The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places. We do that through the use of cutting-edge conservation science, management, community governance, and policy. As part of this effort, we commit to helping conserve landscapes and their wildlife on the ground and over the long term.
A critical part of that long-term commitment is ensuring that the best and the brightest young conservationists are supported and nurtured to take on the role of conservation leaders in their respective countries.
For nearly a century, WCS has been supporting the development of inspired and committed young conservationists around the world. We do this through a series of graduate scholarships, small grants, and mentoring opportunities that enable them to learn and apply field-tested conservation science to help solve the greatest challenges facing wildlife and wild places. Through this support, these brilliant young conservationists can become the next generation of global conservation leaders.
Our goal is to ensure that wherever there is a need, the conservation of wildlife and wild places will be led by a network of skilled conservation leaders who are able to implement conservation on the ground, build effective conservation institutions, and create and support conservation constituencies within their wider society.
How will we get there?
WCS provides a suite of training and capacity building initiatives. The foundation for building the next generation of conservation leaders are three major programs.
The WCS Graduate Scholarship Program (GSP) is part of a WCS strategy to invest in developing individual conservation leaders around the world. The GSP provides access to international graduate education opportunities (masters or doctoral programs) to exceptional conservationists from Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America, and North American indigenous groups. Scholars are nominated by WCS global conservation staff and are selected based on their exceptional abilities and potential to become leaders of the conservation movement in their home countries.
See our 2016 WCS Graduate Scholarship recipients.
The WCS Research Fellowship Program (RFP) is one of the oldest and most prestigious small grants programs in the field of wildlife conservation. Grants are designed to build capacity for the next generation of global conservation leaders from Asia/Pacific, Africa, Latin America, and North American indigenous groups by supporting individual field research projects that have a clear application to the conservation of threatened wildlife and wild places. The grants awarded under the RFP result in young conservationists building their own individual capacity to become leading conservationists in their home countries.
The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is a globally renowned capacity building partnership that is building the next generation of conservation leaders in developing countries. CLP partners include WCS, BirdLife International, and Fauna & Flora International. We work collaboratively to identify and engage exceptional young conservationists, invest in their professional development through grants, internships, training and mentoring, and help them to multiply their impact across the conservation sector. CLP grants are awarded annually to teams of early career individuals to carry out projects on threatened species. A series of training, networking, and mentoring is offered to our alumni network as a means to further develop leadership capabilities.
The WCS Graduate Scholarship Program is a world leader in providing support for young conservation professionals. Established in 1996, the program has already made advanced study possible for a total of 89 graduate students from 32 countries at top-flight academic institutions that include Yale University, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Florida, and Oxford University.
From 1993 to 2012, the WCS Research Fellowship Program funded over 350 projects resulting in important conservation around the world. Focal topics covered by RFP grants include: rare and endangered species studies, threatened community and ecosystem studies, species reintroduction and habitat restoration, human impacts such as logging and agriculture, and social dimensions of conservation and livelihoods.
Since the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) was founded in 1985, the program has invested in the professional development of over 2,600 individuals through over 700 projects in more than 100 countries. With CLP support, our alumni are discovering new species, designating protected areas, starting their own non-government organizations, and creating mechanisms for long-term sustainable conservation.