Rupununi Conservation Society awarded prestigious Parker/Gentry Award

Kim Spencer holding a Red Siskin, one of the endangered species studied by the SRCS

The South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS) has been awarded the Parker/Gentry Award, an annual prize for outstanding and under-recognised conservation models around the globe, for their efforts to preserve wildlife, engage young people, and support traditional livelihoods in the Rupununi region.
The museum said it recognises the significant impact the group has had on Guyana’s natural and cultural heritage through its research and conservation of native species and its thoughtful stewardship of the places they inhabit.
Chair of the Award Selection Committee at the Field Museum and an expert on Guyana’s freshwater fish, Dr Lesley de Souza expressed, “It’s a real honour to support that mission by recognising one of the country’s most inspiring and effective local conservation groups…The Guyanese Government is making a major push to safeguard the country’s biodiversity.”
Originally founded in 1998 by a group of friends eager to reverse the decline of certain species native to the area, SRCS’s work is firmly rooted in the forests, savannas, and wetlands of Guyana’s Rupununi. This globally-celebrated biodiversity hotspot is home to a large number of Indigenous communities, many of which lend their expertise to the Society’s conservation goals.
The experts who staff and currently lead SRCS come from all walks of life—from tour guides and teachers to business leaders and scientists. Since 2002, its mission is to preserve the wildlife, environment, and culture of the Rupununi region of Southern Guyana through community-based conservation, environmental education, and research.
President of SRCS, Leroy Ignacio stated, “It is an honour for SRCS, the people of Rupununi, our friends around the world, and Guyana to receive this prestigious award from the Field Museum…In our experience, collaboration between local experts, the scientific community, and national entities provides a model that promotes local efforts to produce tangible conservation impacts.”
SRCS projects to date include population studies of globally threatened birds such as the Endangered Red Siskin (Spinus cucullatus), Vulnerable Giant Anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), environmental education and traditional knowledge programmes in Indigenous communities, habitat preservation and restoration, and work to restore populations of globally Vulnerable Yellow-spotted River Turtles (Podocnemis unifilis).
The Field Museum is a forward-thinking scientific leader on a mission to explore, protect, and celebrate nature and culture. From exhibitions that inspire journeys of discovery in visitors young and old, to the ground-breaking research and conservation efforts driven by 40 million artifacts and specimens, they are on a mission to spark public engagement with science and uncover solutions for a brighter world.
Established in 1996 and made possible by an anonymous donor, the Parker/Gentry Award is named after conservationists Ted Parker and Al Gentry, who were killed in a 1993 airplane crash while pursuing conservation work in South America. Past awardees represent remarkable achievements in more than a dozen countries and across diverse ecosystems, from the rainforests of South America, Africa, and India to valuable freshwater resources like the Great Lakes in North America, to coastal regions worldwide. (G12)