Do you know an individual who is doing incredible work to improve our forests and the people who depend on them?
Nominations are open until June 15 for the Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award 2015, one of the most prestigious forest accolades today.
The awardee will receive a cash prize of USD20,000 along with international recognition of their outstanding contributions to preserve, restore and sustainably manage forests and to raise awareness of the key role forests play in supporting local communities, rural livelihoods, women and the environment.
The Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award recognizes extraordinary efforts by an individual to improve and sustain forests and the people who depend on them. The award was established by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests to honour the memory of Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, a champion of forest issues worldwide and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Past winners are Nepali activist Narayan Kaji Shrestha (2012), one of the main architects of the community forestry movement in Nepal, and Mexican environmental campaigner Martha Isabel ‘Pati’ Ruiz Corzo (2014), who received the award for her pioneering work to preserve forests and alleviate rural poverty in her native country.
The jury also awards a special Honourable Mention, which in the past has gone to Kurshida Begum (2012) of Bangladesh for helping women in her village form a community patrol group to protect forests from illegal logging and poaching. Last year’s Honourable Mention was awarded to the late Cambodian environmental activist Chut Wutty for his work to end illegal deforestation in Cambodia and protect the rights of indigenous forest dwellers. Wutty was killed in 2012 while escorting journalists to see an area of suspected illegal activity.
This year’s Wangari Maathai Forest Champions Award will be presented on 10 September 2015, at the conclusion of the XIV World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa.
Picture: Wangari Maathai speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen
Picture courtesy: Mark Garten (UN)