Wildlife artist John Banovich and outdoor equipment retailers Cabelas/Bass Pro have created a new Award for Conservation Excellence “to recognize the extraordinary contributions made by the world’s leading conservationists and to become the most significant award in the conservation arena.” http://www.wildscapesfoundation.org/ace-award/about.
It will be awarded for the first time in Feb. 2018, with a first prize of $100,000. Four other finalists will receive $5,000 cash and a $5,000 Cabela’s gift certificate. A videographer will spend time in the field with all five finalists, producing a ten minute film of their work to be shown at the awards ceremony and in the media.
A primary goal of the award is to generate widespread awareness of the world’s conservation crisis, and will be publicized through the two big retailers and in the media. Importantly, one goal of this prize is to remind the public that most conservationists are not internationally lionized Jane Goodalls and Richard Leakeys: “Many of the world’s leading conservationists, biologists and scientists are working tirelessly in the field of conservation to save the world’s remaining species. These unsung heroes dedicate their lives to the preservation of flora and fauna, often working in remote, unforgiving wilderness areas under extreme and challenging conditions. In committing to this lifelong journey, they often subject themselves to what some might consider a vow of poverty. With their astute minds and diligent work ethic, they could potentially be the top earners in private industry had they not chosen the unheralded work of the nonprofit world. Instead they are driven by their passion for saving wildlife and making the world a better place.”
Nominations can be submitted by anyone, either for themselves or another person working on any aspect of conservation, from single species, to ecosystems, to basic research on important ecological processes, to human dimensions of conservation. Initial winnowing of the applications will be done by the steering committee, final decisions by a panel of 16 judges, all with long and distinguished careers in conservation.
The application deadline is Aug. 31, with the award ceremony on Feb. 18 in South Carolina. More information and application forms are on the website.