This fall a panel including Katherine Birnie (Maine Coast Heritage Trust), Story Clark (Conservation Consultant), Brian Shillinglaw (New Forests), Matt Zieper (Trust for Public Land) and Jim Levitt (Harvard Forest) completed their review of essays submitted by more than 40 students from 17 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The essays were submitted by young people competing for the 14 North American student scholarships to the conference on Conservation Capital in the Americas, which was held in January in Valdivia, Chile. In a parallel process, colleagues in Chile evaluated another batch of entries from students competing for a second set of scholarships designated to bring Central and South American students to the meeting.
The North American review panel was quite impressed by the quality of the essays submitted. One reviewer noted that as she reviewed the papers she was "drowning in great ideas," but assured us that she would be able to swim to shore to make difficult final choices. The results are an excellent indication of the potential interest in the field of conservation finance at universities across the country -- and across the Western Hemisphere.
One of the most gratifying aspects of the competition was the passion invested in the process by the competing students. One of the winning essayists wrote a blog entry describing the competion process. The blog post can be found here.
The students who were invited to attend the Conservation Capital in the America Conference are:
Patrick Behrer, Harvard University,
"Value of a Name: Naming Rights Auctions and their Potential for Conservation Finance."
Blair Braverman, Colby College,
"The Iditarod Trail as a Model for Conservation."
Michael Fiebig, University of Montana, Missoula,
"Financing Conservation Through Place-Based Adoption."
Clare Fieseler, Nicholas School, Duke University,
"Coastal Conservation Offsets Mortality at Sea: Applying the Bycatch Mitigation Model."
Catherine Gordon, Harvard University,
"Pro-Poor Gene Biodiversity Forestry Fund."
Chris Larson, Yale University School of Management
Accessing Low-Cost Conservation Capital from Retail Investor
David Lewis, Harvard School of Design,
"LEED for Lenders, A Conservation Mandate: Sustainable Buildings."
Christopher Morrell, Bates College,
"Cap, Trade, and Monitor: Conservation Through Responsible Land Use in Maine."
Manuel Rincon-Cruz, Harvard College,
"Capital Access: Proposal for a Conservation and Reforestation Revolving Loan Fund."
Anne Shudy Palmer, University of Wisconsin,
"'Pay Dirt' Charcoal: Financing Local and Global Land Conservation with Carbon Payments for Biochar in Agricultural Soils."
Paul Spraycar, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara
"A Conservation Fund for Sustainable Tourism Development."
Jude Wu, Yale University School of Forestry,
"Using the CDFI Model to Envision the 'Ultimate' Conservation Finance Intermediary."
Laura Wurst, University of Southern Maine.
"Colorado: A Model for Conservation Financing."
Among the 14 winning essays, one was judged as outstanding. The author of that paper, Jude Wu, presented her paper to the Conservation Capital in the Americas conference in Validivia this past January.
There was also a comparable competition that involved Latin American students to the Conference in Valdivia. Here are four of the winning essays.
Carlos Medina, Universidad de Concepción, Chile,
"Economic Valuation of the Conservation in the Galapagos Islands."
Guillermo Andrés Ospina, Universidad del Valle, Colombia,
"Explorando Mecanismos Financieros para la Conservación de Parques Nacionales Superpuestos con Tierras Privadas: Caso de Colombia."
Bernardo Peredo, Oxford University Centre for the Environment, Oxford University, UK,
"Indigenous Territories, Ecosystem Services and Conservation Finance in Bolivia: Windows of Opportunity for biodiversity conservation and local livelihoods."
Edilson Jimmy Requena Rojas, Universidad Continental de Ciencias e Ingenieria, Peru,
"Estudio de las relaciones entre emisiones biogénicas y la formación de lluvia en la amazonia para conservación de bosques montanos."
Bernardo Peredo's paper was chosen as the outstanding Latin American student paper to be presented at the Conservation Capital in the Americas conference this past January.