By Leala Rosen, CLP Program Officer, Wildlife Conservation Society
Last month, the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) management team and various alumni were involved in the virtual International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) 2021. CLP sponsored the event, ran an exhibition booth, co-hosted three workshops, and funded 19 alumni to attend, many of whom presented key successes arising from their conservation projects.
ICCB is a biannual forum that typically brings together over 1,000 conservation scientists and professionals from around the world, providing an important platform for discussing global conservation challenges and presenting new scientific research.
CLP alumni involvement at ICCB
As an event promising valuable networking and learning opportunities for its delegates, we were delighted that 29 of our alumni attended ICCB, 19 of whom had been sponsored by CLP to participate at the congress (made possible due to support from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin).
Among the alumni we funded, 13 presented their research in oral talks and posters. Topics included evaluating the causes and consequences of crop raiding by wildlife in Liberia (James Gbeaduh – a 2015 intern) and community-based conservation to save the Indian skimmer (Parveen Shaikh, 2021 Follow-Up Award-winner).
Commenting on the congress, Gopal Khanal said: “This conference was really productive for me and will make a difference in my academic and professional career.”
The congress also received high praise from alumna Deepshikha Sharma, an early-career conservationist attending her first-ever conference: “[ICCB] was really an excellent platform to interact and learn from the inter-disciplinary approach to conservation,” she said.
Deepshikha, team member of a 2020 Conservation Leadership Award project, was one of the 13 CLP-funded alumni who presented her work at ICCB 2021. Watch her talk below to find out how she is developing local networks of ‘champions’ for habitat conservation of snow leopards in Himachal Pradesh, India.
Supporting alumni at ICCB
CLP staff played a key role in supporting alumni who participated at ICCB. We organised a pre-ICCB networking event for alumni who were attending the congress, providing information for attendees (such as how to navigate the virtual platform and how to network effectively online) and connecting them with each other.
A discussion among the 13 participants at this event led to the creation of a list of “top tips” on how to make the most of virtual conferences, which we subsequently shared with all CLP alumni and on social media (see the list below if you missed it!)
Five top tips on making the most of virtual conferences:
l. Create your own schedule so you don’t lose track of what’s on
2. Network proactively – reach out to others and say “hello”
3. Try not to multitask – be present
4. Dress for the occasion
5. Use your laptop rather than your phone – it’ll be easier to navigate the platform
We also promoted alumni presentations on social media and WhatsApp chat groups during the congress in an effort to increase attendance at their talks as well as engagement with their projects.
CLP involvement at ICCB
As a prominent sponsor of the congress, we were able to run a CLP-branded virtual exhibition booth, where we were excited to be able to meet delegates and tell them more about the programme. Overall, our booth had 78 visitors who chatted with members of the management team and browsed the information about CLP that we had shared on the platform.
We also co-facilitated three workshops. One workshop, called “Collaborating Across Sectors and the True Nature of Partnering,” was run as a collaboration among several facilitators: Nina Hadley (Re:Wild), Stuart Paterson (CLP/FFI), Kate Mastro (WCS), Leala Rosen (CLP/WCS), Christina Imrich (CLP/WCS), Oscar Mohale (Endangered Wildlife Trust), Lucila Castro (Natura International), and Samuel Ayebare (WCS GSP recipient, former WCS Uganda staff) and attracted 29 participants.
CLP/WCS Program Manager Christina Imrich hosted another workshop called “Leadership styles – identify your strengths as a conservation leader,” while CLP Executive Manager Stuart Paterson co-led a third workshop with Maaike Manten (BirdLife International) called “Beyond funding: Can small projects be sustainable?” with both workshops attracting about 30 participants.
Other talks and posters presented by CLP-funded alumni at ICCB (in no particular order):
- Using gray literature to guide Polylepis tree conservation in Argentina (Erica Cuyckens – 2010 Future Conservationist Award-winner). Watch Erica’s full talk here.
- Human wildlife conflict management through capacity building and environmental literacy (Mridul Bora – 2015 Future Conservationist Award-winner – team member). Watch Mridul’s talk here.
- Gendered facet of conservation: Acknowledging women’s role in biodiversity conservation in Western Himalaya (Upma Manral – 2017 Future Conservationist Award-winner – team member). Watch Upma’s talk here.
- Risky trade-offs: irrigation demands aggravates fishing threats to river dolphins in Nepal (Gopal Khanal, 2021 Follow-Up Award-winner). Watch Gopal’s talk here.
- Exploring fishermen’s knowledge and perception of turtles found in Brahmaputra River near Biswanath Ghat, Assam, India (Uditya Borkataki – 2021 Future Conservationist Award-winner – team member)
- Tiger Recovery Program: Lessons from India’s tiger conservation success and policy context (Pramod Yadav – 2015 Future Conservationist Award-winner – team member)
- Scale of the Issue: Mapping the Impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown on Illegal Pangolin Trade across India (Aristo Mendis – 2016 Future Conservationist Award-winner – team member)
- FLY High: Fostering a Leading Youth in High Schools for Isabela Oriole Conservation (Nikki Dyanne Castanos Realubit – 2012 Future Conservationist Award-winner)
- Nest success and associated threats to resident shorebirds, Wilson’s Plover and American Oystercatcher, at the Banco dos Cajuais, northeastern Brazil (Victoria de Souza – 2021 Future Conservationist Award-winner)