Emerging Conservationist
The Indianapolis Prize

Emerging Conservationist Award

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What is the

Emerging Conservationist Award

The Indianapolis Prize created a new award recognizing conservationists early in their careers. The Indianapolis Prize – the world’s leading award for animal conservation – is a biennial award recognizing an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to wildlife conservation. The Indianapolis Prize also awards the Jane Alexander Global Wildlife Ambassador Award, an honor bestowed to someone who has lent their influential and effective voice for conservation. The Emerging Conservationist Award is an exciting new addition to the Indianapolis Prize Program.

The Emerging Conservationist award – made possible through a grant from the Kobé 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.

The inaugural Emerging Conservationist Award will be presented at the Indianapolis Prize Gala in September 2023.

Saving Species
Key Outcomes

The Emerging Conservationist award aims to keep promising conservationists active in their work to save animal species across the globe. The Winner will have the unique opportunity to utilize the Indianapolis Prize’s platform to garner additional support which allows for a tangible career boost and increased professional recognition.

This program also allows the Winner to network with established conservation leaders and funders through the Indianapolis Prize Gala and special events. The Award will serve as a catalyst to energize the next generation of animal conservationists to carry on the important work of the world’s leading conservationists.

Saving Species


Applicants applying for the Emerging Conservationist Award must comply with the following:

  • Applicant must be under 40 years of age at the time of the application deadline.
  • Applicant must have the background that will lead to future success in saving an animal species or group of species.
  • Applicant must be actively engaged in conservation and must have a direct field work connection.
  • The Winner must agree to be in Indianapolis, at the Indianapolis Prize’s expense, for the week of the Prize Gala.
  • The Winner is required to submit a report documenting how they used the funds one year following the award.




To be considered for the Emerging Conservationist Award, applications must include the following:

  • Narrative
    • Summary of the specific achievement or achievements regarding the applicant’s fulfillment of the listed criteria.
    • Includes a description of how the grant would impact the applicant personally and professionally.
  • CV Letter
    • Include a current CV of no more than three pages. PDF format is preferred.
  • Letters of Support
    • Applicant must submit two but no more than four letters of support. Letters should address the following criteria:
      • Address the challenges overcome by the Applicant in support of their conservation work.
      • Explain the significance of the achievement.
      • Outline measurable outcomes resulting from the Applicant’s work.
      • Describe the quality of any science involved.
      • Identify the number of years the Applicant has been engaged in conservation work.
      • Detail any cooperation the Applicant has demonstrated with zoological and other like-minded organizations, preferably those the applicant does not work for or with.
    • Supplemental materials can include:
      • Videos or other supporting materials highlighting projects or programs the applicant has played a significant role.
      • Grant or award notifications.
      • Publications.
      • Presented posters.
      • Syllabi from courses or trainings offered.
Emerging Conservationist Selection Committee 2023
  • Selection Committee Members

    Monika Böhm, Ph.D., Freshwater Coordinator, Global Center for Species Survival (liaison)

    Trey Fehsenfeld, Executive Director, Sidekick Foundation (community representative)

    Carl G. Jones, Ph.D., 2016 Prize Winner and Chief Scientist, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

    Russell A. Mittermeier, Ph.D., 2018 Prize Winner and Chief Conservation Officer, Re:wild

    Jo-Elle Mogerman, Ph.D., Director of Saint Louis WildCare Park

    Crickette Sanz, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Anthropology, Washington University in St. Louis

    Amy Willis (board representative)

    Patricia C. Wright, Ph.D., 2014 Prize Winner and Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments and Centre ValBio