Remembering Russell E. Train


Russell E. Train, founder and chairman emeritus of WWF-US touched many lives – both personally and professionally. After his passing on September 17, 2012, WWF received hundreds of communications from people around the world whose lives had been impacted by Russ and his work in conservation. Expressions from students of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature program (EFN), which provides critical financial support to proven and potential conservation leaders, were especially moving. EFN was Russ’s pride and joy, and the support it provides young conservationists continues to make a real impact on conservation in almost every part of the world.

Here, we share some of these tributes in honor and remembrance of Russ Train.

  • Thanks to the generous contribution, dedication and conservation vision of Mr. Russell E. Train many active conservationists worldwide have the opportunity to achieve our academic careers. His legacy will maintain alive the hope for a better world for the new generations through the EFN programme and its dedicated team. My condolences to Mr Russell E Train’s family and EFN team.

    Angela Maldonado (EFN grantee)
    Fundacion Entropika
    Leticia, Colombia

  • We lost a great conservation hero.

    The professional development grant i received from EFN helped me to enhance my knowledge, skills and inspiration to work in conservation field.This truly made a difference in my professional life.

    Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of this great soul, and my sympathy to his family. He would always be an inspiration to all young conservationists of the world.

    Raj Koirala
    Institute of Forestry

    Pokhara, Nepale

  • I always feel like the world becomes a little bit more empty when a kind, loving spirit is not here with us on earth. I try to remain hopeful that others will follow suit and be the same kind of passionate man as Mr. Train. If everyone had this magnitude of love, this earth and the people in it would be so much happier. GOD Bless your family and thank you for who you are.


  • The world has lost most powerful conservation leader. It is great loss.


  • Mr Russell E Train is an inspiration for those looking for a better world through nature preservation and people welfare.

    His legacy will continue in the hands of hundreds of conservationists that were supported like me. His Education for Nature program is a remarkable feature of his charitable spirit.

    Thank very much Mr Train for your tremendous support to create conservation leadership.

    My gratitude will never let me forget how important the EFN has been for my professional carreer ...

    My regards to your family and friends

    Diego Amorocho
    WWf Species Program Coordinator
    Latin America and the Caribbean Program

  • My deep condolences to Mrs Train and family. He inspires people in the world with his amazing charitable work for conservation in this planet. He is definitely a conservation hero.

    May God bless and comfort his family at this time.

    With warmest regards from Jakarta, Indonesia,
    Nur Hasanah

  • My sincere condolonces to the family and friends for the loss of your beloved one! May the Lord our God rest his soul to eternal peace! Your legacy will forever be inspired by some of us throughout in our career life as far as conservation is concerned! RussTrain may you sleep peacefully as you changed our career and personal life for the BETTER! Be blessed in heaven!


  • Russell E. Train was an inspiration to me. I looked up to him, despite his passing away I will always do. I'm so happy for the financial support I received this year to attend a training in Canada. May your soul RIP. We've lost a hero in the conservation world but his spirit still lives on in the heart of millions.

    Atemba Yvette Mafor-Mba
    EFN grantee, 2012

  • With the passing away of Russ, we have lost a truly humane, caring, compassionate and selfless individual who dedicated his life’s work to the well being of others – people and wildlife alike the world over. His legacy will live on through all the people in Africa, Asia and Latin America who are Train grants, fellowships and scholarships recipients. Like the endangered species he worked to save, there will be no other Russ. Rest in peace Russ and may the Good Lord comfort your family.


  • Russ was an inspiration not only to WWF but to the conservation community. As an EFN grantee, the impact that the program has had on my career and ability to work more effectively in conservation is enormous. I found Russ very thoughtful in every conversation I had with him and I believe his legacy will live with us forever. The best gift to him and his family is to carry on the work that he was so passionate about. Rest in peace.

    Nasser Olwero

  • The dedicated conservation leadership of Mr. Train has been a great inspiration. He has touched so many lives and undoubtedly inspired real and positive change for people and wildlife, and the habitats they share. We have loss someone great but his legacy will surely live on through the work that we continue to do. My condolences to his family.

    Nadia Bood, past EFN Grantee & current WWF employee (Belize)

  • The financial assistance I received from Mr. Russell E. Train (through the EFN Program) in 2011 was not only big help in earning my masters degree in Marine Affairs but it has also served as an inspiration for me to continue working towards environmental protection/conservation. Mr. Train is no longer present but his legacy continues through the lives he toughed.

    My condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Mr. Russell Train.

    Jee Suyo

  • It is my honor to have worked with one of the greatest leaders in the conservation community. I truly believe that Mr. Train's legacy will continue to touch the lives of people around the world for generations to come. My condolences to his family.

    Niloofar Ganjian, WWF Education for Nature Program

  • Generations into the future will be indebted to Russell Train's work to promote conservation at a time when the true value of wildlife is missed because it is beyond a mere bookkeeping entry. Condolences to family for a great loss, with hope of Russell Train's enduring legacy and inspiration for others to build on this legacy to defend Wildlife into the future.


  • I was privileged to have had the opportunity to meet Mr. Train and to work with the EFN program. Mr. Train touched the lives of many in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He was well known in the conservation world and was a role model for many of us. I personally will miss seeing him coming to the office (even in his 90’s) and his funny sense of humor. The world really lost an extraordinary person and his legacy will live forever.


  • To the family, friends and loved ones of Mr. Train I extend my deepest sympathy in this time of bereavement.

    As a recipient of a Russell E. Train Fellowship Award, 2006 and the way my life has changed since, I am fully cognisant of the huge contribution and legacy he has given us. I know that through the many recipients of his generosity, his spirit will live on. May God grant his soul eternal rest.

    Janice Bollers

  • It has been an honor to work for the past twelve years on the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program. I feel so very fortunate that I had the chance to get to know him and play a small part in turning his vision into a reality. My sincere thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

    With fond remembrance,
    Andrea Santy

  • I am deeply saddened to hear about Mr. Russell E. Train's passing. My condolences to Mr. Train's family. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

    I was very honored to be awarded a scholarship from Russell E. Train's Education For Nature in 2001 to achieve my MSc in Conservation Biology and thanks to his vision many people like me from developing countries have been able to pursuit our higher education for better knowledge and experience to work in conservation field in our countries. With the better education, we have made many positive changes and impacts in conservation worldwide. I had not met Mr. Train in person but I know some EFN grantees who were fortunate to have met Mr. Train in person. They have told me how nice and humble he was and he was always encouraging young people to try their best in their education and conservation career. I would like his family to know that Mr. Train has touched many people's lives and have made huge impacts upon them in many corners of the world. They must be very proud of him and his legacy. He will always be remembered in our hearts for his great support in education for nature. I am very proud to be associated with the Russell E. Train's Education For Nature Programme and I will keep on the good work for conservation to expand Mr. Train's legacy.

    Dao Nguyen, Vietnam
    Russell E. Train Fellow, 2001

  • Mr. Russell, you left an important mark on the way to better understand and work for our environment. Thank you.

    Isabel Galarza, Bolivia

  • It is with great emotion that I learned of Mr. Russell E. Train’s passing. He was a man with a big heart and was a lover of nature.

    Mr. Russell E. Train your achievements in conservation and support to capacity development of thousands of people around the world are recorded in history. It is by the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program that I could participate for the first time in a continuing education program, Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), Summer Certificate Course in Sustainable Environmental Management at University of California, Berkeley in 2011. And for that I am eternally grateful. You have opened doors for many of us to build capacity for conservation and there is nothing more important than training as you yourself had so often repeated. Your image will be remembered as an icon.

    Words are not enough to translate everything you represented and continue to represent for us who have been grantees of the opportunities offered by your programs. Just tell you again and again Thanks for Everything!

    You have given so much to conservation and worldwide recognize your work, I would think that it was sweet moments of reward for you because you deserve it!

    Christine Sandra NSE ESSENG, Gabon

  • I have been so proud to be one of EFN family member and to be the first EFN grantee from Laos. The support and assistance from EFN was so great to me as it makes my life be brighter. Mr. Russell E. Train’s goal to do for conservation worldwide has been achieved as EFN has trained me, one woman of Laos could be able to manage my home country's natural resource in my position of conservationist and leadership of life science in my country. So, I always gratefully acknowledge the support of EFN, founded by Mr. Russell E. Train.

    In this time of great sadness, please accept my deepest heartfelt sympathy for the loss of Mr. Russell E. Train, who is a conservation hero in my heart forever.

    Somchanh Bounphanmy, PhD
    Dean Faculty of Science, National University of Laos

  • I am so saddened to hear of the loss of Mr. Train. I know he achieved so much in his long life, and affected not only environmental policy but the minds and hearts of people. In 2002 I had the pleasure of writing a letter to him thanking him for my EFN scholarship opportunity. He was generous enough to mention me in his book "Politics, Pollution and Pandas", and that was amazing for me. His vision of investing in human capacity throughout the globe is certainly a legacy for which the considerable results today cannot be tallied.

    My sincerest condolences go out to his colleagues and most of all his wife and children. You all were so blessed to have this environmental rock star in your lives.

    Nicole Auil Gomez, Belize

  • I join with so many others who knew Russell through his work in offering our deepest sympathy on his passing. It should be of some satisfaction to know that in his passing he had a very long and productive life. The measure of a life well-lived is not in how much money one has or what possessions they have accumulated, but rather through the lives they touched and the sorrow they leave behind. If the outpouring of sympathy on his loss is any indication, and it most certainly is, you can proudly and confidently say that his indeed was a life well-lived.

    May you find peace and comfort in knowing that his loss is felt by all who knew and loved him.

    In Sympathy,
    Eunice Ngwing Halle
    EFN grantee, 2012

  • Mr. Russell E. Train closes a life chapter to open a myriad of possibilities in the life of the world he respected so much and honored with genuine interest and dignity. A world that is shared by millions of plant and animal species and thousands of cultures of human beings that make our planet so unique, just like he knew it was. Thank you very much for everything Mr. Train! May your soul rest in peace and may your family, friends, and colleagues rest assured that with your dreams and perseverance, your vision will be perpetuated through every living being on the planet and through the education of many persons like me. By facilitating the education of one single person, you cemented the education of hundreds of others, in an exponential, domino effect. Eternally grateful Mr. Train, for being one of your legacy's disciples!

    Pablo Granados-Dieseldorff, Guatemala, Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion
    2003 Russell E. Train EFN Fellow

  • We were so sad to learn of Mr. Train’s passing. We are EFN grantees at Shanghai Roots & Shoots, an environmental NGO located in Shanghai, China. We were supported by EFN twice and as a result there are more than one thousand young people in China inspired to make a difference on environment by their actions after participating the two trainings. They will pass on the beliefs of Mr. Train.?

    We send our most sincere gratitude to Mr. Train's family that the whole Roots & Shoots family will keep on inspiring young people to take care of the nature resources.?

    Rebecca Zheng
    Director of Youth for Environmental Sustainability
    Shanghai, China

  • I deliver my deepest condolences to family and friends and to millions people--including myself--whom Mr. Train has made impact in his lifetime dedication to conservation and natural resources advocacy. He will be remembered for a long, long time and his legacy will continue to thrive in each and everyone of us supporters of natural habitat conservation.

    Mr. Iwan Setiyono Ko, Indonesia
    2009 Russell E. Train Fellow

  • We pray for his soul to rest in eternal peace! I benefited from the Russell E Train program in 2001 when I was sponsored to attend the Envirovet program for veterinarians. This program strengthened my talents as a wildlife veterinarian. By that time i was working with a small research organization but the skills paved my way to being employed in my Nation's Wildlife Authority that is mandated to protect and manage the Wildlife heritage in the country. We will indeed miss his support for conservation.

    May the almighty God preserve his soul in eternal peace.

    Dr. Margaret Driciru
    Senior Warden/Wildlife Veterinarian
    Uganda Wildlife Authority

  • It’s hardly a month after successfully participating the just ended Protected Areas Management hosted by Colorado State University - USA, and I give thanks to the EFN grant, the result of the hard work and dedication shown by our father, Russell E. Train. Today here l stand and boast of the vast experience gathered through course.

    You fought a good fight in the conservation fraternity. We will continue to cherish the good work you left us. The present and future generations of would-be conservationists will continue to remember you for your great work.

    May you kindly rest in Peace. We will miss you.

    Simon Chinsenga, WWF-Mozambique

  • It is with deep sadness that we mourn Mr. Russell E. Train, a hero who worked hard to build the conservationists of the future. May the Train family, the EFN grantee family, and all who believe in the future of conservation receive my sincere condolences. For the many happy hours we spent through numerous conservation initiatives, trainings and workshops with the selfless support of the very foundation you built

    May the Lord rest his soul in peace, and may Mr. Russel have peace knowing that what he built, has kept our mother earth in better conditions for humanity. He is gone, but the Russell E. "Train" rails on."

    Dr. Fulanda BM, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Institute

  • There falls the veritable hero of the conservation of African wildlife! He championed and promoted the global course of wildlife conservation in the most practical, pragmatic, objective and non-discriminatory manner. His love for wildlife had little comparison, his generosity and magnanimity unequaled.

    Fare Thee Well, Mzee. Africa shall never forget you!

    Nickson E. Otieno, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi Kenya

  • This is very sad news for us. Although, I did not have chance to see Mr. Russell E. Train from a very close distance, I had the feeling that Mr. Train is my guardian. I remember Mr. Train as a wise conservationist who had seen the future of conservation by grooming young leaders. May god keep his soul with full of peace in the heaven!

    Ambika Prasad Khatiwada, Conservation Officer, National Trust for Nature Conservation, Khumaltar, Lalitpru, Nepal

  • Russell although i didn't know you or ever met you i fell i knew you in my heart it is people like you who show the world you can move forward with big flashy cars and skyscrapers. but you don't need to get rid of nature to do it. i believe we can live in world where cities and forests can live in peace so thank you for dedicating your life to something as great as this.


  • When i was in 5th grade i did my wax museum speech on him.

    this is so sad

    he will always be in our hearts and no one will ever forget him and his efforts to save wildlife and nature


  • Mr. Train was definitely one of those people I feel privileged to have worked with. I will never forget his ability to connect with people on a personal level and his incredible sense of humor. I am honored to continue his legacy at WWF through the EFN Program working to support deserving conservation leaders. WWF has lost a true leader and role model.

    Stephanie Eisenman, Program Officer, WWF Education for Nature Program

  • A man like him does not pass away. He lives on in the inspiration of thousands of people forever! Mr. Train I really admire you. THANK YOU for believe in us!! Be sure I will work in conservation issues work will transcend all over!! You leave behind a big legacy.

    Sara Mateo, Carbon Decisions International, Peru

  • My most sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Russell E. Train. I owe him my eternal gratitude as it was his support that allowed me to become a scientist and conservationist. I hope through my work and that of others fellow Russell E. Train grantees around the world, we will keep his spirit alive and honor his contribution to science and scientists.

    Laura May-Collado, Russell E. Train Fellow, Costa Rica

  • I had the honor of working in an office near Russell Train for about two years. Seeing him in the office always encouraged me to strive to do better and do more. The world has lost a wonderful man and a true conservation hero.

    Diane Querey