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Professional Development Grants





EFN has awarded more than 900 grants to mid-career professionals to build local capacity in their home countries.

Professional Development Grants (PDGs) provide support for mid-career conservationists to pursue short-term, non-degree training to upgrade their knowledge and skills through short courses, workshops, symposiums, conferences, and professional exchanges.

Click here to view eligibility criteria and to learn how to apply for Professional Development Grant opportunities.


EFN Grantee and Conservationist Walks for Elephants in Kenya

EFN grantee Jim Nyamu is working to raise awareness of threats to elephants by walking more than 650 miles from Massai Mara to Nairobi on a campaign called Ivory Belongs to Elephants.

Elephants play fight in Kenya

Why It Matters

  • Professional Development Grants

    Professional Development Grants provide support for mid-career conservationists to pursue short-term, non-degree training to upgrade their knowledge and skills. These grants provide the tools necessary for professionals to advance in their careers and improve local capacity in their home countries.

  • Russell E. Train Fellowships

    Russell E. Train Fellowships support individuals pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in conservation. Today’s conservation challenges are more complex than ever before and require advanced skills and knowledge to tackle pressing issues from climate change and deforestation to wildlife crime and rights-based fisheries management. EFN program provides fellowships to rising leaders to address these global challenges. To date, more than 90 percent of EFN fellows are working to advance conservation efforts in their home countries.

  • Conservation Workshop Grants

    Conservation Workshop Grants help organizations conduct training workshops to build local capacity. These grants support training courses and workshops in WWF priority places on topics of importance for local and regional conservation efforts. Workshops grants are essential to building local capacity in vulnerable communities and improving conservation efforts at a local and national scale.

  • Alumni Grants

    Alumni Grants support ongoing education, training, and research opportunities for former Russell E. Train Fellows, Russell E. Train Scholars, and Professional Development Grant recipients who have completed the terms of their WWF grant contract and meet all of the eligibility criteria necessary to be considered for a grant.

  • Reforestation Grants

    Reforestation Grants support local organizations engaged in reforestation projects throughout the tropics. When carefully planned, forest restoration activities can provide environmental services to the local community and develop new habitats in formerly bare areas. These grants support activities that aim to regain ecological integrity and enhance human wellbeing in deforested or degraded forest landscapes.

What WWF Is Doing

The Impact

PDG recipients are collectively supervising over 1,400 staff, managing nearly $4 million in funds, and training more than 3,400 people per year.

Providing Critical Funding for Local Conservationists

Many conservationists from local and regional organizations find it difficult to obtain funding to attend courses, conferences, and short trainings. According to past grant recipients, Professional Development Grants helped cover more than 70 percent of course or conference attendance costs  including travel, tuition, and material expenses. Eighty-five percent of past recipients also reported that they would have been unable to pursue these opportunities without EFN support. EFN funding is essential to improving local capacity and giving deserving conservationists the opportunity to obtain new skills and explore important professional opportunities.

Developing Institutional Capacity

An important part of EFN’s mission is to build institutional capacity. All PDG applicants have the support of their organization to obtain these essential skills and be guaranteed continual employment upon return from the course. EFN knows that building capacity is not enough; employment opportunities are also a critical part of building momentum behind conservation initiatives. By integrating institutional needs within the application process, EFN hopes to create this connection by funding individuals while also supporting larger institutional capacity needs.


  • Mr. Russell E. Train and Education for Nature (EFN)

    Remembering Mr. Russell E. Train, founder, past president, and past chairman emeritus passed away on September 17, 2012 at the age of 92.

  • Photos from Camera Traps in Ecuador

    In 2006, Ecuadorian conservationist Santiago Espinosa received a Russell E. Train Fellowship from WWF’s Education for Nature Program (EFN) to conduct research in wildlife ecology. Santiago’s research involved spending long periods of time in the Amazonian rainforest. He captured photos that highlight the spectacular wildlife that lives in Yasuní National Park.