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Remembering Conservation Heroes

September 23, 2007, marked the year anniversary of the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of 24 WWF friends and colleagues. On that day, WWF celebrated their achievements and highlighted the successes of Nepalese conservationists at the local and national levels. In Nepal WWF-US President Carter Roberts was joined by Jim Leape, director general of WWF International, officials from the government of Nepal, and the families and friends of those lost. Among other events, a ceremony was held at the base of Kangchenjunga Mountain - the site of the crash - and WWF is urging the government of Nepal to declare September 23 "National Conservation Day."

To help create the next generation of conservation heroes, WWF awarded the first memorial scholarships in memory of those lost one year ago. The four recipients come from across Nepal - including its most remote areas. These young leaders will study at Nepal's prestigious Institute of Forestry and will continue the rich legacy of conservation in their homeland. The Abraham Conservation Awards, which recognize the contributions of grassroots environmentalists, were also presented.

Meet the Scholarship Winners

  • Bimala Lama received the Mingma Sherpa Memorial Scholarship in honor of Mingma's lifelong commitment to help Nepal's rural poor improve their livelihoods while living in harmony with nature. Bimala has been actively involved in environmental education and tree planting programs and is extremely concerned about water resource issues in Nepal.

    "My academic goal is to get a Ph.D. in a field related to conservation."

  • Sher Bahadur Pariyar received the Jillian Bowling Schlaepfer Memorial Scholarship in honor of the former head of WWF-UK's Conservation Program. Sher belongs to a western Nepal ethnic minority group and volunteered with the Oppressed Community Development Center. He believes that the most effective way to conserve nature is through the participation of local people.

    "The main goal of my life is to promote the attitude of the people for environmental balance and the conservation of nature."

  • Maryada Shrestha¬†received the Jennifer Headley Memorial Scholarship to celebrate Jennifer's work with WWF-Nepal on community conservation initiatives. Maryada graduated at the top of her class and was involved with the Self Help Environment Awareness Camp and several community forestry user groups.

    "I want to save my land, my forest, my country and my world."

  • Chandra Shekhar Badu received the WWF Nepal Conservation Memorial Scholarship. He has a keen interest in environmental activities and has been involved in tree planting programs and environmental awareness campaigns in his village.

    "My father is a guide in the Suklaphanta wildlife reserve. He always wanted me to be a forestry official."