Emerging Conservationist

Winners & Finalists

What is the

Emerging Conservationist Award?

The Emerging Conservationist award – made possible through a grant from the Kobe Foundation – is a biennial award recognizing conservationists under 40 years of age with the talent and drive to make a significant impact on saving an animal species or group of species. Established to help support their work, the Emerging Conservationist Award aims to encourage the courageous, talented and dedicated people who devote themselves to protecting Earth’s wild things and wild places.

Through a two-stage selection process, a Review Committee will narrow the application pool to 10 Finalists who will then be sent to the Selection Committee. Once the Selection Committee chooses a Winner from the top three applicants, the Winner will be notified and receive a $50,000 award to further their conservation work.

Fanny M. Cornejo
2023 Winner

Over the past 15 years, Cornejo has devoted her professional life to primate conservation and research. She leads Yunkawasi, a conservation organization she founded with her mother, the late Fanny Fernández Melo. Yunkawasi works with Amazonian and Andean communities for the conservation of threatened species through sustainable economic development, education and a protected area management approach.

The Emerging Conservationist Award is supported by the Kobe Foundation and as Winner, Cornejo will receive a $50,000 award to continue with the Yunkawasi conservation work for endangered species through engaging participation from more than 20 rural and indigenous communities to sustainably manage territories and create protected areas. To date, more than 15,000 people have been reached through Cornejo’s conservation education programs focused on Peruvian endangered wildlife. She has also authored more than 100 scientific articles and congressional presentations.

Meet the Heroes!

2023 Emerging Conservationist Award Finalists

The Emerging Conservationist Award recognizes professional wildlife conservationists, biologists and scientists under 40 years of age working to make strides in saving animal species from extinction. The inaugural Emerging Conservationist Award Winner was announced in April 2023 and was recognized at the 2023 Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc. in downtown Indianapolis on September 30, 2023.