Posted on 15 November 2001
WWF awards the Conservation Merit and Gold Panda Awards to honour those who have made outstanding contributions to or achievements in conservation today at a ceremony during WWF's annual conference in Miami, Florida.
Miami, Florida - Each year, WWF, the conservation organization makes various awards to honour those who have made outstanding contributions to or achievements in conservation. Recipients of the various awards will be honoured at a ceremony during WWF's annual conference in Miami, Florida today.
Two types of awards are being given out:
1. The WWF Award for Conservation Merit
The award is given for grassroots conservation work. It may be granted to an individual; two or more people working together; an institute or an association. Nominations for an Award for Conservation Merit is made based on the following factors - significant contribution to local, grassroots conservation and conservation achievement over a long period.
2. The WWF Gold Panda Award
The award is given for considerable financial donations, or donations in kind, to WWF. It may be granted to an individual, two or more individuals, a company or a foundation.
The 2001 awardees are:
Dr. Mari de Nasaré BAIOCCHI
Dr. Baiocchi is being presented with the Conservation Merit Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the conservation of nature in the Brazilian Cerrados, and her tireless defence of the rights of the indigenous and traditional peoples of that area. An anthropologist, Dr. Baiocchi has dedicated her life and work to maintain the integrity of the cultural and natural heritage of the Brazilian Cerrados, the second largest ecosystem in Brazil. One of her key achievements is the creation of the largest protected area in the Cerrado, the Kalunga Historical and Cultural Site. This site was set aside despite fierce opposition from mining, ranching, farming and political interests in 1991. Dr. Baiocchi was also intimately involved in the creation of the Terra Ronca State Park in 1996. This park contains one of South America's largest complex of caves and was being threatened by the mining of chalk and by forest conversion. As a grassroots conservationist, she is an indefatigable defender of the rights of indigenous and traditional populations, working extensively with Amerindian groups such as the Karaja, the Kraho and the Pareci. She is the author of many publications, including two landmark studies on the issue of remnant populations of Brazilian runaway slaves. One of these books, Negros de Cedro (1983) was awarded a prize by UNESCO for its relevance in understanding inter-racial relations in developing countries. Her more recent book is called Kalunga - Povo da Terra - 1999.
Dr Adrianna E. Hoffman
Dr. Hoffman is being presented with the Conservation Merit Award in recognition of her life-long dedication to the protection of Chile's rainforests and her contribution to the enhancement of environmental awareness among the public in Chile. Dr. Hoffman has been vocal defender of Chilean forests since the early 1970s. During the military regime, when environmental dissent was repressed, her articles, newspaper columns and books were some of the only materials publicly available urging the protection of Chile's natural environment. Following the return to democracy in 1990, Dr. Hoffman has continued to publish influential books, ranging from popular botanical field guides to 'The tragedy of the Chilean Forest' a monumental anthology documenting the destruction of Chile's forests. The 1990s also saw her turning her attentions to conservation advocacy. In 1992, she founded the Defensores del Bosque Chileno (Defenders of the Chilean Forests), a pressure group dedicated to changing Chile's forest policies and practices. Dr. Hoffman's work through the DBCh campaign has put her directly at odds with some of the most powerful forces in Chile. Despite opposition, Adrianna and DBCh have achieved some remarkable successes. These include including playing an important role in mobilizing successful opposition to such destructive projects as Trillium in Tierra del Fuego and the Cascada Chile woodchip plant proposed for Puerto Montt. In 2000, they also played a key role in defeating a new forest law proposal that would have greatly accelerated the conversion of native forest to plantations. Dr. Hoffman's central role in the development of Chile's environmental movement was recognized in 2000 with her designation as Executive Director of Chile's National Environmental Commission (CONAMA), the highest environmental post in the government.
Mr. Willis is being presented with the Conservation Merit Award in recognition of his dedication and personal commitment to conservation in the Pacific Northwest and in particular his work to protect the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. A staunch advocate of conservation in the Pacific Northwest, Dave Willis was personally involved in some of the first 1983 demonstrations against logging Northwest ancient forests. These actions helped give the ancient forest movement critical mass and helped lead to the protection of thousands of acres of old growth forests. For 18 years he has been involved in efforts to protect southwestern Oregon's Soda Mountain area, spearheading the drive for what has become the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. His long commitment with others led to the designation by President Clinton of the Soda Mountain area as the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in June 2000. Mr. Willis' personal representation of the appeals of thousands of Americans to President Clinton and then Interior Secretary Babbitt prompted Secretary Babbitt to increase protection for Oregon's 1.2 million acre Siskiyou Wild Rivers area. Despite a severe accident climbing Alaska's Denali (Mt. McKinley) in 1976, Dave Willis has continued his commitment to conservation. He still leads wilderness expeditions and trips into the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and Siskiyou Wild Rivers area for politicians, media, and decision-makers seeking their support for further protection of these areas and others. He is deeply involved in current efforts to ensure proper management for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and to create a new protected area in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers region.
Karin Holser and Aquilina Bourdukofsky
Karin Holser and Aquilina Bourdukofsky are being presented with the Conservation Merit Award in recognition of their outstanding contributions to environmental education and conservation leadership, and their position as very special role models for children in the Pribilof Islands. Aquilina Bourdukofsky and Karin Holser have brought their different talents together to benefit conservation in the Pribilof Islands, a remote corner of the Baring Sea. Together they have created an innovative and programme for environmental education - the Pribilof Islands Stewardship Programme. The Programme is a year round initiative that draws local youth into activities that are shaping their view of the environment and their role in protecting it. Young 'graduates' of the Stewardship Program are already distinguishing themselves in their community and beyond. Some have gone on to college to study biology, another has found an internship with a conservation organization. An exciting outgrowth of the Stewardship Program was the development of a seal disentanglement team. Young members of the programme roam the island, serving as sentinels to scout out wildlife that is injured or entangled by marine debris and free it. Programme members are also conducting a massive island clean up, collecting many tonnes of discarded fishing equipment. Under the leadership and guidance of Ms. Holser and Ms. Bourdukofsky, the Stewardship Programme has opened many doors for the young people of the Pribilof Islands, and now youth from neighbouring islands are also looking to them for support in setting up their own stewardship programmes.
Anthony Louis Iarocci
Mr. Iarocci is being presented with the Conservation Merit Award in recognition of his commitment to ensure the long-term sustainability of marine resources, and his work for the creation of the Tortugas Reserve. A highly respected commercial fisherman, Tony Iarocci has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability of marine resources. Thanks to his efforts, the Florida Keys' Tortugas region will be the United States' largest fully-protected marine reserve and one of the most significant marine protected areas in the world. In the years leading up to the creation of the reserve, Mr. Iarocci played a leading role in developing local consensus and support for the designation. In particular he worked doggedly for more than two years to convince state, regional and national policymakers to approve the reserve. Mr. Iarocci's ability to bring fishing and conservation interests together, willingness to sacrifice time on the water to participate in public hearings and unwavering commitment were essential for the successful creation of the reserve.
Mr. Segnestam is being presented with the Conservation Merit Award in recognition of his significant contribution and dedication to conservation in Sweden and the world at large. Over the past 35 years, Mats Segnestam has provided remarkable conservation leadership at both the national and international levels. A teacher in ecology and related subjects, in the 1960s and 1970s he was Secretary General of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Sweden's largest environmental NGO. Under his leadership, the organization grew from 30,000 to 160,000 members. One of the founding members of WWF Sweden, Mr. Segnestam was also a member of WWF International's Campaign Steering Group. Mr. Segnestam was co-author of the report 'Sustainable Development Cooperation - Swedish Aid after UNCED' - a report that has profoundly changed the approach to Swedish aid from an environmental point of view. In recent years, he has influenced Swedish government policy on development assistance and has been key in Sida's development into one of the lead aid agencies when it comes to integrating conservation and development. He has also contributed extensively to numerous radio and TV programmes on conservation and environment. Mr. Segnestam is already the recipient of many very prestigious awards, including the Starback medal - the most prestigious private Swedish conservation medal. As a result of his support to conservation in Costa Rica, an insect species was also named after him.
Motorola is being presented with the Gold Panda Award in recognition of its generous contributions to WWF's field conservation work. In 1996, Motorola and WWF created a dynamic alliance known as 'Connect and Conserve'. Through this unique partnership, Motorola generously contributed 1 million USD worth of radio communications equipment to WWF to use in its priority ecoregions. The two way radios have been incredibly valuable to researchers and conservation workers, enabling them to communicate instantly. They have also saved days of work and have helped to improve the safety and security of WWF staff and other conservation professionals in the field.
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson is being presented with the Gold Panda Award in recognition of its long-term support to WWF's work to protect endangered species. Johnson & Johnson's commitment to protecting endangered species has enabled WWF to help significantly reduce trade in endangered species and their use in medical applications. In 1992 Johnson & Johnson have provided WWF with donations totalling 706,000 USD. These donations have been used for a range of activities, including the October 1999 conference 'Healthy People, Healthy Planet' which produced a historic pledge by Chinese state officials to stop the use of endangered species inn traditional medicines. Johnson & Johnson has demonstrated a commitment to WWF's conservation priorities, not only through financial support to WWF's species work, but also through a corporate commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions - as one of the first Climate Savers.
For further information contact:
Kyla Evans: tel: +41 22 364 9550
Lee Poston: tel: + 1 202 345 5643