In this article we highlight these five champions of protected areas, presented by IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas at a ceremony in Peru during the third Latin American and Caribbean Protected Areas Congress.
Dr Robert Wallace was recognized with the Kenton Miller Award. The other winners, Sonia Bone Guajajara, Dr Julio Alberto Carrera Lopez, Carlos Alberto Pinto dos Santos, and Dr Floyd Homer, all received the Fred Packard Award for outstanding service.
Dr Wallace is acclaimed for his pioneering work in protecting Bolivia's Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape. He is also noted for innovative efforts to engage public support for conservation through promotion of a Bolivian gastronomic movement, known as Sabores Silvestres, using the country’s culinary heritage and links to biodiversity.
Sonia Bone Guajajara has spent a large part of her life protecting the greater Amazon and its peoples. Sonia is a Brazilian leader who has worked internationally in defence of the Amazon forests, ecosystems, biodiversity and indigenous populations.
Dr Julio Alberto Carrera Lopez was a conservation pioneer in Mexico, at the leading edge of Mexico and US desertscape defences. As a young research professor in 1978 he promoted effective ecosystem management in the protected Great Chihuahuan Desert. He was later behind the design and promotion of cross-border conservation between the United States and Mexico for more than two decades. His posthumous award was received by Carlos Cifuentes from the Mexican National Commission for Natural Protected Areas.
Dr Floyd Homer has made a vast contribution to protected areas in the Caribbean region. For almost 30 years he has worked across 18 Caribbean countries, interacting with all stakeholders large and small to improve resource and land use; forest, wetlands and coral reef conservation. Dr Homer has led the training of protected area staff and the development of management plans for protected areas in seven Caribbean countries.
Carlos Alberto Pinto dos Santos is a defender of Brazil's indigenous populations. Collaborating with other leaders for protected areas and their peoples, Carlos's efforts have resulted in the protection of approximately one million hectares, benefitting as much as 120,000 families.
“These are our highest awards and reflect the Commission's respect for these outstanding individuals and their contribution to conservation and protected areas in the Latin American and Caribbean regions,” said Kathy MacKinnon, chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN WCPA).
Named for Dr Kenton R. Miller, a leading figure in international conservation, the Kenton Miller award honours innovation and inspiration in protected area management. It celebrates individuals who are taking bold steps in protecting these most valuable resources by acknowledging their invaluable and innovative work and international recognition by their peers.
The Fred Packard Award is named for the individual who served as Secretary to the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas in the early 1970s and presented by WCPA to individuals or groups to recognize outstanding service to protected areas.