Edward Whitley opens the 2020 Whitley Awards week with a special message
On behalf of all of us at the Whitley Fund for Nature, let me begin by wishing that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy throughout this unprecedented period.
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone. For WFN, for the first time since our founding in 1993, we have postponed the annual Whitley Awards Ceremony until such time as the situation improves. For many of our 200 strong international winner network, their conservation projects – vital to addressing the threats of global warming and wildlife decline – are now delayed as a result of the virus, with others in urgent need of additional funds as they adapt their work to this new reality.
Despite these setbacks, we are committed to continuing our work to provide support and funding to our network of grassroots conservation leaders wherever possible. This year, we’ll be launching a poignant new cycle of grants – worth up to £100,000 and available to our past winners – to support nature-based solutions to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss hand-in-hand, and in consultation with communities.
This dedication to continuing our work includes the support of our six new Whitley Award winners – all inspiring leaders spearheading community conservation work in their home countries. While we are not able to welcome them to London this spring as planned, they will receive funding and support to carry out their work, with plans for training and networking events underway for later in the year, should the situation allow. We hope you enjoy learning more about these conservationists and ask you to join us as we applaud their outstanding commitment to conservation – a commitment that remains as important as ever during these difficult times.
Thank you once again to our fantastic supporters for being so thoughtful with their many messages of understanding that we have had to do things differently this year, empathy for the winners and generous support of our charity in this challenging climate.
Edward Whitley, OBE