At the end of 2017, GWC staff are looking ahead at their goals for the new year, including their professional goals in the field of conservation, and their personal goals for ensuring they are helping protect the planet around the clock.
Mike Appleton, Director of Protected Area Management
My goal is to keep helping, supporting and hopefully inspiring people working at the ‘front line’ of conservation: park personnel, rangers, project teams and local communities. Without their dedication and perseverance, we at GWC cannot turn our work into real lasting change.
Cat Kutz, Social Media Manager
Inspired by our partner Lonely Whale’s #StopSucking campaign and the blogger who managed to fit all her trash in a mason jar, I’m going to reduce my plastic waste in 2018. To get started I ordered a set of stainless steel straws and bee’s wrap (a reusable cling-wrap alternative) from AmazonSmile, and broke out some old glass baby food jars to pad our tupperware collection for food storage. With a little guy and a big puppy in my house it will be difficult to fit all of our garbage in a mason jar (the bag with one month’s worth of dog food won’t even fit!) but even if we can reduce our impact on the planet and do our part to keep our oceans plastic-free, I think it’s a resolution worth striving toward!
Russ Mittermeier, Chief Conservation Officer
I am very excited about our move to GWC and am really looking forward to working with the existing GWC team to make 2018 a banner year. In particular, I want to see GWC become a recognized leader in tropical forest conservation, focusing on some of the world’s highest priority Biodiversity Hotspots and High Biodiversity Wilderness Area, and especially those where I have long-term experience (e.g., the Guianas, Brazil, Madagascar). This will include a strong focus on creating new protected areas and indigenous lands, as well as targeted efforts on endangered flagship species in these regions. I also hope to strengthen bonds between GWC and IUCN Species Survival Commission, with which I have a history dating back more than 40 years. In terms of particular species groups, my team and I bring with us our long-term expertise and leadership on primates, continuing the work of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group in Red-Listing, networking, outreach, action planning, and finding the funds needed to implement primate conservation in the field through the more than 600 members of our specialist group.
I also hope to strengthen our position with the turtle conservation community through our strong bonds with other partner organizations and again through our role in the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Last, but not least, I hope to work with the entire GWC staff and board to strengthen GWC’s fundraising capacity by at least doubling the existing budget and putting us on track for an order of magnitude increase in funding by the end of the decade.
Anthony Rylands, Primate Conservation Director
I am so very pleased to begin 2018 working with this impressive line-up that comprises the dynamic and talented, star-studded even, team of GWC. I will be focusing on tasks and activities that have been central to my work for the last few years—editing the journal Primate Conservation; managing, with Ella Outlaw, the small grants of the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation’s Primate Action Fund; maintaining a database on the taxonomy, occurrence and conservation status of primates worldwide; and contributing in general to the business and outreach of the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group (PSG), including action plans, Red-Listing workshops and diverse publications, most notably, the Tropical Field Guide Series of pocket guides and full field guides, and, in collaboration with Christoph Schwitzer of the Bristol Zoological Gardens, UK, the biennial listings of the World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates that result from open meetings held during the congresses of the International Primatological Society.
For many years I have been publishing papers that review, and sometimes revise, the taxonomy and distributions of the Neotropical primates, very much with a view to writing a field guide to the Neotropical Primates, making use of the wonderful primate illustrations of Stephen Nash. I do so hope that now, embedded in and inspired by the enthusiasm and brilliance of my GWC colleagues, I will this year begin writing this book—a dream from way back.
Jim Sanderson, Program Manager of Wild Cat Conservation
My goals for 2018 include doing more conservation in more places for more species of small cats by supporting established partners, and recruiting new partners. The number of conservation projects doubled in 2017, and must double again in 2018. I’ll nominate five partners to become GWC associates. On the home front, the first week of 2018 I’ll be on my roof installing additional PV panels that increase my electrical production by 56 percent, enabling me to be a net producer 12 months a year.
Conservation of small cats and all things wild is not just a job, it’s a way of life 24/7/365. It’s who we all are at GWC.
(Photo: Jim, Alejandro and Jorge Valenzeula at Salar de Surire, Chile, in the Andes.)
Christina Wurschy, Conservation Officer
As the new year approaches, my resolution will be an attainable and realistic one (unlike my noble intentions in previous years!). In 2018, I intend to at least double the quantity of food that I can grow myself to feed my small family and buy local produce directly from the source for the things I can’t grow. I strive to steer clear of mass produced packaged foods as much as possible, and minimize my contribution to the vast amount of waste that ends up in our landfills and our oceans. I feel that our oceans and the magnificent marine life that live in them are magical, and swimming in purifying, salty seas is a haven for me. If I can achieve my 2018 resolutions, I know I’m doing my small part to help protect the beautiful diversity of life on Earth we all share.