July 18th 2022

Inaugural Winners of our YCL Award Announced

We are excited to announce the first three recipients of our new Young Conservation Leaders Award.
The Young Conservation Leaders award aims to support the growth of a new generation of conservation leaders by providing a one-off financial grant to help enable young people to take up learning and development opportunities irrespective of their financial circumstances.  The scheme seeks to support candidates with a demonstrable track-record of academic excellence and leadership in the field of conservation at Masters level or above.
For this, the awards first year, we have partnered with Exeter University’s Marine Environmental Management and Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation MSc programmes.
“With world oceans now massively degraded by human impacts, MSc graduates in subjects like “Marine Environmental Management” or “Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation” are required to help address the problems involved. To achieve a Young Conservation Leaders Award, the recipients have shown exceptional drive for conservation work though volunteering and all intend to use their prize money to pursue more of this. As skills and knowledge from an MSc need application practise, the opportunity to gain experience from further volunteering is career enhancing”.  Dr. Julie Hawkins, Senior Lecturer in Marine Environmental Management, Exeter University.
YCLA 2022 Recipients:
Lorraine Aldridge
Lorraine Aldridge:
Lorraine is currently doing Exeter’s MSc in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation and her career goal is to lead sea turtle conservation projects. Working towards this aim through extensive volunteering, Lorraine has helped at ARCHELON’s Sea Turtle Rescue Centre in Greece and with Ocean Spirits in Grenada, She has also done lots of educational outreach in the UK with organisations that include the Marine Biological Association, Field Studies Council, RSPB, and Falmouth Marine Conservation. Lorraine will use her award to expand on sea turtle conservation work in Costa Rica that she started for her MSc dissertation.
Nicole Velandia
Nicole Velandia:
Nicole is currently doing Exeter’s MSc in Marine Vertebrate Ecology and Conservation and after graduating wants to become a marine spatial ecologist in a role that will allow her to identify places where vulnerable marine vertebrates need to receive special protective measures. Through involvement with Greenpeace, Nicole has educated about the impacts of microplastics and advocated companies to switch to more sustainable packaging. She has co-lead a photo-identification project to help understand local residency patterns in cetaceans, with the work also revealing information about levels of injury incurred by this group of animals from commercial shipping strikes and entanglement with fishing gear. Nicole intends to use her award to help support herself for further marine volunteering within a community-based group
Alicia Shephard
Alicia Shepard:
Alicia is currently doing Exeter’s MSc in Marine Environmental Management and after graduating wants to work with a charity or NGO that will allow her to pursue conservation research or governance work to help safeguard marine ecosystems and services. Her experience of volunteering involves work with the Archipelagos Institute in Greece on a seagrass restoration project, during which she coordinated volunteers and co-wrote a report for a supreme court case against the expansion of aquaculture in the Echinade Islands. Alicia intends to use her award to help support herself for marine volunteer work with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.
“It is great to be celebrating The Conservation Foundation’s 40th year in a number of ways including launching our Young Conservation Leaders Awards.  The first round has shown just how much talent and dedication there is in just one university programme.
The world needs as much research and understanding to sustain its marine environments and so it is very good to be able to encourage these marine experts of the future.” David Shreeve, Director of The Conservation Foundation.
If you would like to find out more about the Young Conservation Leaders Award please click on the link below.