The Women in Nature Network (WiNN) is connecting and empowering women to achieve sustainable management and conservation of our Earth’s natural resources. WiNN was founded in 2013 by 14 international conservation leaders with decades of experience in nature conservation and capacity building at the community level. Recognizing that women play a pivotal role in the field but are often isolated or ill prepared to take on leadership roles, WiNN is working to develop a global learning community of women in order to create and support a future generation of environmental leaders.
WiNN aims to connect women through four main programs:
Annual global networking event to exchange women’s experiences by bringing together international conservation leaders, WiNN members, conservation practitioners and students through symposia and workshops to strengthen their leadership skills and connect with other women.
Establishment of WiNN networks (national/regional/university/speciality etc.) following WiNN global networking events.
Mentorship program to connect women with established conservation practitioners.
Strategic grants and technical support for women’s conservation projects.
We welcome women from around the world to join us!
WiNN Women in Action
WiNN at World Bank's session on social change
One of our founding members, Dr. Leeanne Alonso (below, far left) speaks about WiNN and women networks.
On January 24th, 2017, the World Bank hosted an event organized by WiNN member, Dr. Claudia Sobrevila, featuring three women from around the world who are using networks to empower women and give them a more active role in improving society. The speakers were Yanire Brana, founder of MET Community, which is dedicated to supporting women in business, Jean Reddeman, a Native American counselor and speaker who works with women networks helping them to reconnect with nature for health reasons, and Dr. Leeanne Alonso, founder of our very own Women in Nature Network.
The talk was centered around increasing the participation of women in these projects, and using networks to bring women together. In the talk, Leeanne described networks for women as having two functions: connecting women to each other, and providing them opportunities that they may not otherwise have. She stressed the isolation that some women feel when they aren’t offered a voice, or when they simply don’t know many others like them who want to participate in improving society. These women are not alone, and networks bring them together, helping them to become leaders ready to serve their cause. However, all speakers acknowledged that truly being part of a network means taking initiative and reaching out to others, staying committed to the cause and the women supporting it, and remembering your values. We hold these three points to be imperative in WiNN's own functioning, and we are all very proud of Leeanne for representing WiNN at the World Bank conference and speaking on behalf of women leaders around the world.
"Stork Sister" recognized for her hard work Purnima Devi Barman, "Stork Sister" was recently awarded the "Green Guru" Award by the Balipara Foundation (below) and was one of four women recognized by the FICCI Ladies Organization.
She was also just recently awarded the Whitley Award for 2017! The Whitley Awards are made annually by the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) to recognize and celebrate conservation leaders across the globe. See Purnima's acceptance speech here.
Known as the “Stork Sister” among her colleagues, Purnima Devi Barman is a champion for the conservation of the Greater Adjutant Stork. Her work in the three villages of the Kamrup district (Dadara, Pachariya, and Singimari) in India has invoked a love for the animal and has brought the community closer together. Purina has raised awareness of the dangers of deforestation, which destroys the breeding grounds for the stork, and now she and the members of the community work to rehabilitate and release storks in need and protect the stork’s habitat. Once considered untouchable, the Greater Adjutant Stork is now happily a part of the community’s society. Purnima’s work demonstrates WiNN’s values of community building and empowerment. We are so proud of her for both her hard work and the recognition that her efforts have received!
Additionally, WiNN recently received a generous grant from the ERM Foundation to support Purnima's work with local women to develop handicrafts with the stork motif that will provide an alternative income to the local community.
WiNN Happy Hour in Washington, DC
On May 20, 2017, WiNN member Irene Soler hosted a fun gathering of conservation-minded women in the DC area to get to know each other and share stories. Conversations were exciting since the women brought experiences from many different sectors including conservation NGOs, development agencies, research institutions, and the private sector.
WiNN Member's Story Published
Argentina WiNN member, Paula Tezanos, has published her personal story in the high profile journal, Science! Paula tell us that inspiration for this piece came from the WiNN annual networking event in Buenos Aires last year, particularly when one of the participants talked about a conference she had attended where each speaker told their personal story after their scientific talk. This is what WiNN is all about- inspiring and sharing! Read Paula's story here.
WiNN Mentees at Harvard
WiNN mentees of the Harvard College Conservation Society (HCCS) held their second annual Careers in Conservation Conference, which grew from a collaboration with WiNN, in March. The event included exciting keynote speakers, pre-professional workshops, and an interdisciplinary panel, and was a great success! They have also begun the process of creating an official Women in Nature Network student organization on campus and at other nearby universities, and they look forward to empowering a completely new group of students, even outside of HCCS, to pursue environmental conservation through the WiNN network. To learn more about their work in HCCS, click here.
Women in the Field
Biology and Sound
Congratulations to Jesse Deichmann and Amanda Delgado (below) for publishing their paper: "Soundscape analysis and acoustic monitoring document impacts of natural gas exploration on biodiversity in a tropical forests."
Despite increasing natural resource extraction in tropical forests, specifically the Amazon area, little progress has been made in understanding the effect of such processes on nearby wildlife. Recently, however, Jessie Deichmann and Andrés Hernández-Serna published a paper measuring these effects by recording the soundscape in different forest areas nearby a Peruvian extraction site. Putting together more than 1600 recordings and analyzing them, they found that biological sound diversity decreases in recording locations up to 250 meters away from the extraction site, and that most biological sound occurs in the night between 6pm and 6am. From these findings, they recommend that resource extraction be located in areas where the noise can be reduced or absorbed by nearby geology, and that most extraction occur in the daytime. Deichmann and Hernández-Serna's results show not only the impact of natural resource extraction on nearby wildlife, but also the effectiveness of their method of acoustic monitoring.
Vegetation in the Puna Pastoral Systems Veronica Rojo (below left) recently presented her doctoral thesis, “Analysis of the dynamics of the vegetation of the Puna jujeña in relation to domestic and wild ungulates and their impact on desertification” at the University of La Plata, Argentina.
Veronica Rojo, along with six other women, qualitatively identified different kinds of vegetation and measured plant biomass in the Puna pastoral systems. Using a carrying capacity model ecologically specific to the Puna pastoral systems, they found that the most productive vegetation units had a higher presence of animal stock and wild herbivores. Their results also showed a relationship between vegetation biomass with precipitation and geomorphology. They believe that this relationship is due to land degradation caused by a severe lack of water, which has also had negative impacts on the animal stock.
This research contributed to the knowledge of the Puna pastoral systems which is rarely studied from a plant-herbivore interaction perspective, and showed us how vegetation in the region is influenced by both precipitation and animal stock. Knowing what causes land degradation as well as its effect on vegetation, this is a great base for future research on how to prevent land degradation in the future.
Biodiversity in Guyana
WiNN founding member, Leeanne Alonso (above left), and Guyana WiNN members Juliana Persaud (above center) and Aiesha Williams (above left) published "BAT Assessment Survey of the South Rupununi Savannah, Guyana,” which presents the results of the 2014 WWF/GWC biodiversity survey. The publication was launched in Georgetown Guyana in April and presented to the indigenous Wapishana communities in Rupununi Savannah in May. You can read the full report as well as a biodiversity booklet here.
Dr. Bibiana Vilá recognized for her work WiNN member Dr. Bibiana Vilá, Professor at the Universidad de Lujan and a principal investigator at CONICET in Argentina, was recognized and awarded by the local community of Lucanas (Ayacucho, Peru) for her extensive work with the vicuñas, as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pampa Galeras National Reserve. Click here for photos and details. Congratulations Bibi!
Meet Some of Our Women
Ana Laura Barillas Gómez
Ana’s responsibilities include raising funds for the Mexican System of Protected Areas (PA), fostering sustainable coastal development and fisheries management in the Gulf of California and Northwestern Mexico, identifying potential projects, enhancing collaboration between civil society organizations and government agencies, supporting grantees’ capacity building needs and leading the PA learning community. Ana joined the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (FMCN) in 2007 as technical assistant, in 2011 she became coordinator and in 2014 Director of the Protected Areas Conservation Program. Since March 2016, she is also responsible of the Coastal and Marine Program. Before this, Ana collaborated with different conservation projects as research assistant in many Mexican PA. Ana has a Master in Science from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and she obtained her B.S. degree from the Universidad de las Américas Puebla with a major in Biology (with honors) and a full scholarship.
Renée González Montagut
Renée obtained her B.S. degree in 1990 from Occidental College with a major in Biology (Cum laude) and a full scholarship. After conducting research in Panama, Costa Rica and Venezuela, she focused on rainforest regeneration in cattle pastures in Mexico for her doctoral dissertation. She was awarded the National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant and obtained her Ph.D. in 1996 from Harvard University. In 1997 she started working for the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (FMCN) as the Director of the Fund for Protected Areas (FANP). In 1998 the FANP started channeling the income generated by a US$16.5 million endowment from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) to ten natural protected areas in Mexico. By 2017 the FANP has grown to US$80 million with a second contribution from GEF, as well as donations from 14 additional donors. A total of 30 federal protected areas receive support from the FANP. In January 2004 Renée became the Conservation Director of the FMCN. Renée is presently responsible for the operation of the Protected Areas, Forest, Watersheds and the Marine and Coastal Conservation Programs, as well as inter-program initiatives. Under her leadership, in 2013 the FMCN signed a US$39.518 million grant from the GEF for the conservation of coastal watersheds in Mexico, which is the largest GEF grant to Mexico. She is part of the Governing Board of the Institute of Ecology, is a Founding Member of the Women in Nature Network, represented the conservation organizations at the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development in Veracruz, and she is a member of the Veracruz Environmental Fund Committee and the Man and Biosphere Program Committee in Mexico from UNESCO. She led the creation of two regional private environmental funds and helped in the design of two public state funds. Renée is fluent in four languages.
Raquel has a bachelor’s degree in Hispanic Literature and is currently a master student in narrative practices for community work. She has 20 years of experience in civil associations of environmental development and education. She is the founder of the civil association Inana that develops community education projects. Raquel has worked in project evaluations and gender incorporation. She was director of an institute for gender equity and adviser of the gender equity board in the LV legislature of the State of Queretaro, Mexico. Raquel has worked with native bees for the last 10 years and is a member of the bees and education network. She is currently developing teaching materials for rural communities: an educational pouch for native bees in Mexico. Raquel has founded the Inana school of meliponiculture.
WiNN Annual Global Networking Event: Connecting for Conservation, Mexico, August 9-12, 2017
Plans are in full swing for WiNN’s annual event, this year to be held at the Camino Real Sumiya hotel in Morelos, Mexico. We are excited about meeting up with over 50 women to share experiences and stories, hear from prominent Mexican and international speakers, join panel discussions of issues particular to women working in conservation, and learn new skills from workshops. We are honored to have Dr. Julia Carabias Lillo, former Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries of Mexico and former President of Mexico's National Ecology Institute, as our keynote speaker! Dr. Carabias is currently a Faculty Researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The event is generously supported by the Alice C. Tyler Perpetual Trust and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (FMCN).Learn more and register at https://fmcn.org/winn-event-2017/
Conference: Feminism in London, October 14-15, 2017
WiNN will participate in an environmental panel at the Feminism in London (FiLiA) conference. Check out the conference at https://filia.org.uk.
We thank our generous supporters:
Alice C. Tyler Perpetual Trust
Header photograph by Andrew Snyder
Please email us at email@example.com with any questions, comments, or submissions for our upcoming October newsletter.
WiNN Website coming soon at www.womeninnature.net!