Today, EarthRanger, a program of the Allen Institute for AI, announced the grantees of the Conservation Technology Award: Club Arribada and MoveApps. Now in its second year, the Conservation Technology Award honors organizations deploying or developing technology to make a positive impact in conservation management. As recipients of the award, Club Arribada and MoveApps will receive a $15,000 grant to further the utilization of technology in their conservation missions.
"We received an extraordinary number of submissions of innovative and impactful programs from all over the world,” said EarthRanger Director Jes Lefcourt. “We’re thrilled that we can recognize the inspirational work of Club Arribada and MoveApps.”
Club Arribada is a free after-school conservation technology program delivering STEM activities, computer literacy classes, and hands-on access to conservation technologies so that its students can become Principe's conservationists of tomorrow. Developed for children between 9-12 years old, the club says nearly half of their students reported never having used a computer before, with over half of those being young girls. Before Club Arribada was started, things as common as typing, word processing and even e-mail were inaccessible to these children. Today, these same kids are tracking the club’s mascot using GPS to learn skills such as GPS trilateration, laser scanning, and 3D printing – all with a conservation focus.
As a Conservation Tech Award judge and founder of the Andes Amazon Fund, Adrian Forsyth commented, "It's no exaggeration to say our beautiful but threatened planet needs a Club Arribabda in every region. Their winning formula of engaging young people with nature through development of STEM skills and use of conservation technology needs wide replication. These skills and experiences will stay with those young people for their entire lives. I can't think of a better, more hopeful, and inspiring way to invest in conservation."
Club Arribada plans to use their grant to expand their club to Cape Verde, which will teach more children important STEM skills while empowering them to play a role in local conservation.
MoveApps is a free and open-source, no-code analysis platform that let’s scientists and wildlife managers with the ability to quickly and easily glean insights from animal movement data. In many ways, the study of wildlife movement is having its Big Data moment. High-tech, low-cost devices such as animal collars are putting more data than ever before into the hands of researchers and conservationists. Yet, only those with skills to wrangle these data can take advantage of this so-called “golden age” of animal tracking. Hosted by the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, the MoveApps platform provides ecologists and wildlife managers with the ability to run complex analyses to uncover new insights. In doing so, it offers the ability to see – in near real-time – rapidly evolving situations putting wildlife at threat. The result is more democratized access to the latest conservation technology tools and data insights – ultimately improving the conservation process for organizations around the world.The Conservation Tech Award grant will help MoveApps expand with new software tools that can help more organizations with customized conservation platforms for these organizations.
“MoveApps is a great example of the power and potential for impact of sustained, centralized software engineering efforts for ecological data, and will serve as a scaffold for the development of similar standardized workflows and sharable analytical tools for other ecological data sources,” said Sara Beery, a Conservation Tech Award judge and Assistant Professor at MIT. “I'm thrilled that MoveApps was selected for this award and I'm excited to see how this community will grow."
“The variety of challenges faced by the programs that applied for the award underscores the threats facing the natural world,” added Jes Lefcourt. “But the creativity, passion, and dedication that these organizations bring to the discovery and implementation of solutions gives us enormous hope for what the conservation technology community can achieve together."
More than 125 applications were evaluated by a selection committee of representatives from some of the most well-known and prolific conservation technology organizations on an assessment of innovativeness, clarity of success metrics, support of underrepresented groups, and the potential for scalability. From protecting tapirs in Costa Rica and vultures across Africa, to developing hardware that’s monitoring flood sensitive areas in New York City and identifying individual humpback whales through AI, this year’s Conservation Tech Award applicants
have used technology to adapt to new realities and develop unique, innovative solutions for environmental protection and management.
The Conservation Tech Award also recognizes honorable mentions whose work spans six continents and countries around the world.
- Big Life Foundation
- Center for Conservation Innovation Philippines Inc.
- Fauna & Flora International
- Mount Kenya Trust
- North Carolina Zoo/Zoological Society
- Ol Jogi Community and Wildlife Foundation
- Osa Conservation
- Ashored Inc.
- Endangered Wildlife Trust
- Smart Parks
EarthRanger’s Conservation Tech Award was designed to spotlight and help accelerate innovative and impactful work in wildlife and ecological conservation. To learn more about how past winners have used their funds to better protect the wildlife and communities they serve, read here.