7 Finalists announced for the 2011 Kenton Miller Conservation Award

09 March 2011 | News story

Named after Dr. Kenton R. Miller, one of the leading figures in international protected area conservation, the award honors innovation in protected area management aspects such as communications, planning and management, finance and economics, assessment, monitoring, and evaluation, learning and capacity building, or governance. In addition to a framed citation, the award carries a cash component of USD 5,000.

Presented for the fourth time, the award generates considerable interest around the world, bringing forward some very impressive candidates. 14 nominations were reviewed by the Selection Committee and 7 were selected as finalists. The laureate of the 2011 Kenton Miller Award will be announced on the 16th March at the George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas and Cultural Sites in New Orleans, USA.

All seven finalists (listed below alphabetically) form a powerful alumnus of original and innovative thinkers that are shaping the future of protected areas globally:

Jean Pierre Giran, France, for developing and enacting a new law that significantly increased the extent and number of protected areas established in France and French territories and for his innovative approach to governance arrangements, resulting in balancing the needs of all the principal stakeholders of the parks: the administrative council, the scientific council and the newly created economic, social and cultural council, as well as conferring greater decision-making powers on local stakeholders.

Richard Griffiths, New Zealand, for successfully piloting and refining a new system for the simultaneous eradication of multiple populations of alien invasive animals on islands. one of the most complex alien invasive species control programmes ever undertaken in New Zealand, and the only successful ones to date; for developing cheaper and more effective techniques resulting in a comprehensive biosecurity plan as well as developing approaches to stakeholder consultation and involvement crucial to a successful outcome.

 Alan Latourelle, Canada, for his personal engagement of Aboriginal communities in the creation of very large and comprehensive national parks and marine conservation areas; his unique and personal approach to partnership building providing a national and international model, demonstrating how comprehensive communications; planning and management; finance and economics assessment, monitoring and evaluation; learning and capacity building; and governance result in vast protection of sensitive ecosystems; for treating sometimes polarized stakeholders with respect, charity and tolerance and, through his efforts, two National Park Reserves have become places where differing cultures are respected and valued.

Harvey Locke, USA, for his integration of the fields of wilderness, national parks, and large landscape conservation law, policy, communications, and education, creating an inspiring vision that leads to applied outcomes of global importance in his native North America and for working with others from around the world to advance large landscape and nature conservation globally; for recognising (building on the work of many) that if wilderness areas and wilderness species were to survive that four innovations were needed: large de facto but as yet unprotected areas needed to be protected in some way or they would cease to hold those values through time; already established protected areas needed to be managed for nature as first priority or they would lose their wilderness values; wilderness areas need to be functionally connected to prevent habitat fragmentation and genetic isolation of plant and animal species, to allow for ecosystem resilience to natural disturbances and (more recently) to adapt to climate change;and a compelling vision to engage society (including the entire conservation community) around these ideas.

Arthur Mugisha, Uganda, developed a cultural values approach to management of two protected areas in Uganda, Lake Mburo and Rwenzori Mountains National Parks. Working in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, his project demonstrated that the integration of cultural values into the management of protected areas improved management effectiveness. Communities increase their support for conservation as parks become compatible with and supportive of their own values in and links to the natural world. The innovative approach championed by Dr Mugisha aims to fundamentally restructure the relationship between communities and protected area managers by emphasizing values rather than resources in management of protected areas creating a potential to engage profound existing relationships between people, nature and the cultural landscape.

Peter Raines, United Kingdom, pioneered a citizen science approach for marine conservation, therefore addressing the lack of sufficient scientists to deal with conservation challenges. He established a volunteer based programme - using people off the street and training them up to undertake certain baseline survey work, therefore promoting the transition of citizens from the role of passive witnesses to interactive participants. This approach is especially important because widespread networks of observers are well-suited to detect global climate change over time; which is what the marine conservation network needs to arm themselves with, if the global community is going to mitigate and adapt to the fateful effects we are having on the planet.

Sue Stolton and Nigel Dudley, United Kingdom, for substantially improving the assessment of effectiveness of management and governance of protected areas using the The Protected Area Benefit Assessment Tool and for leading the revision and implementation of the IUCN Protected Areas Management Categories while promoting the values and benefits of protected areas, through the 7-part Arguments for Protection Series.

Nik Lopoukhine, Chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas said “ I am so pleased to see the Kenton Miller Award attracting such quality examples of innovation. The innovative work of these individuals bodes well for protected areas around the world while also giving homage to the man the award is named after.”