Marsh Award for Early Career Conservation

This Award is run in partnership with Fauna and Flora International and recognises conservation professionals in the early stages of their career who are making an important contribution to marine or terrestrial conservation activities.

The Award celebrates those who have been active in their communities and made a particularly special contribution to marine or terrestrial conservation through FFI’s organisational aims: securing the future of key threatened habitats and species; addressing root causes of biodiversity loss; assisting others in delivering conservational gains.

Nominations are put forward to Fauna and Flora International and judged in partnership with the MCT.

Rafid Shidqi 2021

Rafid is an up-and-coming marine conservationist with a great deal of experience working with marine species throughout Indonesia. He especially works to protect endangered shark and sting ray species, while finding sustainable solutions for communities who depend on the sharks for their livelihood.

Rafid worked with several conservation organisations before receiving a Master’s degree in Coastal Science and Policy at the University of California. He has conducted extensive ecological surveys to investigate the critical habitat of sting rays and helped to design and lead a project aiming to educate the local community. Rafid was awarded the Future-Conservationist Award in 2018 which allowed him to lead a project aiming to identify and address drivers of decline for endangered sharks. His project gained the attention of the Alor Regency Government leading them to place regulations on fishing and the research has contributed towards future conservation policy.

Rafid has also received honourable mention for Ocean Discovery in the US and was recently one of the youngest nominees for a Pew Marine Fellowship.

Previous Winners

Natia Javakhishvili

Natia is a young conservationist who has achieved stunning success since beginning her conservation career, with her main motivation being saving the Imperial Eagle which is a threatened species and she has also inspired others to take up the cause. Natia’s first experience with conservation was in 2014 when she began volunteering with the Society for Nature Conservation (SABUKO), a BirdLife partner in Georgia. She was promoted to Chief Specialist of Environmental Education, where the Imperial Eagle became her priority. In 2015, she was awarded with a ‘Future Conservationist award’ by the Conservation Leadership Programme allowing her to lead a project focused on conserving this species. She used satellite telemetry and GPS loggers to track the life cycles of juveniles, finding that poaching, nest destruction and pylon electrocution were the major threats needing to be addressed. Natia found that the major breeding habitat of the Imperial Eagle had become degraded and her team developed a new proposal in 2017 which won a landscape restoration grant under the Endangered Landscapes Programme, allowing her team to scale up their work to help other important species in the area. 

In recognition of her success, Natia became the CEO of SABUKO in 2017 allowing her to become credited with leading SABUKO to become financially sustainable and growing the organisation from a few individuals to 15 staff members and attracting donors to help sustain conservation in Georgia. SABUKO currently operates alongside 4 government departments and is responsible for building the first volunteer network for nature protection in Georgia. Natia was also elected to the head of the department of Education at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Nature Resources of Georgia. Moving forward she aims to bring greater media attention to conservation in Georgia and neighbouring countries, while working with national governments to develop a species action plan and build strong biodiversity laws.