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Rodrigo Medellin at our 25th Anniversary Hope Gala

2012 Whitley Gold Award winner Rodrigo Medellin speaks on behalf of all our winners

“What is more rewarding than pursuing your lifelong ambition to change the world? And how can you make that happen, given the universe we live in?

Well these are two questions that pervade everyone in this room, in this country, in this world! This is exactly the pursuit of happiness that drives the human spirit.

But then when you have been giving 100% of your energies, and striving to make a difference for a year, a decade, several decades, then something happens: you come across the radar of organisations that can help you make THAT difference finally become a reality. This is what the Whitley Fund for Nature does.

Conservation professionals are among the happiest people on earth. There aren’t many careers where you have the freedom of working in the field instead of spending 5 days a week in the office.

It is true, however, that sometimes we conservationists feel we are alone, and that we alone are responsible to make that change happen in the world.

I have had the unbelievable good fortune that I was discovered by the Whitley Fund for Nature. The first time I was selected, in 2004, my work was catapulted into the international scale, and suddenly I was able to do a lot more. And then in 2012 I won the Whitley Gold Award. Greater responsibility to reinvent yourself. The world around you is waiting to see what are you going to do next!! And then 2013 came, and the BBC decided to produce the film the Batman of Mexico, and Sir David here was forced to say “Rodrigo Medellin” many times.

When the radar of the Whitley Fund for Nature picks up your signal, then something clicks into place. You become the familiar lion lady, gorilla guardian, or penguin protector. You are now recognizable. And everyone pays attention to what you do: your family, your friends, your colleagues, your enemies, everyone. Now you need to work twice as hard and bring more results to the table. AND THAT IS JUST FINE! You are saving more nature than before, and your happiness goes up by one or two notches!

 And the other thing that happens is that you become a member of this incredible family of kindred spirits who share your concern and your commitment, and who end up boosting your energy even more. What is there not to like?

The Whitley Fund for Nature is making a major difference in the world and here tonight you have a few examples of the members of this family.

If we hit this target, then the Whitley Fund for Nature will be able to do more to fund some of the most effective conservation work in the world.

I know I speak for my friends and colleagues when I say that the Whitley Fund for Nature is transforming the future one winner at a time, for 25 years and counting! Thank you very much indeed.”

-Rodrigo Medellin, 14 November 2018