Artículo | 13 Ago, 2019

CEC Award winners in West Europe

Not one but three outstanding professionals win the brand new Commission on Education and Communication Excellence Award in Europe

IUCN CEC encourages and supports the use of education and communication to help protect nature. The commission has more than three hundred members in Europe. The diversity and value of their work sometimes goes unnoticed. That is a shame. That’s why we decided to launch the new IUCN CEC Excellence award. The award recognises the value of outstanding work in the field and puts professionals who make a difference in the spotlight. They inspire to use the power of social and communication instruments to protect our dear planet.

For the Region West Europe the members of the Jury faced a tough decision.

Members of the jury in Europe:

- Chantal van Ham, Programme manager, IUCN European Office 
- Jim Mitch, Interpretation and Outreach manager, UK New Forest National Park
- Jonathan Hughes, IUCN counsellor and CEO of UNEP-WCMC
- Diana Garlytska, Head of R&D at SMK University of Applied Social Sciences in Lithuania
- Peter Paul van Kempen, Regional Vice-Chair Europe

Peter Paul van Kempen portrait      
Why did the jury face a tough decision? Because excellent work is done in very different fields, making it almost impossible to compare. So the jury decided to award three winners. This way, we showcase the potential of communication to reach very different goals in a variety of ways.

The Award Ceremony was during the Regional Conservation Forum in Rotterdam. CEC’s Chair, Sean Southey, was proud to launch the award. Regional Vice-chair Peter Paul van Kempen handed over the beautifully designed Award. The three winners told the audience about the challenges they faced and the achievements they are most proud of.

Winner Mihaela Antofie is Associate Professor at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu and Director of the Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences and Environmental Protection. She has trained and inspired many teachers and students for nature conservation. She delivered international projects, like ELENA (Experiential Learning and Education for Nature Awareness) where children get connected with nature through experiencing and exploring life animals. We know that this connection is a pre-requisite for nature conservation: ‘We only protect what we care about, and we only care about what we experienced’.

Winner Diana Pound is a dialogue designer & facilitator. She loves integrating different perspectives and developing consensus. Even when stakeholders seem to have become enemies, she can get them to collaborate again. Like in Hatfield Forest, a place loved almost to death by visitors so change of behaviour was desperately needed. She is director at Dialogue Matters where she applies her skills not only in projects but also trains other professionals, broadening the reach of this special type of communication solutions.

Winner Pauline Verheij hugely contributed to putting the topic of wildlife crime and illegal trafficking on the international conservation agenda. Like no other, she understands the dynamics behind the trade and the measures needed to tackle it. An impressive list of publications proves that she shares her findings, also via social media, encouraging others to take up this tough challenge. She worked as Senior Program Manager Wildlife Crime at IFAW and now leads her own consultancy Ecojust.

In three separate articles, the winners each tell what motivated them to start a career in this field and what achievements they are most proud of. Their stories show that it was not always an easy journey as they all faced major challenges along the way. Read more about their professional adventures, learn how to turn obstacles into opportunities and be inspired to follow their path!