Whitley Awards 2024: A message from founder Edward Whitley

On 1 May, we celebrated the newest cohort of Whitley Award winners, six incredible conservationists from across the Global South working to safeguard our #SharedFuture

We’re pleased to share a message from WFN Founder and Trustee, Edward Whitley:

Dear friends,

Last year marked 30 years since our charity was formed, and tonight we are celebrating our 30th Whitley Awards Ceremony. After three decades, our vision remains steadfast: to create a future where communities and wildlife thrive together on a healthy planet, and we know that it is only together, through the many collaborations and partnerships that make our charity the success that it is, that we can achieve this. This is why the theme for this evening’s Ceremony is #SharedFuture.

As ever, it is our winners who remain our greatest inspiration. It is their tenacity that reinvigorates our work year after year – and it is your generous support that enables us to channel vital funds to their projects so that they can deliver their effective, sustainable and equitable solutions alongside local and indigenous communities in their home countries.

Tonight, we are delighted to welcome six new inspiring Whitley Award winners to our Winner Network of more than 200 conservationists working across 80 countries. These individuals, working in some of the most biodiverse yet vulnerable places on Earth, each demonstrate a commitment to protecting wildlife and habitats through community-led solutions that is beyond admirable, and gives us reason to be optimistic.

Their sense of endurance at this critical moment in the battle to save biodiversity is what drives our own ambition to continue developing the ways that we support their mission. In this context we are delighted to announce that we are increasing the value of each Whitley Award to £50,000.

In addition, this week we are hosting a series of events to celebrate their remarkable achievements for people, wildlife, and climate. We are also providing networking opportunities and communications training to help bolster the success of their Whitley Award win.

Our Awards are designed to provide maximum leverage. We supply each winner with PR support and training, as well as access to our laddered Continuation Funding grants as their projects progress. Perhaps most importantly, we introduce them to our dedicated network of fellow alumni across the globe – ensuring they no longer feel alone in tackling the challenges our planet faces.

We are also honoured to be commemorating 25 years of support from our Royal Patron. Over this time HRH The Princess Royal has supported us as we transformed the charity from something of a pipe dream to the vibrant and effective team of committed conservationists you see today. The backing Her Royal Highness provides winners is invaluable to their platform and credibility.

Knowing that you too, our fantastic donors, remain at our side truly gives us hope for our continuing work and galvanises us as we take the first step into our next 30 years. Thank you for your committed and generous support of the charity and our winners.

We hope you all enjoy celebrating the new cohort of Whitley Award winners, whose accomplishments we look forward to following over the years to come.

Founder | Whitley Fund for Nature

See the full ceremony booklet here.