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

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.

23rd - 26th April 2017
Rajat Ramakant Nayak

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 young professionals and amateurs to explore and contribute to wildlife research and nature conservation. The Rufford Foundation has supported more than 860 research and conservation projects in the Indian sub-continent. Since 2012, The Rufford Foundation has been holding conferences in collaboration with local organisations in different parts of the world with the aim to facilitate direct communication between their grant recipients. These conferences have been providing a forum to discuss ideas, problems, and issues and create invaluable networking opportunities.

This year the conference was held at Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan between 23rd and 26th April 2017. The four days conference was organised in collaboration with Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning (FERAL) and Forest Department, Rajasthan. This is the third conference that was organized in India for the Rufford grantees, and the second Rufford India conference that was organised in collaboration with FERAL. The previous two conferences were held in New Delhi and Bengaluru in the year 2013.

3-4 April 2017
Angela Maldonado

The Rufford Foundation Meeting Colombia was carried out on the 3rd and 4th of April at the Andes University in Bogotá. The meeting was attended by 62 people: 17 grantees and 45 participants from governmental institutions, academia and NGOs. Bearing in mind that short-term meetings fail to have a long-term impact, we decided to be creative in order to maximise the impact of the meeting. Thus, the meeting was divided into four sections: 1) Rufford grantees conference with 17 oral presentations (see programme). We provided space for panel discussions to gather baseline information on biodiversity threats the grantees identified in their study areas and possible ways to tackle these threats. The majority of the talks were done in Spanish, and a few talks in English. 2) Workshop: revision of the first draft of the National Strategy for the Conservation of Primates in Colombia. 3) Conservation exhibition at the Andes University. 4) Conservation outreach campaign in Leticia: educational talks for schoolchildren and visitors about the art exhibition on display at the Museum of the Banco de la República from the 2nd to the 25th of May, 2017.

15 -16 February 2017
Johnson Mshana Grayson

The Rufford Foundation Small Grants (RSG) Conference for grant recipients in Tanzania was co-organized by RSG and Sokoine University of Agriculture Tanzania as a local host. Participating organizers are; Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Tanzania National Parks and University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania. The conference was held from 15-16th February 2017 in Kilimanjaro Tanzania. The conference was organized in the time when Tanzania biodiversity resources are at high risk of extinction caused by environmental pollution, habitat degradation, introduction of species and climate change. The sustainability of these resources requires proper management strategies. In view of supporting biodiversity conservation, the Rufford Foundation has funded 71 biodiversity conservation projects in Tanzania. The projects outputs have been reported to the Foundation as per contract and foundation guidelines. However, in the view of supporting sustainable biodiversity conservation through management oriented researches, it has been noted that, the information gathered through this funding is scattered and likely unavailable to biodiversity management authorities in Tanzania. Thus the need to gather, share and disseminate these findings for biodiversity management is of great concern. Therefore, this conference was geared towards knowledge sharing and dissemination of information to the wider and broader stakeholders. The forum will provide a room for exchange of knowledge and experiences on the management of biodiversity in Tanzania, noting that the nations biodiversity contribute significantly to socio-economic development.

30, 31 January - 1 February 2017
Pedro Henrique Cipresso Pereira

The first Rufford Conference in Brazil was an amazing opportunity to share information and integrate all the projects supported by RSG. The conference was held in Recife, Pernambuco State during 30, 31 of January and 01 de February 2017.

The main aims were completely achieve with a total of 30 lectures and more than 20 Rufford grants from Brazil. Most important proposed and achieved aims were:
* Exchange knowledge, ideas, and experience in doing research
* Discuss about current research issues/challenges;
* Create invaluable networking opportunities; and
* Increase communication and information between Rufford Foundation and its grant
recipients.

14 - 16 November 2016
Lalith Ekanayake

The Rufford in-country conference - Sri Lanka under the theme of “Let’s Protect Sri Lankan Biodiversity” was held between November 14th to November 16th at Oak Ray Regency, Deveni Rajasinghe Mawatha, Kandy, Sri Lanka. This is the first Rufford in-country conference held in Sri Lanka to share the project experience of Rufford grantees among them and also make known to general public. Apart from the grantees some non- grantees also invited to present their reports on research and conservation works. Altogether, 65 participants attended the conference including Mr. Josh Cole, grant director of the Rufford Foundation and several presenters from three south Asian countries (Bangladesh, India and Maldives; one from each country - see Annex 1 in PDF document for full list of participants).

29 - 30 October 2016
Alphonse Karenzi

With all the success stories of the small grants it was felt by the Rufford Small Grants Trustees that there was a need for more direct communication between the grant recipients. 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, the Rufford Small Grants funded the Regional Conference of the Grantees of the Rufford Small Grants in Ghana.

The Rufford Conference in Ghana took place at the Erata Hotel in Accra, the Capital City of Ghana, from 29th to 30th October 2016. This conference aimed at enhancing the direct communication and partnership between the regional RSG recipients by providing a forum for them to discuss ideas and issues; share the best practices and promote the regional RSG Partnership (network).

This two-day conference brought together 40 Rufford Small Grants Recipients from 6 different west-African and east-African countries, for a weekend of relationship building and mutual learning. 21 RSG recipients came from Ghana, 8 from Benin, 5 from Nigeria, 3 from Cote d’Ivoire, 2 from Rwanda, and 1 from Togo. This conference was officially launched by Mr. Japhet Roberts from Ghana Wildlife Society, on behalf of Dr Erasmus Owusu the CEO of Ghana Wildlife Society.

Future conferences

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