Conferences

In 2012, we held our first Rufford Small Grants conference in Nepal. Due to the success of this the trustees felt that there was a need for more direct communication between the grant recipients. Very often researchers work in isolation and these conferences provide a forum to discuss ideas, problems, issues and create invaluable networking opportunities.

Generally they are 2 or 3 days long. Each recipient talks about their project and then takes questions from their fellow RSG recipients. The chair person leads a debate and it is hoped that solutions to key conservation issues are addressed. In some instances Government ministers attend so that a link between the 'field' and the 'decision makers' can be built. The chair person is generally the organiser of the conference for that particular country.

To make these worthwhile we need a minimum of 20 previous grants recipients, with at least one of these who is able to organise the event. This entails finding a venue, liaising with grantees, providing an agenda and a report, arranging accommodation and food and generally overseeing the smooth running.

In the future, we are looking to hold small, in country conferences with past recipients (particularly in Russia, Malaysia, Peru, and Madagascar).

If you would like to organise one please contact: josh@rufford.org

In this section you can read the report from the previous conferences written by the organiser’s themselves.

Conference Reports

2-4 August
Dilek Sahin

Ilia State University (ILIAUNI) is a leading institute in research and conservation studies in Georgia. Almost every researcher of ILIAUNI have links and collaborations with other universities across the Caucasus region and not only. Nevertheless Rufford Conference was the most important event in conservation studies that brought together young conservationists in Kazbegi, Georgia to share the experience and make new connections and trans-boundary collaborations for the first time. So, our objective was to begin new collaborative research and to born new ideas for wildlife conservation between the countries within Caucasus region.

23-25 April 2018
Oleksandr Zinenko

Ukrainian Rufford Small Grants Conference had taken place in Kharkiv, Ukraine, 23-25 April 2018. The conference received a motto “From monitoring to implementation” in order to highlight a strong need to proceed from the stage of data collecting to a practical conservation actions.

The Rufford foundation works in Ukraine since 2004 and has supported 59 projects. On the Rufford foundation website 96 projects are listed. Probably this number automatically included all projects from the territory of Ukraine, but mainly were done in other countries, or projects which were carried out in more than one place in Ukraine. Most of grantees received funding once (30 projects), ten grantees received funding twice and nine of them received grants three times. We tried to gather all 49 former and current grant holders from Ukraine and also invited via e-mail conservationists from neighboring Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Turkey (about 90 invitations), but received limited number of responses. Apparently some of e-mail addresses, especially of grantees from earlier years, may be not valid, people may move to another occupation and country. Additionally, number of invited participants had responded, but informed that they had field work in the same dates.

Participation of foreign participants may also be complicated due to economic reasons or political tensions between Ukraine and Russian Federation, RF and Great Britain. In our opinion, state employed scientists from Russia may don’t want to come or experience problems in getting approval for their business trips. Still, these are our suggestions, because no one from RF responded our invitations or contacted us. We see this as a reason why there were no Russian participants on the meeting, in spite of traditionally strong ties in the past. This could be compared to Belarus, where similar number of invitations (but much less number of projects comparing to Russia) resulted in two potential participants, who intended to come, but cancelled their visits due to other reasons.

3-6 February 2018
Aylin Akkaya Bas

The 27th Rufford Conference Montenegro was organized by Montenegro Dolphin partners at Bar Municipality by the: Marine Mammal Research Association (DMAD) – Aylin Akkaya Baş, Ersin Baş and Natural History Association of Montenegro (DPCG) – Ana Vujović, Nataša Nikpaljević.

1. Objectives

The RSG Montenegro Conference aimed to achieve:

1. To create a network between the researchers from terrestrial and marine ecosystems and to help sharing their experiences in research and conservation
2. To understand the problems that researchers had during the realisation of the RSG project
3. To make a bridge between the researchers and governmental bodies to strengthen the relationships for the purpose of conservation implications, both for terrestrial and marine ecosystems
4. To help to standardise the data collection protocols for accurate and transboundary research and conservation consequences
5. To increase the capacity building of researchers on online data sharing platforms.
6. To develop new friendships for the purpose of a stronger chain of cooperation which would be the best for the protection of animals and its habitats?

29-30 January 2018
Krishna Prasad Dahal

It was our great pleasure that Institute of Forestry, Hetauda Campus organized the Rufford Nepal Conference from 29 to 30 January 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The main objectives of the conference were to create the forum for young researchers to explore their research results, share the knowledge through two-way interactions, and translate the outcomes of the projects into policy formulation in the sector of biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.

We hope, the conference helped in collective learning and mutual sharing of experiences and craft better policies for conservation and sustainable utilization of forest resources. The oral and poster presentations are in three important thematic areas of biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainability, community relationship, and conservation education and Extension. Till the end of 2017, the Rufford foundation has already supported about 400 different projects and invested about 1.45 million pound sterling-dollar (£) which equivalent to about 20 Crore Nepalese rupees in the sector of Nepalese biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.

Although the Rufford Foundation has significantly contributed the different grass-roots project in various parts of Nepal, proper monitoring and evaluation should be implemented for bringing the better results. The Rufford conference is one the monitoring tools for sharing and exchanging the project`s results in the common forum. We hope, the foundation will also provide us the opportunity to see the progress of the projects in the field directly. You know that Institute of Forestry (IOF) has many student human resources, we would utilize our human resources in order to conduct the monitoring and evaluation of Rufford`s projects in the fields.

The program would not be possible with the financial support from the Rufford Foundation. I would like to thank Josh Cole (Grants Director) and Jane Raymond (Rufford Administrator) for supporting us from the beginning of the program. I am very grateful with our session chairpersons (Dr. Carol Inskipp, Dr. Ram Prasad Chaudhary, Dr. Binod Dawadi, Dr. Jhamak Bahadur Karki and Dr. Santosh Rayamajhi) who accepted our requests for chairing the individual session. We also grateful to Dr. Prabhu Budathoki, honorable member of National Planning Commissions and former Country representative of IUCN for delivering the conservation message to the participants. Likewise, the contribution of Mr. Damodar Gaire, Mr. Rajesh Sigdel, Mr. Amir Sedain and Dr. Lalit Kumar Lal Das was valuable in order to bring out this publication.

18-20 January 2018
Alphonse Karenzi

In 2012, The Rufford Foundation had its first conference in Nepal. And due to the success of this, the trustees felt that there was a need for more direct communication between the grant recipients. They recognised that very often researchers work in isolation but these conferences provide a forum to discuss ideas, problems, solutions, issues at hand and create invaluable networking opportunities. It is in that respect that The Rufford Foundation funded this East African Regional Conference of the RSG
recipients which held at the Sienna Beach Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda, from 18th to 20th January 2018.

8-9 January 2018
Matthew Linkie

Conference proceedings
The Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology (DICE), in partnership with the Rufford Foundation, ran a two day conference from 8-9 January 2018 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The conference focussed on bringing together Rufford Small Grant (RSG) recipients from Southeast Asian countries to discuss their projects and share their challenges, successes, lessons learned and next steps whilst also providing an opportunity to form networks with other grant recipients.

Some 20 participants from six countries were selected with 16 participants in attendance. The conference was designed and run by Jeanne McKay (DICE Research Associate) and Matthew Linkie (WCS’s Terrestrial Director-Indonesia Programme) with the following aims:

• Provide a forum for RSG recipients to discuss ideas, challenges and issues, and create networking opportunities;
• Exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience in conducting conservation research and project management; and,
• Increase communication amongst RSG recipients.

27-28 November 2017
Rachael Cooper-Bohannon

Following a call from the Rufford Small Grants (RSG) conservation conference to be held in Namibia, The Rufford Foundation, together in partnership with co-organisers Bats without Borders, invited 137 Rufford Foundation grantees from across southern Africa (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The initial target focus was on researchers and/or conservationists working in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia due to their being a large conference held in South Africa in 2015, but the invitation was extended to grantees working across southern Africa.

The conference was held at a conference facility between Windhoek city and the airport. We were delighted to welcome The Rufford Foundation grantees, working on a variety of research and conservation projects across Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The conference attendees came together to share their work, including conservation challenges and highlights, and an important part of the conference was the opportunity to network with other share advice and knowledge and potentially foster new collaborations.

This conference would not have been possible without the generous funding provided by The Rufford Foundation, which has supported all our conservation and research efforts and provided additional funds to bring grantees together in this conference.

13 - 15 November 2017
Alasdair Harris

1. Background

The Rufford Foundation has played a crucial role in the field of nature conservation in developing countries worldwide. Its small grants have offered immense opportunities to early career conservationists to explore and contribute to wildlife research and nature conservation. The Rufford Foundation has supported more than 4,200 research and conservation projects in 157 countries, including more than 1100 across Central and Latin America.
Since 2012, The Rufford Foundation has been holding conferences in collaboration with local organisations around the world with the aim of bringing their grant recipients together and providing a forum for them to discuss ideas, problems and issues, and create invaluable networking opportunities.
The first Rufford Small Grants (RSG) conference in Belize was held on 13-15th November 2017 at Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary near Belmopan in the Belize District, and was organised by Blue Ventures on behalf of the Rufford Foundation. It was attended by Rufford grantees working across Belize and Mexico, who presented their work as oral presentations and engaged in group discussions and feedback sessions. The conference was enriched by an additional presentation from Reynold Cal from the Runaway Creek Nature Reserve in Belize about his work on the jaguar (Panthera onca) and Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii).

19-20 October 2017
Sofia Nanni

Nowadays, the increase in human well-being is linked at least to some point with the overexploitation of natural resources. Processes such as globalization, increasing tele- connections and rises of global demand of food drive changes in land use, the main cause of environmental change (Turner et al., 2007; Godfray et al., 2010). While traditional conservation frameworks usually focused in “Anthropic vs. Natural environments”, the increasing perception of environmental issues by societies, scientists and governments has generated more integrated frameworks for the conservation of nature. In the lat two decades, conservation science has began to analyze the consequences of anthropization and land use change over natural resources and biodiversity (Redfort et al., 2003; Daily et al., 2005). This derived in the progressive linkage between human and natural dimensions. Concepts such as “ecosystem services” (Costanza, 1997), socio-ecological systems (Stockholm Resilience Centre, 2014) or “Anthropocene” (Ellis et al., 2010) illustrate this situation, and emphazise the importance of further linking both areas.

Argentina is the second largest country of Latin-America, and is a very heterogeneous region with a subsequent high richness and diversity of natural resources and landscapes and the existence of 15 ecoregions with distinctive ecological characteristics. This diversity of environments and natural resources, also determines the existence of different land uses which in general intensified in the last years due to rises in the demand of food and other goods, even outside the ecoregional and national boundaries. Argentina is also rich in human resources, that, in the last decade, have been trying to answer and solve conservation issues in the different ecoregions. However, the links between policy and academia are still weak in the country. The Rufford Foundation has financed many conservation-oriented projects in developing countries, including more than 120 projects in Argentina. This places in evidence the existence of a strong community involved in conservation science and practice in the country. The funding obtained by Rufford Foundation to host a conference in Argentina therefore constitutes an unique opportunity to gather a group of specialists in environmental issues and discuss their influence in the different ecoregions of our country.

15-16th May 2017
Okan Urker

On behalf of NATURA (The Society for The Conservation of Nature and Culture, TURKIYE) and the Rufford Foundation, it is our great pleasure to notice you about the Rufford Foundation’s Conference in Turkey which was held on 15th and 16thd May, 2017 in Koycegiz, Mugla-TURKEY. This was one of many RSGF conferences held all over the World with main reason to share our experience during the projects and to connect RSGF winners, as well as to gather all of them for the pleasant and motivating meeting.

Particularly, this Mediterranean conference was organized by connecting the Mediterranean countries (Turkey, Jordan, Israel, Palestinan Territory, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt) which have received support from RSGF so far. Except of those countries also we invited some recipients from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Armenia and Iran.

The motto of this conference was: "Nature Connects to Harmony of Civilizations" regarding to remains of the Ancient Mediterranean Basin.

Participants were able to present projects results of their research via oral presentation. We also hoped that they would actively participate on our round tables where we all shared our good and bad experiences regarding to the RSGF projects and go through some main and important issues which were later going to be useful for future RSGF applicants and ourselves.

Future conferences

November 2018 - Costa Rica - Contact Damian Fernandez: damian.martinezcr@gmail.com

December 2018 - Kenya - Contact Alphonse: karenzilife@gmail.com

January 2019 - Guatemala - Contact Alerick Pacay: apacay@semillasdeloceano.com

January 2019 - Galapagos - Contact Robert Lamb: rufford.galapagos@gmail.com (www.ruffordgalapagos.weebly.com)

February 2019 - India - Contact Rajat Ramakant Nayak: rajat@feralindia.org

March 2019 - Kazakstan - Contact Svetlana: baskakova2008@mail.ru

April 2019 - Ethiopia - Contact Alphonse: karenzilife@gmail.com

July 2019 - Malawi - Contact Emma: emma@conservationresearchafrica.org

February 2020 - Philippines - Contact Gonzalo Araujo: Ulibc@gmail.com