software. My talk will be looking at how the SMART software has helped improve conservation effectiveness at various sites in Kenya.

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Haitham Al Rawahi | Arabian Tahr… The Hidden Jewels of Oman's Hajar Mountains

​A talk on Arabian Tahr… The Hidden Jewels of Oman`s Hajar Mountains will be introduced by Haitham Al Rawahi, a wildlife biologist at Office for Conservation of the Environment (OCE), Diwan of Royal Court, Sultanate of Oman. The lecture will discus the implemented conservation actions, their effects on tahr status and knowledge transference to local community, public and experts. Arabian tahr (Arabitragus Jayakari) is an endangered species, belonging to Bovidae family and sub- family of Caprinae, and endemic to the Hajar mountains sequence of Sultanate of Oman. Less than 2500 individuals were estimated to be found worldwide. The conservation of this iconic species started since 1974 via establishment of tahr conservation project and an experimental reserve. Since then, advanced steps have been taken by the OCE to study the habitat, distribution, and ecology of Arabian tahr.

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Nicole Abanto | An Otter Point of View

​Amazonian lakes have amazing wildlife. Inside each lake, slight changes in vegetation create contrasting environments with unique life forms in each. This might all be inconspicuous to our eyes but it is not to the largest predator in the water, the giant otter. With drone technology; however, these lakes can be mapped with extreme detail to study giant otter habitat from the otters' point of view.

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Lucy Kemp | Conserving a Cultural Icon: the Thunderbird

My main interest is how to take sound scientific evidence and use that to formulate on-the-ground conservation action, that considers socio-economic realities, cultural sensitivities and conservation biology. I have been privileged to work on conservation projects in both Namibia and South Africa: black rhino, wild dog, cheetah, high value plants species, community-based natural resource management and food security for communities living in national parks. My greatest need is to be in wild places and so I see it as my duty to do all I can to help keep wild places wild.

I joined the project in 2010 because Southern Ground-hornbills have always been a part of my life as my parents, Alan and Meg Kemp, did much of the early research on the species in the Kruger National Park, and so my childhood was filled with extremely early, but breath-taking, mornings out looking for groups, and helping to locate nests. There I developed my love of the wild.

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Nadia Frontier | Diving into Antarctic Habitats

​I am a Marine Biologist working with the British Antarctic Survey based at Rothera Research Station (67° South). Polar ecosystems host some of the most understudied marine habitats- in which the resident animals conceal many secrets yet to be uncovered. Working as a year-round researcher in Antarctica provides a unique opportunity to ameliorate our understanding of Antarctic habitats, how they function and what roles species play in the ecosystem. I will discuss how we use SCUBA as a tool to access our underwater office and offer an insight into the applicability of our research.

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Supraja Dharini | Integrated Community Based Sea Turtle Conservation - A success Story

​Olive Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtles nest along the sandy beaches of the East coast of India. They share their offshore habitat with hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) and green turtles (Chelonia mydas,). Since the 1970’s there has been a 90% reduction in nesting numbers of the Olive Ridley turtle (R. Whitaker, 1979). With an understanding that the destruction of ecosystems by coastal communities, caused mainly by illiteracy and poverty, is a serious problem for all endangered marine life and has contributed to the decline in sea turtle numbers, TREE Foundation established community based sea turtle conservation programs to educate and engage marginalized artisanal fishing communities from a large number of villages along the east coast of India in Tamil Nadu initially and subsequently Andhra Pradesh and Odisha protecting nearly 700kms of nesting habitat coastline. Through the three states, 363 local young fishermen, who previously were turtle egg poachers and school dropouts, are now engaged as Sea Turtle Protection Force (STPF) members. Their efforts to protect sea turtles have been recognized at national and international levels. Since then the  363 ‘Sea Turtle Protection Force (STPF)’ members from 222 marginalized artisanal fishing villages in Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Odisha have protected tens of thousands of olive ridley nests in hatcheries, which has resulted in the safe release of approximately 26,00,000 hatchlings back to the sea.

 

With the training imparted by TREE Foundation, STPF members patrol beaches to protect nesting turtles, their eggs and release hatchlings, educate other fishers in their villages about the importance of conserving turtles, release turtles entangled in fishing gear and retrieving ghost nets, reducing pollution and caring more for their ocean environment in general.  The presentation explains the important Integrated Community Based Sea Turtle Conservation work.

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Duke Lemur Center | Live from the Lemur Forest

Take a virtual field trip into a Natural Habitat Enclosure at the Duke Lemur Center to see lemurs leaping and lounging in the trees. Education programs manager Megan McGrath will introduce you to a new group of lemurs out in the forest, and give you an update on how the lemurs and staff are doing a few months into the pandemic. If the unpredictable NC weather doesn't cooperate, Megan will use pre-recorded footage for a substitute, so you can still attend this virtual field trip - rain or shine!

Founded in 1966 on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC, the Duke Lemur Center is a world leader in the study, care, and protection of lemurs – Earth’s most threatened group of mammals. With more than 200 animals across 14 species, the DLC houses the world’s largest and most diverse population of lemurs outside their native Madagascar.

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Shekar Dattatri | The Power and Impact of Narrowcasting in Conservation

​Twenty years ago I decided to move away from a successful career as a natural history filmmaker for television channels. I wanted to use my filmmaking skills instead for conservation advocacy. My decision was based on a strong personal conviction that television documentaries were largely unsuited to bringing about change on the ground. Since then, I have followed a very different path, which has yielded tangible conservation gains despite minuscule resources. 

Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that more is always better - more equipment to make a film, more money, more viewers. But what if you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars at your disposal? And what if there’s actually a more effective way of creating change than ‘broadcasting’ a film to a mass audience?

 

Using a real life ‘David vs Goliath’ case study I would like to demonstrate that big bucks and millions of views are not essential for effective conservation advocacy – if you embrace the power of ‘narrowcasting’. When it comes to making an impact where it truly matters, my mantra is simple – less is more.

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Cayte Bosler | What is the Wilderness Worth?

​Throughout her career Cayte has done research in the Bolivian Amazon and Cuba; she has trekked to a remote ecosystem at 17,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes, and boated through the mangrove-filled estuaries of Guatemala — all to tell stories about people fighting to protect wilderness and habitat for other species. She investigates the rise of environmental economics and asks: to what extent can these new accounting tools place a value on our remaining nature? Moreover, what are the moral and cultural implications of putting a price on nature?

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David Shukman | Reporting from the Frontlines of a Changing Planet

​David Shukman is one of the BBC's most senior journalists and he's been reporting on environmental issues for nearly 20 years. He'll be taking us behind the scenes of a year-long investigation into the trafficking of baby chimpanzees and the BBC's coverage of the scourge of plastic waste. He'll explore the role of the media and explain why he remains optimistic."

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Tatiana Arias | Orchid Conservation in Colombia: Preserving of Many Treasures of one of the Most Biodiverse Countries on the Planet

This talk communicates my experience and knowledge working on Neotropical orchids in Colombia. Together with the Colombian Orchid Society we are implementing a program for the study and conservation of orchids in the cloud forest of La Reserva Orquídeas in Jardín, Antioquia. Lastly, we have been working with students at the undergraduate and graduate level and vulnerable communities in Caquetá, Colombia to explore orchid diversity and the potential for developing horticultural programs through citizen science. 

 

Short cv: Tatiana is interested in the study of Colombian Orchid genetic diversity, evolution and conservation. She has a PhD in Biological Sciences from The University of Missouri. After graduating she went on to a two year postdoctoral fellowship at The University of Hong Kong. Today, Tatiana is the Scientific leader of la Sociedad Colombiana de Orquideología. Tatiana is a classically trained botanist who has kept pace with modern methods.

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Lauren Gibson | Empowering Young People to Create Change Today

We often hear that young people are our future leaders. But why should today’s youth have to wait until this nebulous “future” to become leaders for the environment?

I know both from personal experience and from social science research that there is no magic age for impact. As a middle schooler, I started a small grant program focused on empowering other young people in my community to design and lead their own environmental projects. Students as young as five came to us with ideas for making their community a better place for all who called it home -- humans and nonhuman animals alike. Together, the dozens of funded projects had a massive impact on our city, directly getting over 1,000 students involved in environmental action and reducing our city’s carbon dioxide emissions by hundreds of tons a year.

        

Now, as a doctoral student, I am studying how these types of youth-led environmental efforts might impact other members of the community. Can environmentally literate kids, for example, affect their parents’ thoughts on the environment? How about their local officials’ thoughts? How far do these ripples extend? In this talk, I will discuss some of the evidence that demonstrates the power of young environmental changemakers as well as some tips on how to engage with young people in meaningful, effective ways.

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Juan Mayorga | A global blueprint for Ocean conservation

I'm a marine scientist, conservationist, and photographer, working to protect the last wild places in the ocean with National Geographic Pristine Seas. I'll be talking about the opportunities we have to use new technologies and data to make smart science-based decisions for the benefit of marine biodiversity and the communities that directly depend on it.

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Ricardo Moreno | The Jaguar in Panama: Advances in Research, Education, Conservation and Resolution of the Human-Jaguar Conflict

I’m a Wildlife Biologist, National Geographic Explorer 2017. Since 1998 I've been working with jaguars, other felines and their preys in Panama. At Yaguara Panama we work at 3 levels: We do Scientific research, we help trying to minimize the Human wildlife conflict and we use all the information to educate at different levels.

My talk is about the real situation of the jaguar in Panama, the advance in all the ways.

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Francesco Sauro | The Dark Continent: Caves as a New Frontier of Scientific Exploration on Earth and Beyond

Caves have been explored in all different terrains of the Earth, from classic karst to volcanoes, from ephemeral ice to timeless quartzites. All this subsurface realm is preserving proxies of ancient times when creatures evolved in extreme conditions to populate even the farthest corners of the planet. Being in darkness, the underground has been always overlooked by scientists, but in the last two decades, thanks to new technologies and advanced documentation techniques, it became clear that these environments could provide unprecedented insights on the past of Earth and evolution of life. Speleothem formations in caves represent the best archives of paleoclimate available at the moment, providing information on regions of the Earth where ice cores are not available, like the Amazon. Cave mineral formation are often the result of the interaction between microbial activity and chemical elements, allowing life to thrive in darkness. The environmental conditions of subsurface are promising for the exploration of caves on other planets, like the Moon or Mars. The Dark Continent teaches us that we need to look beyond the surface to get further in human knowledge on our planet and beyond.

Francesco Sauro is an Italian explorer and speleologist, recognized by Time Magazine as one of the ten millennial that are having an impact in the future of science and planetary exploration. He is contracted Professor of Planetary Geology at the University of Bologna, with a peculiar interest in caves and subsurface exploration. With over twenty year of caving activity, Sauro has explored tens of kilometers of caves in any different lithology on Earth, including ice. He has lead over thirty expeditions in several countries among which: Greenland, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Philippines, India, Uzbekistan, France, Spain, Poland, Greece. In these explorations he has performed more than 70 km of new cave surveys and has descended some of the most challenging abysses on Earth.  About thirty papers about his researches and explorations have been published in peer reviewed scientific magazines and in proceedings of national and international congresses. In 2014 he won the Rolex Award for Enterprise with an exploration project in the Guyana highlands of South America.

Since 2015 he has been selected as technical director of the course CAVES and PANGAEA organized by the European Space Agency for training astronauts for operational and human behavior purposes in difficult environments. He has been leading exploration trainings for astronauts from ESA, NASA, JAXA, RUSCOSMOS and CSA.

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Amanda Kahn | The Secret Lives of Sponges: Understanding Ancient Animals at their Own Pace

I am an assistant professor and invertebrate ecologist at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and San Jose State University. My research aims to explore the secret lives of sponges—what they contribute to their ecosystems and the timescales they operate on, with a special focus on the deep sea.

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Patricia Medici | 25 Years of Tapir Conservation Efforts in Brazil

Patrícia Medici dedicates her life to the protection of South America’s lowland tapir. Throughout her work, Patrícia has increased the knowledge on this poorly understood species which she refers to as “gardeners of the forest”. Together with the IPÊ, a Brazilian research institution, she leads a long-term research and conservation program on lowland tapirs. In 2008, Patrícia launched the nation-wide Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative (LTCI) in Pantanal, Brazil and has been expanding her programme to other parts of the country ever since. A programme that has become the staple of tapir conservation in the country.

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Katie Schuler | Pangolin Conservation

​An advocate for the planet’s most at-risk species, Katie leverages over a decade of filmmaking experience on six continents to tell engaging stories that speak to our shared sense of empathy and compassion. Her films, which explore the challenges and rewards of living alongside nature, have garnered accolades, accrued millions of views, and inspired meaningful conservation victories across the world. Her production company, Coral & Oak Studios, has partnered with many of the most recognizable names in wildlife filmmaking, including National Geographic, Smithsonian, BBC, HBO, and PBS. Katie’s film, Pangolin, is the winner of six best short awards including Jackson Wild’s 2017 Best Short category. Since its premiere, Pangolin has been translated into four languages, reaching over 80 million people while serving as an important tool for conservation. Two of her latest films, Where Life Begins, and Nigerians Fight to Protect the World’s Most Trafficked Mammal, have won awards at festivals in 2020. Katie is a National Geographic Explorer, a graduate of the Corcoran College of Art and Design, a Henry Luce Fellow, and a member of the International League of a Conservation Photographer’s Emerging League.

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Ana María Villada Rosales | One Health in Wildlife Conservation & Rescue

Toucan Rescue Ranch's vet supervisor, Ana Maria, dives into the world of one health when working for a wildlife rescue center in Costa Rica. She will discuss how environmental, human, and animal health only work when applied together and how wildlife conservation fosters this approach.

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Liselot Lange | Primates in Las Piedras, Perú

​Join me for my talk on primate biodiversity in the Las Piedras region of Peru, and where I will also share some detailed findings of my study on a group of black-faced black spider monkeys (Ateles chamek).

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Maritza Morales Casanova | No Education Means No Conservation

She is from the Peninsula of the Yucatan ,it  is a region of extraordinary biodiversity considered as a hotspot for conservation. In 1995 and with 10 years old, seeing the lack of respect that her classmates showed to living beings, she launched a movement called "Humanity United with Nature in hArmony for the welfare, the goodness and the Beauty. Stands as HUNAB from its Spanish initials. After school and occupying public spaces, the backyard of her home, she improvised outdoor classrooms where she shared her young but interesting knowledge about species and ecosystems.

 

Currently is founder president of the non-profit  association HUNAB proyecto de vida. Which has become the world leading force in evolving the concept of the environmental education. Maritza is a pioneer in  high-level environmental education, as an activist and scientist in the educational field she is setting the methodological bases and empowering the new generation as social and environmental entrepreneurs.

 

Is Master in arts in teaching biological sciences, graduated from Miami - Ohio  University with a scholarship from the University and the Dragonfly project. She has a specialized portfolio in  education and climate change 2017 - 2020.

 

Attended a degree at Natural Resource Management by the Marista University of Merida 2002 - 2007, graduated with the thesis " Diagnosis of the current situation of not formal children's environmental education in Merida". Scholarship from the University and Telmex Foundation.

 

Has attended several workshops and certified in environmental issues, fundraising, administration of non-profit institutions which serves to strengthen the activities of the HUNAB .

 

In 2020 celebrates 25 years of work. Has inspired more than 97,000  children, teenagers and youth in Mexico. Internationally, in Paraguay her teaching method is replicated.

 

Due the urgent need to lead new generations to new lifestyles in harmony with nature, since 2007 lends impetus to the construction of HUNAB - Ceiba Pentandra Park, which the first global center specialized on high-performance training for heroes for grandma earth. When visiting it you can find a peculiar characteristic, the instructors are children and teenagers teaching to their classmates, as when she started teaching.

 

She is Laureate of the Rolex Awards for Enterprises and Emerging Explorer of National Geographic Society.

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Arianne-Elise Harris | Guyana: The Land of Many Wildlife Communities!

​The Co-operative Republic of Guyana is the third-smallest sovereign state in South America, but it has one of the biggest personalities! Not to mention, an impressive catalogue of wildlife communities. Through my research, I'm discovering how resilient Guyana's wildlife is, and just how important it is to study and conserve species rich communities, in a world that is constantly evolving and expanding.

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Adriana Verges | Engaging Local Communities to Restore Underwater Forests & Meadows

​​Adriana Vergés is a marine ecologist based at UNSW Sydney, Australia. Her research investigates the ecological impacts of climate change in our oceans and develops hands-on restoration solutions to protect and conserve underwater forests and meadows.

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Vava'u Environmental Protection Association

 

Our Mission Vava’u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA) is a registered non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of Vava’u’s natural beauty through educational awareness, sustainable development and collaboration. 

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Justin Grubb | Planet Indonesia

Justin Grubb is a filmmaker, photographer, published writer, naturalist and co-founder of Running Wild Media. Justin earned his B.Sc. in Biology at Bowling Green State University and is currently earning his Masters of Biology at Miami University. With years of international wildlife field research and formal/informal teaching experience, Justin combines these two fields with media to enhance science communication. Justin’s love for nature and passion for the outdoors has brought him to some of the most extreme habitats on earth to film critically endangered wildlife. 

He is a 2017 Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leader, a Nat Geo Wild "Wild to Inspire" award winning filmmaker and member of the Explorers Club.

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Luis German Naranjo | Underground Realities

As a birder, I have spent most of my life looking upwards, trying to capture the wonder of every single bird I come across. In the process, entire worlds have come alive before my eyes as every sight allows me to connect the dots of an ecological puzzle of which the life of birds is only a brilliant facet. Looking at them, I have learned about secret interactions among plants and animals, spied the camouflage of beetles and spiders, wondered about the lives of small mammals…. And yet, I have remained oblivious to a whole universe lurking below my feet.

Just within the unimaginable tangle of the roots of the trees and shrubs in my garden, thousands of small critters palpitate and work giving life to the wonders that absorb my attention above the ground. Earthworms, nematodes, acari, collembola, millipeds, spiders, woodlice, ants, and beetle larvae excavate tunnels through which air and rainwater penetrate. Some of them are predators, some others feed on roots and many more decompose the plant and animal litter coming from above. And all of them, together, combine inorganic and organic matter to renew the structure of the soil, ensuring its fertility.

Ecological processes taking place in the invisible forest underground are thus responsible for the biodiverse green world around us. Leaf buds in the branches of trees and shrubs are not only the result of photosynthesis: without the intervention of the myriad living beings in the soil, plants would not have the raw materials necessary for the production of the leaves, flowers and fruits on which birds, and birders alike, depend.

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Oliver Wearn | Saving the Small Apes from a Big Extinction

Gibbons almost need no introduction: the singing and swinging masters of the treetops. Despite this, you might not have heard of the cao vit gibbon (Nomascus nasutus). Or indeed the other six species of crested (Nomascus) gibbon. They live across Vietnam, into Laos, Cambodia and southern China, and today their songs are seldom heard by local people. The cao vit gibbon, for example, probably declined to just a dozen family groups left on Earth. People are forgetting what their beautiful duets sound like, and the world barely registers what it is losing.  

 

Gladly, that is now changing in Vietnam. Various conservation groups have, for the last two decades, been quietly working from the grassroots, gradually changing hearts and minds. It is a tried-and-tested approach: listening to the concerns of local people, encouraging more sustainable livelihoods, providing employment, persuading hunters to down tools, bolstering protected area capacity, and supporting (and sometimes cajoling) local government.  

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Kristin Rechberger  | Building conservation economies for a regenerative planet

Joe and Kristin will be discussing how to make conservation profitable for regenerative economies. Kristin is Founder and CEO of Dynamic Planet, a firm that helps advance and invest in markets that restore nature. Dynamic Planet focuses on developing responsible businesses with high impact partners that regenerate landscapes, seascapes and communities, optimizing environmental, social and economic returns.  Dynamic Planet’s portfolio includes three areas: expanding effectively managed marine and land protected areas and community conservancies that are developing conservation markets for sustainable financing; working with public and private sector partners on the forefront of nature-based solutions for climate; and building private and public funds with strong impact methodologies that are focused on growing natural capital. Before founding Dynamic Planet in 2012, Kristin was Senior Vice President of Global Programs and Partnerships at the National Geographic Society. She is a 1995 Luce Scholar, a 2009 Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Sustainable Tourism. Given her passion for the green, blue and circular economies to advance markets that restore nature, she serves on the boards of Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, National Geographic Pristine Seas, Smithsonian Institution's Earth Optimism, The Environmental Investigation Agency, The Environmental Film FestivalMongabay, and The Circulars Accelerator.

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Joe Smith | A Twenty-minute Recipe for a Sustainable World

Awareness of humanity’s huge environmental impacts has been spreading like a wildfire, and it is unlocking a great tide of determination and innovation. But does it add up to a recipe for change? Picking over tips I’ve picked up from the world’s greatest sustainability chefs over the last thirty years I think I’ve got a pretty good recipe for a much more sustainable world. You will have some of the essential ingredients already in your.. store cupboard. This isn’t a fixed and unchanging dish, indeed I’m pretty sure it’ll work even if you vary the quantities of the ingredients in different places and at different times.

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Arctic Biodiversity and the Climate Change

Arkadyi Tishkov, Russian Geographical Society Environmental Commission Co-Chair, IASC Commission Chair, Member of the RAS Polar and Ecology Scientific Commissions