2022

2022 SES YOUNG SCIENTIFIC EXPLORER OF THE YEAR KIDS AGAINST PLASTIC

2022 SES YOUNG SCIENTIFIC EXPLORERS – Kids Against Plastic

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY PETER AND JUNE FELIX

Amy and Ella Meek are the teenage founders of the environmental charity Kids Against Plastic (KAP). They set up KAP back in 2016, after studying the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and discovering the issue of plastic pollution. Its mission is to make a difference and what started out as a home-school project has since become an award-winning charity.

Since founding their youth-led organisation, they have worked hard to inspire kids and adults alike to take action, and reduce their use of single-use plastics – or become more ‘Plastic Clever’ as they call it.

KAP aims to tackle plastic pollution by bringing together environmental education and youth empowerment. Since its inception, KAP has grown into an organisation that has worked with businesses, councils, cafes, and over 1,600 schools around the UK to reduce their plastic usage. Through their charity, the sisters have also brought together a Club of over 225 young people internationally, and have removed over 100,000 pieces of plastic litter from the environment (alongside developing an app to log it).

2022 SES PIONEER WITH PURPOSE THE BLACK MAMBAS

2022 SES PIONEERS WITH PURPOSE – The Black Mambas

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY CRAIG COHON

Transfrontier Africa is a non-profit organisation that has developed strategies to manage wildlife security, community engagement, research and development, and wildlife landscape. Based on Olifants West Nature Reserve, Transfrontier Africa has developed and implemented best-practice models to protect wildlife and landscapes. One of their most successful programs is the Black Mambas, an all-women anti-poaching unit.

The Black Mambas and their sister organisation, the Bush Babies, have been patrolling in and around the Greater Kruger Park landscape for nine years. 36 young women, divided into five specialist teams, have gained the trust and support of their peers and are role models in their villages. Bush meat poaching has dropped by 90% and they have served as early detection, disruption, and prevention of rhino poaching in their patrol areas.

The Black Mambas have developed a community centre and work in 10 primary schools in their villages. 1,300 young children are part of their education and upliftment program.

2022 SES EXPLORER OF THE YEAR NIMSDAI PURJA

2022 SES EXPLORER OF THE YEAR – Nimsdai Purja MBE

Nimsdai ‘Nims’ Purja is the multi-world record-breaking mountaineer who climbed all 14 of the world’s ‘Death Zone’ peaks over 8,000 miles in just six months and six days.

Nims led the first winter ascent of the ‘Savage Mountain’ K2. Nims is a UNEP Mountain Advocate, a Global Goodwill Ambassador for Nepal Tourism, and the founder of the charitable Nimsdai Foundation. The first mission of the Nimsdai Foundation is the Big Mountain Cleanup – which aims to remove waste from big mountains. Nims has a zero-tolerance approach to the waste being generated by the increasingly popular expedition culture which is now having a detrimental impact on those living in and around the mountains. The aim is to protect and restore these sacred mountains for the future. So far, the team has helped clean Manaslu, and this year took on their biggest challenge yet – cleaning up the 'Death Zone' on Everest.

In addition to this much-needed clean-up, Nims believes that we must also drive a change in behaviour, to ensure this is not a perpetual problem, but one that can be respectfully managed. He will be working with commercial partners to drive awareness and support, and help fund his mission to build a programme providing full-time, seasonal clean-up teams on all widely climbed mountains around the globe, that will be paired with associated regional recycling initiatives. The benefits will be vast and multi-level, providing obvious socio-economic advantages for mountain communities and wider global climate challenges.

Photo of Nimsdai Purja by Pemba Tenzing Sherpa. Copyright Nimsdai Purja.

Ian Craig

2022 SES LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT – Ian Craig

PROUDLY SPONSORED BY CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT FRGS

In 1983 Craig, along with his father and the late Anna Merz, started the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (then called Ngare Sergoi Sanctuary), based in the foothills of Mount Kenya. At the peak of the elephant and rhino poaching epidemic, the rhino sanctuary flourished at a time when few did. The sanctuary is a model and catalyst for the conservation of wildlife and its habitat through the protection and management of species, the initiation and support of community conservation and development programmes, and the education of neighbouring areas on the value of wildlife.

Ian was Executive Director at Lewa until 2009 and, in 2004, spearheaded the formation of the Northern Rangelands Trust, an umbrella body that supports community conservancies across northern and eastern Kenya. Today the NRT has 33 conservancies that work across 44,000 square kilometres of prime dryland wildlife territory and together help develop, support and fund thousands of people in hundreds of communities.

Ian is a founding board member of both the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Il Ngwesi Group Ranch, and is also on the Big Life Foundation’s Board of Advisors.