First woman to receive the Young Conservationist Award

28 September 2012 | News story

Elisângela Sales Dos Santos 2012 - Brazil

A 27-year-old Brazilian Park Guard was awarded this year’s International Young Conservationist Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the training of indigenous and non-indigenous park guards, and for her role in increasing the recognition of these professions in her country.

In 2005, when Elisângela Sales Dos Santos began her work, there were no trained park guards working in the Brazilian state of Amapa. Today, as a result of Elisângela’s work with the Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia Park Guard Training Program, there are over 370.

“Elisângela’s work has had a measurable impact in strengthening the ability of local people to manage the protected areas they are responsible for, as well as raise awareness of their cultural and natural values” says International Ranger Federation President, Deanne Adams.

This work has not been easy. Elisângela has had to deal with precarious conditions, including threats to her life, difficult logistics, limited communication and poor road networks.

Based on the belief that it is not enough just to train people, Elisângela coordinated the preparation of a state law to recognize the park guard profession and to create state positions for them. She worked with the State Secretary of the Environment to ensure the law’s language met the needs of the guards as well as the protected areas.

“I feel extremely proud and honored to have received this award” Elisângela said. “It tells me that I am moving in the right direction and that I can make a worthwhile contribution to the protection of Brazil’s natural areas. It has also inspired me to learn more about conservation and protected areas.”

The International Young Conservationist Award is a joint initiative of the International Ranger Federation and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas.

“The IRF – IUCN/WCPA Young Conservationist Award recognises the outstanding contributions made by young people to the conservation of protected areas”, says Nik Lopoukhine, Chair of IUCN WCPA. “It honors their passion, dedication and commitment. Elisangela will be invited to become a member of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and its Young Professionals Working Group”.

Elisangela was presented with her award at the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Jeju, Korea.

The IRF and IUCN/WCPA gratefully acknowledge the support of Parks Victoria and the George Wright Society.


For further information: Elisangela Sales Dos Santos, ECAM, elisangela@actbrasil.org.br

Deanne Adams, President, International Ranger Federation, irfdeanne@aol.com or www.internationalrangers.org  


This image shows the courtship behavior of Indian Bull frogs (Holobatrachus tigerinus). During the monsoon, the breeding males become bright yellow in color, while females remain dull. The prominent blue vocal sacs of male produce strong nasal mating call.