Two emerging conservation leaders from India and Sri Lanka will have the opportunity to develop exciting research projects and receive training thanks to grants from Earthwatch's Neville Shulman Awards.
The capacity development programme has helped more than 1,000 emerging scientists.
Four further aspiring conservationists from Mongolia, China, and Trinidad will also receive small grants to enable them to undertake key areas of training.
The six award winners are recipients of the Neville Shulman Awards, now in their third year. The two £4,000 awards give up-and-coming conservationists the opportunity to advance their careers in conservation, at the same time providing the chance for the winners to carry out a research or education based conservation project.
During the 2010 selection process, Earthwatch was once again keen to identify individuals who have support in the field from either current Earthwatch scientists or partner organisations, to ensure they gain the most from their experience.
The £4,000 award winners are Dr Anilkumar Hegde, a lecturer at M.M. Arts and Science College, Sirsi, India and Kumara Marappulluge, a PhD student at Napier University and the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka. Small grants of £500 have been awarded to Batdorj Sodnompil of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences; Onolragchaa Ganbold, a researcher at the Mongolian Conservation Coalition and the Mongolian State University of Education; Haibao Ren, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Science; and Ronald Williams, a university student and science officer with Nature Seekers in Trinidad.
Dr Hegde is involved with Earthwatch's activities at the India Regional Climate Centre in Sirsi. His project, Conservation of Forest Resources and Biodiversity Through Promotion of Fuel Efficient Devices in villages of Western Ghats, India, aims to make forest-dependent communities aware of options available for using forest resources more efficiently and to reduce pressure on forests - in turn leading to conservation of forest resources.
Kumara Marappulluge has worked with Earthwatch on a mangroves project in Sri Lanka for the past three years. He will use his grant to investigate the effect of mangrove planting density on the long-term survival and growth of trees. The findings will be used to inform the mangrove conservators on selecting appropriate mangrove planting density for improving the productivity, conservation of soil macro-fauna and preserving the soil properties. Kumara has identified a short-term strategy which will help fill some of the exisiting data gap.
Dr Richard Reading, lead scientist for the Earthwatch research project Wildlife of the Mongolian Steppe nominated two individuals who received the £500 grants: Batdorj Sodnompil and Onolragchaa Ganbold, both sons of nomadic pastoralists from different parts of Mongolia. Batdorj is studying hedgehog ecology, while Onolragchaa's research focuses on lesser kestrels. Both will use their £500 grant for geographic information systems (GIS) training.
Measuring leaves in Gazi Bay, Kenya.
Haibao Ren, a research assistant at the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Science in China, is working closely with the Earthwatch China Climate Research Centre. He will use this year's smaller grant for training in scientific paper writing.
Last but not least, Ronald Williams, who is currently responsible for collecting and analysing data from the Earthwatch-supported leatherback turtle research programme at Matura Beach in Trinidad, will use his grant to attend the International Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in San Diego, California, in April 2011, where he can gain new knowledge of research results, learn about varied turtle conservation initiatives and maximise opportunities for networking.
To date Earthwatch has provided training for more than 1,000 scientists from developing countries. Read more about the history of the Neville Shulman Awards and Neville Shulman CBE.