On May 26, 2021, CLP hosted its first-ever virtual awards ceremony to celebrate the winners of our 2021 Team Awards.
After announcing our 2021 Team Awards earlier in May, the CLP Management Team was eager to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of our new awardees. In previous years, CLP had hosted in-person award ceremonies, but due to continuing lockdown restrictions, we turned to our now-familiar virtual platform, Zoom, to bring everyone together in an hour-long celebration.
We were delighted that the CEOs of our three partner organisations, Patricia Zurita (BirdLife International), Mark Rose (Fauna & Flora International), and Cristián Samper (Wildlife Conservation Society) participated in a one-off Question & Answer session with our awardees as part of the ceremony. As some of the most influential leaders in the conservation sector, it was a rare and valuable opportunity to hear Patricia, Mark and Cristián respond to the questions posed by our awardees.
These included questions directed at the whole panel, such as, “What have been the major shifts in conservation approaches you have observed and been a part of, and what do you think will be the key focus areas for conservation in the coming years?” (Karishma Pradhan, hornbill project in India) and “How have you built a resilient organization, with resilient people?” (Yuliana Bedolla, Craveri’s murrelet project in Mexico). Other questions were directed at specific CEOs. For example, Ana Lis Lopez (Santa Fe frog project in Argentina) asked Patricia, “How have you managed to overcome the challenges of being a woman from the developing world to become the head of an international conservation organisation?” and Netanela Duke (Preuss’s monkey project in Nigeria) asked Cristián, “How would you prevent deforestation of an important habitat for an endangered species, by forces more powerful than your organization?”
CLP alumna and Colombian conservationist, Blanca Huertas, also presented a fascinating and inspirational keynote talk about the importance of celebrating and supporting early-career conservationists, drawing on her decades of experience conducting field research and as a senior curator of butterflies for the Natural History Museum in London.
During the ceremony, we also screened a video showcasing our 22 award-winning projects and teams, which depicted some breath-taking footage of the many species and sites our awardees are working to protect.
A total of 212 people registered for the ceremony, of which 155 (73%) attended. This included members of the award-winning teams, the CLP Management Team and Executive Committee, and our Awards Selection Committee, as well as CLP partner staff (10 from BirdLife, 13 from FFI and 13 from WCS), representatives of current and past CLP donors and other organisations supporting conservation (such as Arcadia Fund, Fondation Segré, MBZ Fund, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Conservation International, and People’s Trust for Endangered Species), and several CLP alumni.
The virtual format of the ceremony allowed a large diversity of people from 36 countries all over the world to attend; from Asia & the Pacific, Eurasia and the Middle East (e.g. India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Vietnam, Georgia, Serbia, Pakistan, Jordan) to Africa (e.g. Ghana, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zimbabwe) to Latin America & the Caribbean (e.g. Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador).
The recording of the event is available to watch here:
After the ceremony, a short networking session, attended by about 35 people from the main event, offered participants the opportunity to have informal, small group discussions about their experiences in conservation, and shared advice and expectations for their future careers.
We plan to use attendees’ feedback and the lessons we learned from our first online awards ceremony to build on it and host others like it for future award-winning cohorts. But, for now, we congratulate all our 2021 award-winners and wish them the very best as they embark on their CLP projects and careers as conservation leaders!